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Thread: The greatest fast bowler who ever drew breath?

  1. #46
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    The third tier would have S. Pollock, Walsh, Anderson, M.Johnson, Fazal, Bedser, Miller, Snow, Hall, P. Pollock
    Surely Johnson doesn't belong in that company?

  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by bagapath View Post
    In my books, taking into consideration their records, impact on the game, expert opinion and their aura, the top tier of fast bowlers would consist of, in no particular order, Lillee, Trueman, Hadlee, Marshall, McGrath, Imran, Akram, Steyn, Ambrose, Barnes

    And the next would consist of Donald, Waqar, Lindwall, Spofforth, Roberts, Holding, Davidson, Garner, Larwood, Botham

    The third tier would have S. Pollock, Walsh, Anderson, M.Johnson, Fazal, Bedser, Miller, Snow, Hall, P. Pollock

    To bring up the top 40 let's have Kapil, Vaas, Bishop, Akhthar, Croft, Harris, Thompson, Adcock, Willis, Statham in the fourth tier

    S. Broad, Gough, Tate, Bond, Ntini, McDermott, Caddick, Hughes, Reid, Tyson would round off the top 50.

    anyone from the top 10 could be the greatest.

    Lillee and Ambrose didn't play in India. Hadlee and Lillee didn't do well in Pakistan. Barnes and McGrath were not "fast". Akram has a patchy record in England, one of the most important countries where your greatness is truly tested. Steyn has a high economy rate. Trueman and Imran's home vs away record is slightly uneven. Considering such non issues, we can conclude that Marshall could be the primus inter pares. He has an outstanding all round record against all countries, in all countries. Despite other ATGs in the team, he took bucketloads of wickets and five fers over a long career. He was a match winner. He was fast and accurate and he was box office. It should be him.
    Well, to be fair, I consider both Hadlee and Marshall to have impeccable careers, since Hadlee's failure in Pakistan was in 1976 before he even emerged as a worldclass bowler but he dominated in India and Sri Lanka later in his career so there is no question of failing in the subcontinent, while Marshall himself had a moderate single series in NZ in 86 that is a fleck of dust on his record.

    Btw, Botham is ranked way too high in second tier. Outside of the first 20, it gets murky. There are plenty of other quality bowlers not mentioned, such as Mohammad Asif, Brett Lee, Stuart Clark, Philander, etc who may feature as well...

  3. #48
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    From 77 to 82 Botham was the best bowler in the world dominating more matches than Lillee and Holding and Roberts, with the ball alone. Averaged around 20 for his first 200 wickets or so. Then for the next three years, when Imran, Hadlee, Garner and Marshall peaked, he still remained in the discussion producing occasionally match winning bursts. Then he bowled dog **** for the last four years of his career. With 27 five fers and 4 ten fers, world record in wickets and magical match winning spells, he was a true bowling genius. We know him as an all rounder. But even if he had averaged just 5 with the bat he would still be a top 50 cricketer of all time. All things considered he was a top 20 pace bowler.

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    Thoughtful contributions to these discussions as always Bagapath. There’s little of significance I’d disagree with, maybe some differences of opinion around the edges of your rankings. I would, however, dispute the idea McGrath wasn’t fast, at least earlier in his career. Certainly he slowed down from about 2002 onwards, but in the 90s he was pretty quick. A bit like Lillee, his pace droppedand he became a better bowler (not that he quite had Lillee’s initial speed).


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    McGrath








    Anthony McGrath. Not express but a criminally underrated medium pacer who was selected as a batsman for most of his career. Tragic that England had the greatest seam bowler of all time and misused him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daemon View Post
    Surely Johnson doesn't belong in that company?

    Mitchell Johnson took 313 wickets at 28.40 with 12 x 5fer and 3 x 10fer.

    So on those numbers alone he is an esteemed member of the 300 Club. But that aside, Johnson is one of only a handful of fast bowlers who could blow a series wide open with raw pace.

    South Africa 2014 - 22 wickets at 17.36
    The Ashes 2013-14 - 37 wickets at 13.97

    Not only that he was a fine ODI bowler who could pin down a top order and take critical wickets.

    So never mind the troughs because his Himalayan peaks make him a modern-day legend in my book, no doubt about it.

  7. #52
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    I have to agree with Daemon. All the other bowlers in that category took wickets more consistently at significantly better averages. Frankly I'd put him on the level of someone like Fraser. I certainly don't know how he can be there while Statham and Willis are a category below.

    I wouldn't put Larwood that high either. I don't think he played enough, especially in conditions that weren't very batsmen friendly, to rank him very well. He's more of a 'what if...'
    Last edited by Starfighter; 20-10-2017 at 01:29 AM.

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by watson View Post
    Mitchell Johnson took 313 wickets at 28.40 with 12 x 5fer and 3 x 10fer.

    So on those numbers alone he is an esteemed member of the 300 Club. But that aside, Johnson is one of only a handful of fast bowlers who could blow a series wide open with raw pace.

    South Africa 2014 - 22 wickets at 17.36
    The Ashes 2013-14 - 37 wickets at 13.97

    Not only that he was a fine ODI bowler who could pin down a top order and take critical wickets.

    So never mind the troughs because his Himalayan peaks make him a modern-day legend in my book, no doubt about it.
    In 36 series, Shaun Pollock averaged north of 30 just 4 times(!). Johnson did it 13/24 times.

    I'm sorry but I just can't put Johnson in the same bracket as him despite the peaks, because the troughs are just too jarring.

    Maybe my problem with bagapath's bracket wasn't that Johnson didn't belong there, it was that Pollock didn't.

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    Gonna play some devil's advocate here: if Steyn is disadvantaged because of roads, why is he worst in England, which is substantially less roady than say Australia? Especially considering that he's a swing bowler, so the pitch is not as much a factor. I don't really see why he'd necessarily do better, or at least markedly better, in say, the eighties. You could just as easily say techniques against swing aren't what they used to be because of the batsmen all being brought up on McGrath/Ambrose/Walsh hit the deck kind of bowling.

    Strike Rate is overrated. It's just as much a reflection of preferred batting techniques, and the pitches that produce them.

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    I agree that Steyn's slightly underwhelming record in England is a negative mark against him.

    But the SR is a remarkable stat. If it was because batsmen are generally more aggressive these days, then more bowlers would have strike rates in the 40s. But they don't. Even Mitchell Johnson, the archetypal "strike bowler" strikes at more than 50. Maintaining a SR of 41 across 85 Tests, 400+ wickets, in a variety of conditions, is unbelievable. For me, it is what sets him apart and his strongest argument for being in the top 3-5 bowlers of all time.
    Quote Originally Posted by benchmark00 View Post
    Chix love a man with a checkered posting history.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bagapath View Post
    From 77 to 82 Botham was the best bowler in the world dominating more matches than Lillee and Holding and Roberts, with the ball alone. Averaged around 20 for his first 200 wickets or so. Then for the next three years, when Imran, Hadlee, Garner and Marshall peaked, he still remained in the discussion producing occasionally match winning bursts. Then he bowled dog **** for the last four years of his career. With 27 five fers and 4 ten fers, world record in wickets and magical match winning spells, he was a true bowling genius. We know him as an all rounder. But even if he had averaged just 5 with the bat he would still be a top 50 cricketer of all time. All things considered he was a top 20 pace bowler.
    Yes, he was great in his first five years, but ranged from inconsistent to bad after that which in a sense was a majority of his career. Obviously, you rate a bowler based on his overall career and not just a peak. Otherwise, Waqar would be considered better than any bowler in the 90s. Its about sustaining that performance over enough time to justify being in the same league with Allan Donald and Michael Holding.

    And Botham overall I think cannot be that high. If he didnt achieve much in his latter years, he has to be penalized for that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vcs View Post
    I agree that Steyn's slightly underwhelming record in England is a negative mark against him.

    But the SR is a remarkable stat. If it was because batsmen are generally more aggressive these days, then more bowlers would have strike rates in the 40s. But they don't. Even Mitchell Johnson, the archetypal "strike bowler" strikes at more than 50. Maintaining a SR of 41 across 85 Tests, 400+ wickets, in a variety of conditions, is unbelievable. For me, it is what sets him apart and his strongest argument for being in the top 3-5 bowlers of all time.
    Yes, his strikerate is remarkable, but keep in mind that his Runs per over rate is among the highest over these bowlers. Which means if he wasnt getting wickets, he was going for runs, ala Waqar Younis. And this was a hallmark of Steyn in watching him in his career. If he wasnt on top of the opposition, they usually were on top of him. The same cant be said for guys like Ambrose, McGrath or Marshall.

    This is why Marshall was remarkable. He had a low R/O while maintaining a low average and low strikerate compared to his peers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starfighter View Post
    Gonna play some devil's advocate here: if Steyn is disadvantaged because of roads, why is he worst in England, which is substantially less roady than say Australia? Especially considering that he's a swing bowler, so the pitch is not as much a factor. I don't really see why he'd necessarily do better, or at least markedly better, in say, the eighties. You could just as easily say techniques against swing aren't what they used to be because of the batsmen all being brought up on McGrath/Ambrose/Walsh hit the deck kind of bowling.

    Strike Rate is overrated. It's just as much a reflection of preferred batting techniques, and the pitches that produce them.
    He hasn't really been poor in England though. 15 wickets in 3 games the last time he toured (when England were the no.1 team in the world). In his only other tour to England early on in his career he picked up 7 in one of the two games and his overall figures were rekt in one innings by KP.
    Last edited by Daemon; 20-10-2017 at 05:24 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daemon View Post
    He hasn't really been poor in England though. 15 wickets in 3 games the last time he toured (when England were the no.1 team in the world). In his only other tour to England early on in his career he picked up 7 in one of the two games and his overall figures were rekt in one innings by KP.
    Yes, his first tour was early on, but they all count in the end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by subshakerz View Post
    Yes, he was great in his first five years, but ranged from inconsistent to bad after that which in a sense was a majority of his career. Obviously, you rate a bowler based on his overall career and not just a peak. Otherwise, Waqar would be considered better than any bowler in the 90s. Its about sustaining that performance over enough time to justify being in the same league with Allan Donald and Michael Holding.

    And Botham overall I think cannot be that high. If he didnt achieve much in his latter years, he has to be penalized for that.
    I don't agree with this. The greatest to me is the greatest in their prime. An example from another sport would be Muhammad Ali. I consider him to be the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time. The fact that he shuffled into the ring aged 40 when he was no good doesn't alter that.

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