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Thread: Ranking the candidates for best fast/pace bowler ever: The Rankings thread

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    Cricketer Of The Year mr_mister's Avatar
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    Ranking the candidates for best fast/pace bowler ever: The Rankings thread

    Here we go! Thanks to the 22 people who submitted lists



    25th. Jimmy Anderson (89 points)




    Top 5 finishes: 0
    Bottom 5 finishes: 19
    Highest finish: 9th (1 time)
    Lowest finish: 25th (11 times)



    The much maligned Jimmy Anderson rounds out the bottom of the list. Most people placed him near the bottom of their rankings, a good portion placed him dead last. Did he deserve to be here at all? I say yes. He will soon become the paceman with the most test wickets ever, nothing to scoff at even if England do play a truckload of tests. His last 400+ wickets have come very cheap, despite his overall bowling average of 27 being forever blemished by a mediocre start to his career. His away record isn't great but in english conditions with the swinging duke he is a force. And let's not forget how batting friendly the 21st century has been in general.

    Despite all this praise I'm giving, he still finished a comfortable dead last in this exercise. Better luck next time Jimmy.
    Last edited by mr_mister; 05-08-2018 at 07:03 AM.
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    24th. Vernon Philander (108 points)




    Top 5 finishes: 0
    Bottom 5 finishes: 15
    Highest finish: 10th (1 time)
    Lowest finish: 25th (3 times)


    The only real fault I can find with big Vern here is that he only started playing test cricket 7 years ago. 55 tests doesn't seem like a lot in this day and age but it's a huge sample size relative to some other members of this list. He's taken 205 test scalps at 21.5, pretty damn respectable. He doesn't look like much, a chubby trundler who hurls it down at 125kmph. But the man is insanely accurate and very hard to score off. A great bowler and one of the best of the 21st century. He's already 33 and will probably retire soon. Expect his reputation to rise even higher soon after.
    Last edited by mr_mister; 05-08-2018 at 07:16 AM.
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    Cricketer Of The Year mr_mister's Avatar
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    23rd. Frank Tyson (109 points)




    Top 5 finishes: 0
    Bottom 5 finishes: 16
    Highest finish: 12th (1 time)
    Lowest finish: 25th (2 times)


    Typhoon Tyson had a blistering, brief test career spanning 5 years and only 17 tests. He averaged a crazy 18.5 in those tests and demolished everything he came up against, he just didn't have a long enough career to truly be rated among the very best it seems. A good chunk of his 76 wickets came against the hapless New Zealand, but most of his wickets were against top class aussies spread across three ashes series. If his FC record was anything to go by, his test average was no fluke.

    He was often said to be the quickest bowler ever before Thommo and later Shoaib and Binga came along. He looks like a balding badass you don't want to mess with, but in his own words was 'too polite to be a fast bowler'. Interesting.
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    International Debutant trundler's Avatar
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    I would imagine Walsh is next, or Adcock.
    trundler isn't annoying at all. He's quality. -TJB
    Yea trundler is the new Bijed. Good addition. - Zorax


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    22nd. Neil Adcock (130 points)



    Top 5 finishes: 0
    Bottom 5 finishes: 9
    Highest finish: 13th (1 time)
    Lowest finish: 24th (3 times)


    Neil Adcock was South Africa's first star paceman. His 9 year test career only encompassed 26 tests, but he took over 100 wickets at just 21 a piece. He played mostly against England who sported Compton, May and Barrington at the time. He did quite well against them, taking 57 wickets from 14 outings.

    He had a similar test career to Graeme Pollock in terms of length, tests played and his average being in the top few %. But strangely history generally shines brighter on batsmen rather than bowlers when it comes to short test careers and so Adcock probably finds himself a little underrated.
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    21st. Courtney Walsh (144 points)



    Top 5 finishes: 0
    Bottom 5 finishes: 13
    Highest finish: 6th (1 time)
    Lowest finish: 24th (1 time)


    The partner in crime of Curtly Ambrose, Walsh was similar in height, speed, bounce and results. His career was a little longer, but his average a wee bit higher and his reputation just a little behind that of Ambrose. He was probably also feared that little bit less. Still, Walsh was remarkably consistent and his amazing longevity rewarded him with the title of first bowler to hit 500 test wickets and he's still sits 3rd in the all time pace bowling wickets column.

    He was the last connection to the dominant 1980s Windies heyday, and his retirement along with Ambrose in the early 21st century left a huge hole in their ranks they've yet to really fix. Strangley he performed weakest out here in Australia, unlike Ambrose. But Walsh did tremendously well for a quick in the sub-continent, averaging 20 from 15 tests there.
    Last edited by mr_mister; 05-08-2018 at 07:52 PM.
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    Cricketer Of The Year mr_mister's Avatar
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    20th. Alec Bedser (145 points)




    Top 5 finishes: 0
    Bottom 5 finishes: 9
    Highest finish: 11th (1 time)
    Lowest finish: 24th (3 times)



    Bedser made the cut for Bradman's best ever XI and was the only Englishman to manage so. Solid effort. He bowled nagging mediums off a short run up and there was a bit of debate over whether he should be included in the rankings. Him and Barnes' inclusion forced me to add 'pace' next to the title of 'fast bowlers' just so he would qualify. He had a shakey start to his career, having to face up to Bradman and his invincibles. But in the 1950s he became a splendid bowler and retired with the all time test wicket aggregate record of 236, only to be surpassed by teammate Trueman soon after.

    His bag of tricks consisted of many swinging and cutting deliveries, and he was said to be extremely accurate with his mediums.
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    International Captain Starfighter's Avatar
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    Woah, very surprised at the top 20 finish for Larwood, considering his record compared to the others'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_mister View Post
    22nd. Neil Adcock (130 points)



    Top 5 finishes: 0
    Bottom 5 finishes: 9
    Highest finish: 13th (1 time)
    Lowest finish: 24th (3 times)


    Neil Adcock was South Africa's first star paceman. His 9 year test career only encompassed 26 tests, but he took over 100 wickets at just 21 a piece. He played mostly against England who sported Compton, May and Barrington at the time. He did quite well against them, taking 57 wickets from 14 outings.

    He had a similar test career to Graeme Pollock in terms of length, tests played and his average being in the top few %. But strangely history generally shines brighter on batsmen rather than bowlers when it comes to short test careers and so Adcock probably finds himself a little underrated.
    Great write ups. For Adcock I think it is important to mention his part in one of the most famous examples of tragedy and heroism ever seen on a cricket field:

    Bert Sutcliffe and Bob Blair at Ellis Park: A fairytale bigger than cricket - Cricket Country
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    Cricketer Of The Year mr_mister's Avatar
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    19th. Harold Larwood (153 points)



    Top 5 finishes: 2
    Bottom 5 finishes: 14
    Highest finish: 1st (1 time)
    Lowest finish: 25th (3 times)



    Larwood proved quite a polarizing choice in this exercise, being the only person to both top a list and finish at the bottom of one. He's best known of course for Bodyline, where under Jardine's orders he curbed Bradman's scoring and managed to intimidate nearly the entire Australian batting line-up. He also stirred huge controversy which threatened diplomatic relations between Australia and England. He never again played a test after this series.

    His record outside of bodyline at test level was quite mediocre and brief, and his overall bowling average of 28 the worst on this list. It should be said though that he had to bowl a lot of overs to a Bradman in the 1930 series, which was essentially the best batting performance in test history. He averaged 73 in this series and in a test career as short as Larwood's, this was bound to do damage to his overall average. His FC average of 17 across many years and matches though is quite incredible, and one of the best bowling FC bowling averages on this entire list of quicks.

    He's a a bit of a mythical figure and I love reading about the guy. He sits in a handful of players often held up to ATG status despite a meh record, which I think is pretty cool. He can also claim to be Bradman's biggest rival, getting caned in 1930 before exacting revenge in 32/33. Coming away 1-1 with the best batsman ever does no harm to your reputation.
    Last edited by mr_mister; 06-08-2018 at 02:20 AM.
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    Global Moderator harsh.ag's Avatar
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    Underrating Walsh again, are we
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    Cricketer Of The Year mr_mister's Avatar
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    18th. Shaun Pollock (177 points)




    Top 5 finishes: 0
    Bottom 5 finishes: 3
    Highest finish: 12th (1 time)
    Lowest finish: 23rd (1 time)


    'The McGrath who could bat', Pollock had low-key an amazing career. Really not talked about enough how great his raw batting/bowling stats were, far better than Dev and Botham for example. Anyway, this is just about his bowling. Known for his accuracy and dependability, Pollock started off express in his younger days before an injury made him slightly tweak his style. A terrific new ball partnership with Alan Donald followed and they complemented each other nicely, calm Pollock and aggressive Donald. Then later Pollock became the spearhead in a rather weak attack pre Steyn.

    Pollock was quite underrated I think throughout his career, and his 400 odd wickets at 23 definitely indicate a very classy bowler. His performances waned in his final few years as is often the case, but still it was a great career and a solid effort to the make top 20 of this list.
    Last edited by mr_mister; 06-08-2018 at 04:45 AM.
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    17th. Andy Roberts (227 points)





    Top 5 finishes: 0
    Bottom 5 finishes: 4
    Highest finish: 11th (1 time)
    Lowest finish: 22nd (4 times)



    The first of the quartet to fall. Wes Hall came first years before, but it was Roberts who kickstarted the pace bowling conveyor belt that the Windies produced in the 70s and 80s. He retired well before Garner, Holding and Marshall but still left a huge mark in history. Full of speed, bouncers and very little emotion, Roberts terrorised batsman through the 70s.

    Roberts is an interesting one. He only played a few more tests than Bishop who is someone known as having a short, unfinished career. But people think of Roberts as having a complete one. He took over 4 wickets a test, but his 202 test scalps nearly came at 25.6 each, quite high for some of the names on this list. He had to operate as a lone wolf for the first few years of his career, before reinforcements arrived in the form of Croft, Garner et all. So this may have been responsible for his higher average. It was in the 80s that Roberts started to fade a bit, and retirement soon followed.

    He didn't actually have much overlap with Garner, Holding and Marshall, the four of them together only playing 6 tests as a complete pace battery. But they are all lumped together in history.
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    Cricketer Of The Year ankitj's Avatar
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    Superb write ups mr_mister!
    RIP Phil Hughes. Forever 63*

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    International Vice-Captain jimmy101's Avatar
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    Yeah great stuff MM.

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