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Thread: CW decides the greatest test spinner ever. 43 names: Countdown/Rankings thread

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    International Coach mr_mister's Avatar
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    CW decides the greatest test spinner ever. 43 names: Countdown/Rankings thread

    Wow, 35 lists submitted. A pretty big portion of regular CW members have chimed in here. We got well over 50 individual names, but I decided to make a requirement of each bowler needing to make at least 2 lists to qualify for this final countdown, so the list can stay at a reasonable size. It's already going to take ages, but oh well.


    Using the cricinfo names for spin bowling styles we got:


    16 Leg break googly bowlers
    13 Right arm off spinners
    and 14 Slow left arm orthodox bowlers


    There was one bowler who occasionally bowled chinaman but his main discipline was orthodox so I've labelled him under that. Strange that there have been no ATG Chinaman bowlers in history. Was Michael Bevan the best at this craft? lol. Anyway I will be providing the rankings for each player within their bowling style as the list goes.


    Will also be posting each player's Test WPM and their ranking of that within these 43 names. I originally planned to this for various categories such as averages, overall wickets etc but found they all tended to lean toward either modern or old era bowlers. For example aggregate records all leaned toward modern players while Econ and Averages were basically chronological lists, as the older players were heavily favoured. Also, WPM rankings aren't a very common/well documented statistical measurement so it might provide some new information for people.


    Anyway without further adieu let's begin



    #43. Iqbal Qasim, 3 points




    Featured on 3 of 35 lists
    Highest finish: 20th (3 times)
    Ranking within spin discipline: 14th of 14 (Slow Left Arm Orthodox)
    Test WPM ranking: 40th of 43 (3.42)



    Qasim rounded out the bottom of 3 lists. It feels silly having him here as he scored less points than a few names who only featured on one list. Oh well, 3 people thought Qasim was worth a mention. A reliable man for Pakistan in the 80s, he wasn't too penetrative as shown by his low WPM. But he was seemingly great at tying up an end, with an a terrific economy rate of just 2.2, which helped his average stay under 30. Like a lot of spinners he was more effective at home than away, averaging 25 compared to 33. There's not much more to say about this guy as I must admit I barely recognised the name when he was placed on lists.
    Last edited by mr_mister; 22-08-2018 at 07:19 AM.
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    Cricketer Of The Year SillyCowCorner1's Avatar
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    RE: ATG Chinaman Bowler

    Dav Mohammed
    Symmetry is beauty, beauty is truth. Breaking symmetry means breaking truth.

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    International Coach mr_mister's Avatar
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    #42. Shakib Al-Hasan, 7 points




    Featured on 2 of 35 lists
    Highest finish: 16th (1 time)
    Ranking within spin discipline: 13th of 14 (Slow Left Arm Orthodox)
    Test WPM ranking: 29th of 43 (3.70)



    The hero of Bangladesh, in both their top 5 batsman and bowlers ever. Nobody else can say that about a player and their country. They rely heavily on Shakib and he has starting delivering more and more often, netting an impressive 18 five fers over his career. Doesn't have much competition for wickets mind you. He has a similar average away and home, hovering just above 30, so he's consistent.
    SillyCowCorner1, Bijed and zorax like this.

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    International Coach Starfighter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_mister View Post
    Wow, 35 lists submitted. Strange that there have been no ATG Chinaman bowlers in history. Was Michael Bevan the best at this craft? lol. Anyway I will be providing the rankings for each player within their bowling style as the list goes.
    Reminds me of a cricinfo article recently talking about some chinamen bowlers and how great their mystery is without mentioning that none of them are really any good. Lefties are rare, good wrist spinners are rare and considering that an orthodox bowler can turn the ball way from the right handed batsmen further compounds the reasons why there have been no great unorthodox bowlers.

    Qasim rounded out the bottom of 3 lists. It feels silly having him here as he scored less points than a few names who only featured on one list. Oh well, 3 people thought Qasim was worth a mention. A reliable man for Pakistan in the 80s, he wasn't too penetrative as shown by his low WPM. But he was seemingly great at tying up an end, with an a terrific economy rate of just 2.2, which helped his average stay under 30. Like a lot of spinners he was more effective at home than away, averaging 25 compared to 33. There's not much more to say about this guy as I must admit I barely recognised the name when he was placed on lists.
    3.42 is a perfectly fine WpM for someone with his average. Qadir's is only 0.1 higher and his average is much higher and away record way worse. WpM's also just a poor measure in general, I probably wouldn't bother ranking on it.
    OverratedSanity likes this.


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    International Captain jimmy101's Avatar
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    Denis Compton was a pretty mean chinaman bowler.

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    International Captain jimmy101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_mister View Post
    #42. Shakib Al-Hasan, 7 points
    zorax just spilled his 7-11 coffee.

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    International Coach trundler's Avatar
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    Hope one of the outlier lists doesn't make Warne/Murali drop outside the top 3 in the end.
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    International Coach Starfighter's Avatar
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    Of ouches the most notable thing about Qasim is that he's the favoured party in my Qasim > Qadir argument, which is probably the most solid thing I've ever argued on here. He deserves to be noted for that reason alone.

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    Global Moderator vic_orthdox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SillyCowCorner1 View Post
    RE: ATG Chinaman Bowler

    Dav Mohammed
    CC: dav

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    International Coach mr_mister's Avatar
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    #41. Jack Iverson, 10 points




    Featured on 2 of 35 lists
    Highest finish: 13th (1 time)
    Ranking within spin discipline: 16th of 16 (Leg Break Googly)
    Test WPM ranking: 19th of 43 (4.20)



    I could only find one pic of Iverson bowling and it was too big. So we're going with this little gem, showing his uncanny and unique grip of the ball. This grip allowed him to be basically a mystery spinner, as he could bowl many variations from off to leg breaks without changing his grip and giving away the type of delivery to the batsman. I've still lumped in under Leg Break Googly as that's what cricinfo lists him as, though his bowling style was quite the anomaly. A WW2 vet who bowled pace before the war, he averaged 15 from his lone test series against England(at 36 years of age) and will forever be labelled a big what-if. Would his style have eventually been found out by batsman like others who have bowled 'mystery spin' ala Ajantha Mendis? Who knows. I'm not sure how much Mendis and Iverson's grips differed, perhaps Iverson's would have been more sustainable. But he suffered an injury in that single test series he played, never fully recovered from it and only played a few more seasons of FC cricket. No doubt his age was a factor in never bouncing back properly from this injury. His brief career landed him a solid place in history though and a place on this list.
    Bijed and zorax like this.

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    Global Moderator vic_orthdox's Avatar
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    Wound up being figured out, would be like if Mendis had've been dropped when he should have been.

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    International Coach mr_mister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starfighter View Post
    Reminds me of a cricinfo article recently talking about some chinamen bowlers and how great their mystery is without mentioning that none of them are really any good. Lefties are rare, good wrist spinners are rare and considering that an orthodox bowler can turn the ball way from the right handed batsmen further compounds the reasons why there have been no great unorthodox bowlers.


    3.42 is a perfectly fine WpM for someone with his average. Qadir's is only 0.1 higher and his average is much higher and away record way worse. WpM's also just a poor measure in general, I probably wouldn't bother ranking on it.

    I know it depends on the quality of your co-bowlers, but I still find it a cool stat. Will be continuing with it just because I've already done the data for it.

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    International Coach mr_mister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vic_orthdox View Post
    Wound up being figured out, would be like if Mendis had've been dropped when he should have been.

    did he end up being figured out though? It seems he barely played any cricket after his foot injury. Or were you speculating what would have happened?

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    International Coach Starfighter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_mister View Post
    did he end up being figured out though? It seems he barely played any cricket after his foot injury. Or were you speculating what would have happened?
    AFAIK NSW decided to basically play him as an off spinner and hit him about once, which was supposed to have dented his confidence a lot, that being after his injury. I think it's a 'who really knows?' situation, he might have figured out what to do under attack but he never had the time to get in a solid run of games. If it wasn't for his age I reckon he'd have been more sustainable than Mendis, he seems to have bigger hands and so maybe could probably put on more revs more consistently, whereas Mendis puts very little spin on the ball.

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    International Coach mr_mister's Avatar
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    #40th. Mushtaq Ahmed, 11 points




    Featured on 5 of 35 lists
    Highest finish: 15th (1 time)
    Ranking within spin discipline: 15th of 16 (Leg Break Googly)
    Test WPM ranking: 35th of 43 (3.56)



    This chubby short bloke with the funny action is a big favourite of mine. The spin spearhead for Pakistan in the '90s, bridging Qadir(who he idolised) to Saqlain and giving solid support to Waqar and Wasim. The two W's hogged most of the wickets so his WPM sits him near the bottom of this list, but Mushtaq was a fine bowler. His peak came in the mid '90s when he averaged 20 for a couple of years. He faded off with some poor series in the 21st century and finished with a not too flattering average of 33. His away record was better than his home record by a decent chunk. Probably robbed of some bounce due to his height which may have affected his ceiling as a bowler.
    Last edited by mr_mister; 22-08-2018 at 08:02 AM.
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