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Black and white era bowlers - Spinners vs Seamers?

shortpitched713

International Captain
Is it just me, or do the is there a big difference in the perception of these different categories of bowlers from the era in which there is limited black and white film and/or television footage?

Basically the spinners, the likes of O'Reilly, Tayfield, etc. are compared pretty evenly, sometimes even favorably with the likes of Warne or Aswhin, etc.
Meanwhile the seamers, the likes of Hall, Bedser, etc. are barely given a passing nod in conversations about the greats of their discipline, and hardly ever compared with the likes of Ambrose or Cummins, etc.

What's the reason for this second class citizenship of these old seamers in conversations on the all-time greats? Has the approach to quicker bowling changed so radically over time to render the old greats irrelevant? Or is it just because there are so few greats among the spinny boy society, that every single one has to be celebrated? Or am I over-blowing this phenomenon?
 

Coronis

Cricketer Of The Year
Is it just me, or do the is there a big difference in the perception of these different categories of bowlers from the era in which there is limited black and white film and/or television footage?

Basically the spinners, the likes of O'Reilly, Tayfield, etc. are compared pretty evenly, sometimes even favorably with the likes of Warne or Aswhin, etc.
Meanwhile the seamers, the likes of Hall, Bedser, etc. are barely given a passing nod in conversations about the greats of their discipline, and hardly ever compared with the likes of Ambrose or Cummins, etc.

What's the reason for this second class citizenship of these old seamers in conversations on the all-time greats? Has the approach to quicker bowling changed so radically over time to render the old greats irrelevant? Or is it just because there are so few greats among the spinny boy society, that every single one has to be celebrated? Or am I over-blowing this phenomenon?
In general yeah people underrate earlier players, especially pacers because they don’t think they bowled fast enough or for whatever other reasons. Pre-WW2 especially, the best bowlers were really spinners though. It wasn’t until after when Lindwall, Miller, Bedser and Trueman were playing that pacers began to be a more dominant force.

There’s just no way bowlers like Bedser or Hall should be compared with Ambrose or Cummins, Bedser is basically an earlier Anderson and Hall is not even quite that good.
 

shortpitched713

International Captain
In general yeah people underrate earlier players, especially pacers because they don’t think they bowled fast enough or for whatever other reasons. Pre-WW2 especially, the best bowlers were really spinners though. It wasn’t until after when Lindwall, Miller, Bedser and Trueman were playing that pacers began to be a more dominant force.

There’s just no way bowlers like Bedser or Hall should be compared with Ambrose or Cummins, Bedser is basically an earlier Anderson and Hall is not even quite that good.
I have to disagree with you strongly here. You've seen the match footage of him playing, right? He is absolutely amazing, and in my mind would have been an alpha pace bowler in any era.

Forget the numbers for a second. There's palpable fear in the body language of batsmen when he's bowling, and a noticeable relief when they can switch ends or when he's changed out.

His technique is altogether that of a modern pacer, with a run up that starts slowly and picks up speed, and explodes with maximum power in the business strides immediately prior to delivery. And the pace is otherwordly. The framerates in some of the film footage I watched was amazing, and actually felt smoother and better than later color TV stuff. I would rarely lose track of the ball. Except when Hall was bowling. I think he walks into any pace attack in cricket history, and is certainly the scariest and most revolutionary of the pacers of his era, just from the eye test for me.
 

Coronis

Cricketer Of The Year
I have to disagree with you strongly here. You've seen the match footage of him playing, right? He is absolutely amazing, and in my mind would have been an alpha pace bowler in any era.

Forget the numbers for a second. There's palpable fear in the body language of batsmen when he's bowling, and a noticeable relief when they can switch ends or when he's changed out.

His technique is altogether that of a modern pacer, with a run up that starts slowly and picks up speed, and explodes with maximum power in the business strides immediately prior to delivery. And the pace is otherwordly. The framerates in some of the film footage I watched was amazing, and actually felt smoother and better than later color TV stuff. I would rarely lose track of the ball. Except when Hall was bowling. I think he walks into any pace attack in cricket history, and is certainly the scariest and most revolutionary of the pacers of his era, just from the eye test for me.
People feared Brett Lee’s pace. From an eye test if you just had the footage and no stats would you be picking Lee or McGrath?
 

Line and Length

Cricketer Of The Year
Pre WWII Syd Barnes and Clarrie Grimmett held the record for the most Test wickets holding that record for 22+ years and 17+ years respectively. After the war, playing in an era where Lindwall, Miller and Davidson were the leading quicks, Alec Bedser broke Grimmett's record and held it for 9+ years until surpassed by Brian Statham. Just 48 days later Fred Trueman took the record holding it for almost 13 years before Lance Gibbs surpassed his total.
Since then we have had a handful of quicks (Lillee, Botham, Hadlee, Dev and Walsh) claim the record followed by the two great spinners (and of course colour TV).
Of those from the b&w TV era Trueman, along with Lindwall, Davidson and Miller, are held in high regard. In many quarters Statham, Bedser and Gibbs are often greatly under-rated.
 

Patience and Accuracy+Gut

First Class Debutant
Is it just me, or do the is there a big difference in the perception of these different categories of bowlers from the era in which there is limited black and white film and/or television footage?

Basically the spinners, the likes of O'Reilly, Tayfield, etc. are compared pretty evenly, sometimes even favorably with the likes of Warne or Aswhin, etc.
Meanwhile the seamers, the likes of Hall, Bedser, etc. are barely given a passing nod in conversations about the greats of their discipline, and hardly ever compared with the likes of Ambrose or Cummins, etc.

What's the reason for this second class citizenship of these old seamers in conversations on the all-time greats? Has the approach to quicker bowling changed so radically over time to render the old greats irrelevant? Or is it just because there are so few greats among the spinny boy society, that every single one has to be celebrated? Or am I over-blowing this phenomenon?
People generally tend to exclude fast bowlers who played before WW1(1921).Though I would regard spinners like Rhodes,Blythe,Trumble in Top (15-25).

After WW1 the 2 great fast bowlers in 20s were McDonald and Larwood.McDonald played in county cricket rather than test and Larwood had to retire at just 28.
Quicks who could have been ATG in 30s were Nissar from India,Martindale from West Indies and by reputation Constantine as well as Cowie from Newzealand.But all of them didn’t have enough opportunities to prove themselves though I would regard Cowie really highly.Australia in 30s were totally dependent on Grimmett and Tiger.The best quicks in Australia were Wall,McCormick who weren’t good enough.

England had Voce,Allen,Farnes,Bowes.All despite being really Good bowlers weren’t ATG.
The 3 best bowlers in 30s were Tiger at 1 and Verity and Grimmett fighting for 2.Larwood might have been but he had to retire at 28 years and other quick from Nz,Ind,Wi didn’t play enough.

From 40s to 60s there were 2 ATG quicks,Lindwall and Trueman who do deserve to be in same bracket as any great fast bowler who has ever drew breath and Miller,Davo probably in the top 20.

Even the Spinners of 40s,50s,60s weren’t quite good enough as their ancestors with Laker up there with Verity and behind both Tiger and Grum.And Tayfield probably behind all Tiger,Grum and Verity.

Hall doesn’t have stats and Bedser was basically a Jimmy Anderson type.
 
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shortpitched713

International Captain
People feared Brett Lee’s pace. From an eye test if you just had the footage and no stats would you be picking Lee or McGrath?
Noted. Although my bigger point is that if Hall is clearly that damn good, and in my eyes, every bit a modern pace bowler, then why aren't all of him and his top seam bowling contemporaries given the proper respect for their accomplishments? It can't be just "technical reasons", for the reason that the very best of them had no issues with technique or athleticism.
 

Starfighter

Cricket Web: All-Time Legend
Part of the issue is that with their condition dependence, there have been few spinners churning out really good figures since the advent of covered pitches between the fifties and the seventies. People have to reach, and the averages which many older spinners had can't be ignored.

You will not find too many people out and about on the internet who grew up in the fifties and sixties. And since the mid seventies there have been a lot of very good fast bowlers that people have seen a lot of. Not surpassing they're fresher in the collective consciousness. Add that there is not a lot of old footage available, and that said footage will often reveal a bowler who isn't exceptionally fast by modern standards. It's not surprising that people will go with figures they have seen a lot more of and know a lot more about.
 

shortpitched713

International Captain
People generally tend to exclude fast bowlers who played before WW1(1921).Though I would regard spinners like Rhodes,Blythe,Trumble in Top (15-25).

After WW1 the 2 great fast bowlers in 20s were McDonald and Larwood.McDonald played in county cricket rather than test and Larwood had to retire at just 28.
Quicks who could have been ATG in 30s were Nissar from India,Martindale from West Indies and by reputation Constantine as well as Cowie from Newzealand.But all of them didn’t have enough opportunities to prove themselves though I would regard Cowie really highly.Australia in 30s were totally dependent on Grimmett and Tiger.The best quicks in Australia were Wall,McCormick who weren’t good enough.

England had Voce,Allen,Farnes,Bowes.All despite being really Good bowlers weren’t ATG.
The 3 best bowlers in 30s were Tiger at 1 and Verity and Grimmett fighting for 2.Larwood might have been but he had to retire at 28 years and other quick from Nz,Ind,Wi didn’t play enough.

From 40s to 60s there were 2 ATG quicks,Lindwall and Trueman who do deserve to be in same bracket as any great fast bowler who has ever drew breath and Miller,Davo probably in the top 20.

Even the Spinners of 40s,50s,60s weren’t quite good enough as their ancestors with Laker up there with Verity and behind both Tiger and Grum.And Tayfield probably behind all Tiger,Grum and Verity.

Hall doesn’t have stats and Bedser was basically a Jimmy Anderson type.
He averaged 22.5 until 1965, after which he was more or less cooked. Ended up with 192 wickets in total, which is very good for that era, due to significant gaps between Tests.

 

shortpitched713

International Captain
Part of the issue is that with their condition dependence, there have been few spinners churning out really good figures since the advent of covered pitches between the fifties and the seventies. People have to reach, and the averages which many older spinners had can't be ignored.

You will not find too many people out and about on the internet who grew up in the fifties and sixties. And since the mid seventies there have been a lot of very good fast bowlers that people have seen a lot of. Not surpassing they're fresher in the collective consciousness. Add that there is not a lot of old footage available, and that said footage will often reveal a bowler who isn't exceptionally fast by modern standards. It's not surprising that people will go with figures they have seen a lot more of and know a lot more about.
This isn't a particularly good reason to ascribe those transcendent qualities to the old time spinners, that seems to get done. If the seamers are "no good", for whatever reason, then for me the spinners would be equally so, especially by the time of the late 30s to 60s, which is what I'm most referring to.
 

Starfighter

Cricket Web: All-Time Legend
This isn't a particularly good reason to ascribe those transcendent qualities to the old time spinners, that seems to get done. If the seamers are "no good", for whatever reason, then for me the spinners would be equally so, especially by the time of the late 30s to 60s, which is what I'm most referring to.
I don't think you've got the point. Pacers then don't do any better than now, but spinners then did.
 

shortpitched713

International Captain
The only old-time bowler I really respect, sheerly due to overall bowling record, and averages is Sydney Barnes. He was clearly a cut above the rest, statistically, so I can only imagine he had "hacked" bowling in some superlative way, even if I don't have any convincing visual evidence supporting him.

Funnily enough, as he's neither clearly a spinner, nor clearly a pacer, he obfuscates this conversation even further, when it comes to the relative merits of historical bowling styles.
 

Starfighter

Cricket Web: All-Time Legend
But you mentioned a confounding factor, that they could utilize uncovered pitches, and feast on those sticky dog days. Hardly a ringing endorsement.
Numbers speak more than phenomena that most people alive have never encountered.

I'd actually like to see more evidence for your original premise as well.
 

Flem274*

123/5
There was definitely an advance in pace bowling during the 70s as well. I'm a 'judge them on the context of their era' guy but looking back it seems there was an audible clunk then where the art of quick bowling found something and advanced in objective quality, leading to an explosion in numbers of good quicks around.

Perhaps it was a reaction to the draws of the previous era, that bowlers were forced to be better.
 

Migara

Cricketer Of The Year
How did pacemen get better by the years while spinners deteriorated?
Spinners didin't. Game got better, it evolved. That is why Murali and Warne are at the top of the tree as spinners and Marshall, McGrath, Hadlee, Ambrose and Imran are as pacers.

Fast bowling was revolutionized by Aussies in mid 70s with their sheer aggression, early 80s in WI by their persistence of aggression and in mid 80s by Pakistan with reverse swing. I would say yes, fast bowlers of current era are a tier above than of past, while spinners are probably similar when you make allowances for talent pool, better health inidicis and better training.
 

Migara

Cricketer Of The Year
How quick were Trueman, Lindwall, Davidson, Statham, and Miller?
Trueman, Lindwall and Statham were brisk. Davo probably fast medium, more towards Nathan Bracken or Vaas than Wasim Akram or Brett Schultz.
 

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