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England Now vs England in late 1990's

ozone

First Class Debutant
Just read this article on Cricinfo. Probably one of the most interesting ones I've read in a while. Although not fully convinced, I can see where he's coming from. England probably are better now than they were in the late 1990's, but not by as large a margin as expected. Any thoughts?
 

Richard

Cricket Web Staff Member
What Tim would have done well to have done is to offer the same comparison back another decade again; 2005\06-2007\08 to 1996-1999 and also 1986-1989.

1986-1989 really was the blackest of all periods in English cricket history. There were a few awful performances in 1996-1999 (the home loss to Pakistan; the failure to win in Zimbabwe, though that would have been altered by a single run; the the loss at home to New Zealand, though that too could very easily have gone the other way) but between 1986 and 1989 England won 3 Tests out of 42, all against equally rubbish teams. And there were plenty of wholly credible performances 1996-1999, even if the cookie crumbled badly for England several times.

This sentence, for mine, is the most important:
Tim de Lisle said:
The close catching is worse now than it was then. The outfielding is much the same; it does not help that the captain is ham-handed.
The saying "catches win matches" would be better expressed as "dropped catches cost matches". Injuries haven't helped England in the last 2 years, but dropped catches will almost always be a killer-blow for ailing sides. If you can catch, you've a decent chance of keeping your head above water.

But the doom-and-gloom that everyone talks about the 1990s with has long been wholly exaggerated, possibly because people liked to think England were so much better in 2001, 2002 and 2003 particularly, and also 2004 and 2005, than they had been. Trashing the bad times and trying to make them out to be worse than they were is a nice easy way to do that.
 

Goughy

Hall of Fame Member
Just read this article on Cricinfo. Probably one of the most interesting ones I've read in a while. Although not fully convinced, I can see where he's coming from. England probably are better now than they were in the late 1990's, but not by as large a margin as expected. Any thoughts?
The article seems reasonable to me and pretty accurate.

I dont get how Headley = Sidebottom though. Neither were/are special but Headley was clearly the better bowler than Sidebottom is.

One thing he didnt mention, that worries me, is the lack of depth in the CC currently. Few people doing well that are on te outside of the England set-up.
 

wpdavid

International Coach
I think the late 1990's England side is overtarnished in many people's minds because of the 1999 loss to NZ which dumped them at the bottom of the league table. OK, they were horrible in that series, but before that, starting in 1996, we have:
- a home win against India, which the current lot couldn't manage and a home loss to a Pakistan side whose attack was exponentially superior to the 2006 version
- an admittedly unimpressive draw in Zim and a very good win in NZ
- a defeat in WI, which was also poor tbh
- two Ashes series when we were far more competitive than 12 months ago
- a home win against SA when they were still very good indeed. Could you honestly see the current lot doing that?
- a one-off loss to SL in conditions that were exactly what MM would have requested

Of course injuries have played a part, and the point about catches is important. But if we're asking which England side was better, then'd have to conclude that the late 1990's vesion was mostly superior to what we've seen in the past two and a half years.

Possible composite side:
1. Atherton
2. Too close to call
3. Hussain
4. Thorpe
5. Pietersen
6. Stewart (wk)
7. Collingwood
8. Flintoff (if fit). If not, Sidebottom.
9. Gough
10. Caddick/Headley
11. Panesar

I make that 6 places to 4 for the late 1990's side, with one place undecided.
I'm not really happy with Collingwood at 7, but playing Stewart there would be ludicrously low. But then again I've probably forgotten somebody obvious.
 

The_Bunny

State Regular
I think the late 1990's England side is overtarnished in many people's minds because of the 1999 loss to NZ which dumped them at the bottom of the league table. OK, they were horrible in that series, but before that, starting in 1996, we have:
- a home win against India, which the current lot couldn't manage and a home loss to a Pakistan side whose attack was exponentially superior to the 2006 version
- an admittedly unimpressive draw in Zim and a very good win in NZ
- a defeat in WI, which was also poor tbh
- two Ashes series when we were far more competitive than 12 months ago
- a home win against SA when they were still very good indeed. Could you honestly see the current lot doing that?
- a one-off loss to SL in conditions that were exactly what MM would have requested

Of course injuries have played a part, and the point about catches is important. But if we're asking which England side was better, then'd have to conclude that the late 1990's vesion was mostly superior to what we've seen in the past two and a half years.

Possible composite side:
1. Atherton
2. Too close to call
3. Hussain
4. Thorpe
5. Pietersen
6. Stewart (wk)
7. Collingwood
8. Flintoff (if fit). If not, Sidebottom.
9. Gough
10. Caddick/Headley
11. Panesar

I make that 6 places to 4 for the late 1990's side, with one place undecided.
I'm not really happy with Collingwood at 7, but playing Stewart there would be ludicrously low. But then again I've probably forgotten somebody obvious.
Vaughan has to be in the side for mine.
 

wpdavid

International Coach
Vaughan has to be in the side for mine.
That may well be the somebody obvious that I completely forgot. :)

I would add that if Cook & Bell shift their games up a gear or two and go on to carve out great test careers, the my composite side would look rather different. At present though, their averages are largely inflated by cashing in against moderate attacks, whereas Hussain, Atherton & Thorpe did sometimes produce the goods against world class attacks.
 

Richard

Cricket Web Staff Member
I think the late 1990's England side is overtarnished in many people's minds because of the 1999 loss to NZ which dumped them at the bottom of the league table. OK, they were horrible in that series, but before that, starting in 1996, we have:
- a home win against India, which the current lot couldn't manage and a home loss to a Pakistan side whose attack was exponentially superior to the 2006 version
- an admittedly unimpressive draw in Zim and a very good win in NZ
- a defeat in WI, which was also poor tbh
- two Ashes series when we were far more competitive than 12 months ago
- a home win against SA when they were still very good indeed. Could you honestly see the current lot doing that?
- a one-off loss to SL in conditions that were exactly what MM would have requested

Of course injuries have played a part, and the point about catches is important. But if we're asking which England side was better, then'd have to conclude that the late 1990's vesion was mostly superior to what we've seen in the past two and a half years.

Possible composite side:
1. Atherton
2. Too close to call
3. Hussain
4. Thorpe
5. Pietersen
6. Stewart (wk)
7. Collingwood
8. Flintoff (if fit). If not, Sidebottom.
9. Gough
10. Caddick/Headley
11. Panesar

I make that 6 places to 4 for the late 1990's side, with one place undecided.
I'm not really happy with Collingwood at 7, but playing Stewart there would be ludicrously low. But then again I've probably forgotten somebody obvious.
Vaughan >>>> Collingwood. Would have him at four and Stewart five, then one of Thorpe or Pietersen seven, but seems mad go that far down for either of them.

Regarding the defeat in WI in 1998, I disagree that it was poor. Discounting the abandoned game, we lost the First Test which we should have won, won the Second Test which we should have lost, the toss decided the Third, we were denied victory in the Fourth by the weather, and we had a draw in the bank in the Fifth until an utterly ridiculous collapse. That series could easily have been 2-2 at the worst, 1-3 victory to England at best.
 

Langeveldt

Soutie
One thing he didnt mention, that worries me, is the lack of depth in the CC currently. Few people doing well that are on te outside of the England set-up.
total lack of players able to represent England playing county cricket at the moment.. They need to decide if County Cricket is going to be an entity (and a business) in it's own right (a la Premier league football), or a feeder for the national team.. At the moment it's just a mish mash of the two
 

Richard

Cricket Web Staff Member
Domestic cricket, in England or anywhere else, will never be a business in itself. Since the 1950s, it never has been in England, and elsewhere, it never has been - ever.

The purpose of domestic cricket is to prepare players for the next level up, international. As the purpose of clubs and second XIs is to prepare players for the domestic level.

Without cricket at international level, cricket as a professional entity is non-sustainable.
 

grecian

Cricket Web: All-Time Legend
I think the late 1990's England side is overtarnished in many people's minds because of the 1999 loss to NZ which dumped them at the bottom of the league table. OK, they were horrible in that series, but before that, starting in 1996, we have:
- a home win against India, which the current lot couldn't manage and a home loss to a Pakistan side whose attack was exponentially superior to the 2006 version
- an admittedly unimpressive draw in Zim and a very good win in NZ
- a defeat in WI, which was also poor tbh
- two Ashes series when we were far more competitive than 12 months ago
- a home win against SA when they were still very good indeed. Could you honestly see the current lot doing that?
- a one-off loss to SL in conditions that were exactly what MM would have requested

Of course injuries have played a part, and the point about catches is important. But if we're asking which England side was better, then'd have to conclude that the late 1990's vesion was mostly superior to what we've seen in the past two and a half years.

Possible composite side:
1. Atherton
2. Too close to call
3. Hussain
4. Thorpe
5. Pietersen
6. Stewart (wk)
7. Collingwood
8. Flintoff (if fit). If not, Sidebottom.
9. Gough
10. Caddick/Headley
11. Panesar

I make that 6 places to 4 for the late 1990's side, with one place undecided.
I'm not really happy with Collingwood at 7, but playing Stewart there would be ludicrously low. But then again I've probably forgotten somebody obvious.
Why no Hoggard?
 

Richard

Cricket Web Staff Member
Because Gough, Caddick and Headley, despite all having disappointing careers in one way or another, are still clearly superior bowlers.
 

Richard

Cricket Web Staff Member
Haha, so English.
Eh? Why?

The saying "catches win matches" expresses "take catches". The saying "dropped catches cost matches" expresses "don't drop catches". Crucial difference, IMO.

What's more, you can only take a catch if it comes. Therefore, catches don't neccessarily win matches, because you can actually win 'em without. But dropping catches will almost invariably cost games, because they'll almost never keep coming.
 

grecian

Cricket Web: All-Time Legend
Because Gough, Caddick and Headley, despite all having disappointing careers in one way or another, are still clearly superior bowlers.
Well agree with Gough, but Caddicks poor first innings performances means he's the lesser bowler imo, would have been awful in this day and age, with the pitches not deteriorating as much as they did then.

If you include Headley, you may as well put in Simon Jones, both similarly flawed injury-wise. Yet i know you'll talk up Headley over Jones too. Very odd your obsession with all things nineties.
 

Richard

Cricket Web Staff Member
Caddicks poor first innings performances means he's the lesser bowler imo, would have been awful in this day and age, with the pitches not deteriorating as much as they did then.
Caddick's first\second innings discrepancy actually had little to do with pitches, it was mostly mere coincidence.
If you include Headley, you may as well put in Simon Jones, both similarly flawed injury-wise. Yet i know you'll talk up Headley over Jones too.
There's some element of comparison in the injury-prone stakes, but that's where it ends really. Both had plenty of potential, but Headley's performances were probably superior - Jones bowled well, essentially, in two first-innings', those at Old Trafford and Trent Bridge in 2005. Headley pretty much trumped those performances with his games at Adelaide, MCG and SCG in 1998\99. He also bowled better for most of the rest of his career, having no more than 2 out-and-out poor games from debut to penultimate Test.

In potential there's little to divide them, in performance Headley was superior. There's no two ways about that.
Very odd your obsession with all things nineties.
Rubbish is it. Far more odd is the obsession of so many in saying how rubbish England were, rubbish full-stop without any perks-up.
 

wpdavid

International Coach
Why no Hoggard?
Fair question. Down to gut instinct more than anything quantifiable, tbh. I think Gough's the best of the lot and I wanted one of he tall & bouncy brigade to partner him. But like you said, you couldn't see Caddick doing much on today's roads and I take your point about Headley not playing many games anyway. Thinking about it, Hoggie would justifiably feel quite aggrieved about being omitted.
 

grecian

Cricket Web: All-Time Legend
Caddick's first\second innings discrepancy actually had little to do with pitches, it was mostly mere coincidence.
Pure conjecture on your part stated as fact as per normal. I think it played a massive part.

There's some element of comparison in the injury-prone stakes, but that's where it ends really. Both had plenty of potential, but Headley's performances were probably superior - Jones bowled well, essentially, in two first-innings', those at Old Trafford and Trent Bridge in 2005. Headley pretty much trumped those performances with his games at Adelaide, MCG and SCG in 1998\99. He also bowled better for most of the rest of his career, having no more than 2 out-and-out poor games from debut to penultimate Test.

In potential there's little to divide them, in performance Headley was superior. There's no two ways about that.
Again Your opinion stated as fact. Watched both, thought Jones' performances were superior.



Rubbish is it. Far more odd is the obsession of so many in saying how rubbish England were, rubbish full-stop without any perks-up.
They did have perks, great admirer of Gough, Thorpe, Stewart and Fraser, just feel many others were as poor as their record shows.

Athers, Hussein, Caddick were average at best IMHO, with occasional performances which belied that, but in general mediocre . Whilst the likes of Croft, Ramps, Hick and countless others were simply shocking in general.

My nineties comment was not just about England, but the fact you'll explain that these peoples poor records were down to the cricket being played by the other nations being vastly superior to now. A POV I do not agree with. Maybe better then (debatable, tbh), but not to the ridiculous margins you make out. Athers averaging 60 if he'd played in this day and age, for instance:blink:
 

grecian

Cricket Web: All-Time Legend
Fair question. Down to gut instinct more than anything quantifiable, tbh. I think Gough's the best of the lot and I wanted one of he tall & bouncy brigade to partner him. But like you said, you couldn't see Caddick doing much on today's roads and I take your point about Headley not playing many games anyway. Thinking about it, Hoggie would justifiably feel quite aggrieved about being omitted.
Ah, the person I asked the question too:unsure:

Yeah, it comes to gut instinct, all these things really. I know your not a fan of Harmisons, so for variety it makes sense, tbh. Caddick and Gough were better in partnership too.
 

Richard

Cricket Web Staff Member
Pure conjecture on your part stated as fact as per normal. I think it played a massive part.
Pretty much all the evidence points to it being as I said. Look at some of his second-innings (and first-innings) spells between 1993 and 1998, see how little part deterioration of pitches actually played.

The idea that pitches were the reason for the discrepancy lacks observational skills and relies on generalisations and assumptions.
Again Your opinion stated as fact. Watched both, thought Jones' performances were superior.
And I watched both and I thought Headley's performances were every bit as good - they just didn't result in an uplifting series victory. This will always bias the mind of the unwary. It's simple fact that Headley's performances outside his very-best few games were better.
They did have perks, great admirer of Gough, Thorpe, Stewart and Fraser, just feel many others were as poor as their record shows.

Athers, Hussein, Caddick were average at best IMHO, with occasional performances which belied that, but in general mediocre . Whilst the likes of Croft, Ramps, Hick and countless others were simply shocking in general.
Anyone who thinks Atherton and Hussain were average simply doesn't understand cricket. And yes, I've gone into why that's so any number of times. Caddick in the end was fairly average, at least until 1999, but even he had his moments and it's fairly obvious to me that with better handling he'd have done far better.
My nineties comment was not just about England, but the fact you'll explain that these peoples poor records were down to the cricket being played by the other nations being vastly superior to now. A POV I do not agree with. Maybe better then (debatable, tbh), but not to the ridiculous margins you make out. Athers averaging 60 if he'd played in this day and age, for instance:blink:
If Mark Richardson can average 50, which he did for a fair while, Atherton can certainly average 60 for a similar period. Atherton was a better batsman in his sleep than Richardson ever was. Many people simply do not appreciate (perhaps because they don't want to) just how poor the last 6 years has sometimes (and only sometimes) been in terms of wider cricketing standards.
 

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