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Glenn McGrath vs Allan Donald

Ikki

Hall of Fame Member
Now, I have tended to argue that McGrath is the best of his era and I don't think many people would have a problem with that. However, from my own memories of the 90s, I used to think the most devastating and dangerous bowler was Allan Donald. While McGrath was likened to a metronome, Donald was fire and brimstone. For me, Donald had everything to be the best and lately I have been looking at his record, comparing it with other bowlers, and find it troublesome how underrated he is. I looked at both his record and McGrath's, home and away, and I think it shows the disservice he has endured with regards to comparisons. I have separated their stats into home and away.

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Donald - Home:


McGrath - Home:


When comparing both at home, Donald has been castigated for his under-par record against the Australians, yet McGrath has an equally bad record against S.Africa. I find this misconception a perpetration of facts; that McGrath simply succeeded everywhere. Not only that, but McGrath also has another glaring record against New Zealand which is just as bad as his S.Africa figures. Other than that, they've both pretty much been superlative everywhere; while Donald, probably, a tad better. And before someone brings it up; yes, I am disregarding Donald's 1 test against Zimbabwe which I treat as an aberration.

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Donald - Away:


McGrath - Away:


Donald also seems to have a better record away. The only blip are his two tests against Pakistan, which really is not a big enough sample IMO, yet still better than McGrath's record against Pakistan - who also isn't too hot against Sri Lanka but one could also make the sample-argument for him there too. Again, both superlative everywhere with Donald a tad better than McGrath overall.
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So, just a short analysis, nothing in-depth but I just thought I'd raise the question and have people look over it again. IMO, Donald's record is more complete than McGrath's overall - and while comparable, I'd say Australia were harder to face than S.Africa (in terms of Donald v Australia and McGrath v S.Africa). Not only in a home and away basis, but overall having a better combined strike-rate and average.

In pondering why McGrath is almost automatically deemed better than Donald, I would say a lot of it has to do with longevity. People marvel that McGrath bowled for so long, kept such a high standard, especially as pitches flattened out. I think that has to do with their type of bowling, but I really don't have much doubt about Donald also succeeding had half of his career been in the 00's. I am not sure about others; hence the thread. Or maybe there are other considerations?
 
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MrIncredible

U19 Cricketer
I do agree that Donald is underated in the grand scheme of things. I usually rank Mcgrath over Donald because Mcgrath had to thrive in an era when batting was alot easier (whether it was due to pitches or a lack of decent bowlers).
 

Migara

International Captain
There's lot of facts that we can take out of Ikki's post. I think Donald lost his fiery best due to political reasons. I think he was around 26 when he dubuted. He has lost 4 of his quickest years, where he would have bowled 150+.
 

wfdu_ben91

International 12th Man
There's lot of facts that we can take out of Ikki's post. I think Donald lost his fiery best due to political reasons. I think he was around 26 when he dubuted. He has lost 4 of his quickest years, where he would have bowled 150+.
That argument goes against Donald because he debutted in his prime.
 

DingDong

State Captain
Yeah, Donald was better. Just unlucky not to play during his early years. Mcgrath was a poor man's Ambrose.
 

Ikki

Hall of Fame Member
That argument goes against Donald because he debutted in his prime.
It can go against or for an average player; but I think it will go against greats of the game. Someone like Donald is losing points for not having a career as long as McGrath through no fault of his own. Yet still maintained a career only a handful of bowlers can compare to for what is still a sizable 72 tests. The fact that as soon as he arrived on the scene and he did well against, probably, the best team of the time makes one think that he'd not have been hopeless before that.
 

Top_Cat

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Still rate McGrath higher but they were both awfully good. Donald had the chest hair over McGrath but McGrath had the brains over Donald. Close run thing, though.
 

SJS

Hall of Fame Member
If I was choosing the main bowler for a Test side and the choice came down to Donald (at his best) and McGrath (at his best) I would unhesitatingly have chosen the former.

Its a personal opinion :)
 
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Noble One

International Vice-Captain
If I was choosing the main bowler for a Test side and the choice came down to Donald (at his best) and McGrath (at his best) I would unhesitatingly have chosen the former.

Its a personal opinion :)
My opinion too, if selecting either for a one off test match I would choose Donald over McGrath. Donald at his peak simply looked capable of taking a wicket with each delivery, such an incredibly skillful bowler.

But my selection would change if I had a ten years of Test cricket to grasp from either cricketer. McGrath's brilliance came from his reliability series after series, at home and away, to stay injury free and be someone you could build an all conquering bowling attack around.

In a perfect scenario I would prefer to take Waqar Younis at his finest, and Ambrose for the space of 10 years. Such incredible depth of pace bowling that was seen during the 90's, early 00's.
 

bagapath

International Captain
Yeah, Donald was better. Just unlucky not to play during his early years. Mcgrath was a poor man's Ambrose.
most unfair comparison i have heard in a long long time.

mcgrath has done everything possible in test cricket to be ranked among the greatest fast bowlers of all time. his SR, Avg, WPM, longevity and ER are on par with the very best the game has offered. except in avg and ER he is better than ambrose in the rest of the criteria.

ambrose had a horrendous record against india whereas mcgrath did well in india. and ambrose's relatively weaker SR (a little more than 9 overs per wicket) puts him a rung below other stalwarts. donald's record against australia is also not something he would be proud of. and his average is below mcgrath's.

in my book mcgrath>ambrose=donald

but for sheer excitement of watching a fast bowler in full flight ambrose>donald>mcgrath
 
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Goughy

Hall of Fame Member
I dont even think it is close. Not even in the same bracket.

Donald was an athlete, I would pay to watch him and I wanted to be like him. But McGrath was a different class.

McGrath in the small handful included in the discussion for best ever. Donald a group or two behind.
 

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