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Is Pace An Overrated Asset?

a massive zebra

International Vice-Captain
These days many bowlers are selected for international teams on the basis of their pace alone, with little or no attention paid towards their performances in domestic cricket or their accuracy (Brett Lee, Simon Jones and Mohammed Sami spring to mind).

The most effective pace bowlers since the late 90s, like McGrath and Pollock, have been more focused on putting the ball in the right place ball after ball, with a little movement, rather than trying to break the speed barrier. Many of the fastest bowlers compromise accuracy for extra speed and thus become expensive as a result, yet they still get selected over more accurate bowlers with less pace, who usually perform better. The selectors seem to ignore the principle that speed minus accuracy equals waywardness, and line and length at reasonable pace equals reliability. To many international selectors, pace is everything, and the ability to take wickets cheaply is not.

Obviously a bowler that is fast, accurate and is taking wickets cheaply (ie Shoaib or Harmison), should be playing for his country. The question I am asking is should bowlers with great pace but an inconsistent line and length, and mediocre stats (ie Lee has a Test bowling average of 39 since 2001, Jones has a Championship average of 38 and Sami averages almost 50 with the ball in Tests), be selected for their country?
 
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Langeveldt

Soutie
Harmison springs to mind.. But he has learnt to combine pace and accuracy, and touch wood he is lethal..

Im a pretty quick bowler, but when i try and bowl flat out i nearly always get tanked.. So I guess a Saggers could well be more lethal than a Simon Jones..

Depends on the conditions though, id rather have Lee bowling for me at Perth or Joburg where he can use his pace to the max, but on most pitches id take the accuracy...
 

Swervy

International Captain
Sheer pace can be devestating in its own right...see Shoaib when he is on fire,or even Lee when he gets it right..just a notch down from those two is Harmison who is the second ranked bowler in the world.One bowler who can combine occasional great pace with accuracy is Flintoff, who can bowl in the low 90mph region and is pretty much on the mark...and his bowling is getting better and better.

The speed gun things can be misleading...I personally dont think there is TOO much difference in pace between McGrath/Pollock and those bowlers who are thought to be faster (obviously not your Lee's or your Shoaibs).A bowler like McGrath gets bounce out of the pitch,which is very hard to play..hence the wickets he takes.

There have been many example of pure pace doing the business...Thomson,Tyson,Larwood.

I think you go with whats best for the team at that time...but if you have a 100mph bowler up your sleeve...lucky you.
 

a massive zebra

International Vice-Captain
Swervy said:
Sheer pace can be devestating in its own right...see Shoaib when he is on fire,or even Lee when he gets it right..just a notch down from those two is Harmison who is the second ranked bowler in the world.One bowler who can combine occasional great pace with accuracy is Flintoff, who can bowl in the low 90mph region and is pretty much on the mark...and his bowling is getting better and better.

The speed gun things can be misleading...I personally dont think there is TOO much difference in pace between McGrath/Pollock and those bowlers who are thought to be faster (obviously not your Lee's or your Shoaibs).A bowler like McGrath gets bounce out of the pitch,which is very hard to play..hence the wickets he takes.

There have been many example of pure pace doing the business...Thomson,Tyson,Larwood.

I think you go with whats best for the team at that time...but if you have a 100mph bowler up your sleeve...lucky you.
I am not saying pace is a bad thing. People like Tyson, Shoaib, Thomson and Larwood at their best have been devastating. When they found some form and put it in the right place at their great pace, they could be almost unplayable.

What I am saying is that very fast bowlers like Lee, Jones and Sami who pay no attention to accuracy whatsoever, are highly overrated and not worth their place in the side. They get selected just for their pace even though slower bowlers could get the opposition out more cheaply.

Don't really see where Flintoff comes into it - he's not really fast but certainly not slow either, he's not inaccurate, and not a particularly effective or ineffective bowler.
 
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Swervy

International Captain
a massive zebra said:
I am not saying pace is a bad thing. People like Tyson, Shoaib, Thomson and Larwood at their best have been devastating, when they found some form and put it in the right place.

What I am saying is that very fast bowlers like Lee, Jones and Sami who pay no attention to accuracy whatsoever, are highly overrated and not worth their place in the side. They get selected just for their pace even though slower bowlers could get the opposition out more cheaply.

Don't really see where Flintoff comes into it - he's not really fast but certainly not slow either, he's not inaccurate, and not a particularly effective or ineffective bowler.

Jones isnt too bad you know
 

a massive zebra

International Vice-Captain
Swervy said:
Jones isnt too bad you know
He's not good either. Has never averaged under 30 in any Test series, and his county championship average is 38! We have more effective bowlers but the selectors pick Jones purely for his pace.
 

Swervy

International Captain
i guess there will be a place in most teams line up for an express bowler if one is available just for variety...my ideal bowling line up would be along these lines

1.Express (Shoaib type speed, to use in short bursts, for shock value)
2.Fast Medium (or medium fast,ever know the difference :D ) who can get plenty of bounce (ie Gillespie)
3. Fastish (like Pollock)
4. Medium swing bowler (no-one springs to mind)...(maybe a Vaas type guy although he is faster than medium))
5. A good spinner (leg or off..as long as good)

2 3 and 4 do most of the donkey work in the pace section,1 doing stuff in short blasts...and the spinner doing what he needs to do when required.
 

a massive zebra

International Vice-Captain
Swervy said:
i guess there will be a place in most teams line up for an express bowler if one is available just for variety...my ideal bowling line up would be along these lines

1.Express (Shoaib type speed, to use in short bursts, for shock value)
2.Fast Medium (or medium fast,ever know the difference :D ) who can get plenty of bounce (ie Gillespie)
3. Fastish (like Pollock)
4. Medium swing bowler (no-one springs to mind)...(maybe a Vaas type guy although he is faster than medium))
5. A good spinner (leg or off..as long as good)

2 3 and 4 do most of the donkey work in the pace section,1 doing stuff in short blasts...and the spinner doing what he needs to do when required.
1.Express - H.Larwood
2.Fast Medium - R.Hadlee
3. Fastish - M.Marshall
4. Medium swing bowler - S.Barnes
5. A good spinner - M.Muralitharan

But I would definitely not pick Larwood in my all time XI - too inconsistent. The other four would probably make it. Imran over Hadlee for his batting. I would pick Marshall, Barnes, Murali, Imran, Sobers.

Current players...

1. Shoaib
2. Pollock
3. Harmison
4. Vaas
5. Murali

Pretty close to my bowling attack in my current World XI. Warne should be in there though above Vaas and I would only play four main bowlers plus Kallis. Probably Shoaib, Pollock/Harmison, Murali, Warne, Kallis.
 
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Swervy

International Captain
a massive zebra said:
1.Express - H.Larwood
2.Fast Medium - R.Hadlee
3. Fastish - M.Marshall
4. Medium swing bowler - S.Barnes
5. A good spinner - M.Muralitharan

But I would definitely not pick Larwood in my all time XI - too inconsistent. The other four would probably make it.
oooh...Marshall only fastish....let me tell you (in case you never saw him play)...he was mighty fast...and coz of his action he was fast off the pitch as well.....but what made him so great was that he could move the ball at will. He was one of the most intelligent bowlers ever to play the game.

Having never seen Barnes play, I would go for Botham at his peak as 4th bowler,the best swing bowler (who relie on swing as opposed to pace, although he could fling the ball pretty quick sometimes as well) I have ever seen
 

Swervy

International Captain
a massive zebra said:
1.Express - H.Larwood
2.Fast Medium - R.Hadlee
3. Fastish - M.Marshall
4. Medium swing bowler - S.Barnes
5. A good spinner - M.Muralitharan

But I would definitely not pick Larwood in my all time XI - too inconsistent. The other four would probably make it. Imran over Hadlee for his batting. I would pick Marshall, Barnes, Murali, Imran, Sobers.

Current players...

1. Shoaib
2. Pollock
3. Harmison
4. Vaas
5. Murali

Pretty close to my bowling attack in my current World XI. Warne should be in there though above Vaas and I would only play four main bowlers plus Kallis. Probably Shoaib, Pollock/Harmison. Murali, Warne, Kallis.
i wasnt trying to pick the best bowling line up..i was just saying for me that type of bowling set up would be ideal
 

Tim

Cricketer Of The Year
It's a shame Shane Bond hasn't played more cricket..he was perhaps one of the more consistent fast bowlers with no problems over his action too.
 

a massive zebra

International Vice-Captain
Swervy said:
oooh...Marshall only fastish....let me tell you (in case you never saw him play)...he was mighty fast...and coz of his action he was fast off the pitch as well.....but what made him so great was that he could move the ball at will. He was one of the most intelligent bowlers ever to play the game.

Having never seen Barnes play, I would go for Botham at his peak as 4th bowler,the best swing bowler (who relie on swing as opposed to pace, although he could fling the ball pretty quick sometimes as well) I have ever seen
OK you are right I never saw Marshall play. Who would you pick in the fastish category then? If you only want to pick bowlers you have seen then that is fair enough, but it is blindingly obvious to anyone with decent knowledge of cricket that you cannot compare Botham to Barnes purely as a bowler, however many more Test wickets he took.
 

Will Scarlet

U19 Debutant
I totally agree that express pace is over-rated. When Bond initially got injured a couple of years back NZC decided they had to replace him with another express paceman, no matter what. They brought in Ian Butler, who at the time was only the #4 bowler for ND in FC cricket. Butler's contribution was predictably terrible (wayward and very expensive). He has since improved a little, but based on form should not have been given a chance at that stage. Yovich, Schwass, and Penn must have all been thinking, "Why not me instead of Butler?"

Pace can be very effective on the correct pitches and against selected opposition. Pakistan has a great record against NZ in recent times simply because our batting's inability to deal with the likes of Akram, Younis, Aktar, and Sami's pace.
 

a massive zebra

International Vice-Captain
Swervy said:
Having never seen Barnes play, I would go for Botham at his peak as 4th bowler,the best swing bowler (who relie on swing as opposed to pace, although he could fling the ball pretty quick sometimes as well) I have ever seen
Massie at his best (1 match!!!!) was the most devastating swing bowler ever. Maybe Botham at his peak was the best swing bowler of the last 30 years to maintain his ability for a sustained period, although he was pretty quick at times and his bowling did eventually decline alarmingly.
 

Tim

Cricketer Of The Year
Schwass & Penn were not of international standard despite putting the numbers on the board. It's fair to say they were helped greatly by favourable bowling conditions over their careers.

Butler has more talent..if he gets it right he can get steep bounce with pace which can be more threatning on any type of surface, whereas Penn & Schwass would only be good on pitches that have seam movement in them.
 

Swervy

International Captain
a massive zebra said:
OK you are right I never saw Marshall play. Who would you pick in the fastish category then? If you only want to pick bowlers you have seen then that is fair enough, but it is blindingly obvious to anyone with decent knowledge of cricket that you cannot compare Botham to Barnes purely as a bowler, however many more Test wickets he took.
well i am not trying to pick the best bowlers..i am only trying to give examples of the type of bowlers i would want on my team.

but it is interesting about the Barnes vs Botham thing..yes you are right, Barnes is widely considered THE best bowler of all time...but have a look at this

Barnes played 27 tests
TESTS
(career)

O R W Ave BBI 5 10 SR Econ
Bowling 1312.1 3106 189 16.43 9-103 24 7 41.6 2.36

Botham after 27 tests
O R W Ave BBI 5 10 SR Econ
1111.4 2818 146 19.30 8-34 14 3 45.7 2.53


not really trying to make a point with that...but still quite interesting
 

Swervy

International Captain
a massive zebra said:
Massie at his best (1 match!!!!) was the most devastating swing bowler ever. Maybe Botham at his peak was the best swing bowler of the last 30 years to maintain his ability for a sustained period, although he was pretty quick at times and his bowling did eventually decline alarmingly.
yeah it did go down hill...but still..he was one of the best bowlers in the 1992 World Cup...

A lot of it was coz of his back problems (and his weight as well)
 

a massive zebra

International Vice-Captain
Swervy said:
well i am not trying to pick the best bowlers..i am only trying to give examples of the type of bowlers i would want on my team.

but it is interesting about the Barnes vs Botham thing..yes you are right, Barnes is widely considered THE best bowler of all time...but have a look at this

Barnes played 27 tests
TESTS
(career)

O R W Ave BBI 5 10 SR Econ
Bowling 1312.1 3106 189 16.43 9-103 24 7 41.6 2.36

Botham after 27 tests
O R W Ave BBI 5 10 SR Econ
1111.4 2818 146 19.30 8-34 14 3 45.7 2.53


not really trying to make a point with that...but still quite interesting
Yes Botham at his best was a stunningly good bowler, possibly the best in the world not to mention his batting. At his best Botham was possibly the best bowler ever to also be a top-class batsman at the same time (Imran's figures as captain are even better, but he did not have as much potential as Botham with regard to making centuries).

One thing to note with your comparison - Barnes played over half his matches against the strongest team of his time, and Botham never had any real success against the West Indies, his overall record against them with both bat and ball is extremely poor (although nothing like Warne's record against India!!!!!!!!!). Almost everyone who saw Barnes thought he was the best bowler they had ever seen. The same cannot be said about Botham.
 
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Swervy

International Captain
a massive zebra said:
Yes Botham at his best was a stunningly good bowler, possibly the best in the world not to mention his batting. At his best Botham was possibly the best bowler ever to also be a top-class batsman at the same time (Imran's figures as captain are even better, but he did not have as much potential as Botham with regard to making centuries).

One thing to note with your comparison - Barnes played over half his matches against the strongest team of his time, and Botham never had any real success against the West Indies, his overall record against them with both bat and ball is extremely poor (although nothing like Warne's record against India!!!!!!!!!). Almost everyone who saw Barnes thought he was the best bowler they had ever seen. The same cannot be said about Botham.
i certainly dont dispute anything you have said there
 

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