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Why was Malcolm Marshall so middling in ODIs?

mr_mister

Hall of Fame Member
I never got this. Of the 14 or so widely considered best pacemen ever from the modern age (Marshall, McGrath, Hadlee, Ambrose, Steyn, Wasim, Donald, Holding, Garner, Imran, Lillee, Waqar, Pollock) all of them have awesome averages under 24 in tests and averages under 25 in ODIs - except Imran and Marshall. Imran averages 26 in ODIs but was usually batting 5/6 so he has some kind of excuse. Marshall averaged 27 yet he's usually called the greatest pacemen of them all when talking about tests.

It's weird to me that of these 14 guys he goes from 1st to 14th depending on the format. What is a possible explanation?
 

Fuller Pilch

International Captain
Economy rates were seen as more important in his era and his e/r is the 14th best of all time (even better than the likes of Lillee and the parsimonious Ewen Chatfield).
 

Arachnodouche

International Debutant
I always felt less support behind the wicket in terms of deployable slips made Steyn less of a threat in ODIs. Outswing was his big thing in Tests obviously, but you can't always afford to go full and in the channel in ODIs, so he compensated by bowling straighter.
 

TheJediBrah

Hall of Fame Member
Did he play red-ball or white-ball ODIs

A lot of people don't realize how much of a difference that makes to some bowlers
 

Line and Length

International Debutant
ODIs were a style of cricket that didn't suit Marshall's aggressive approach. No real slips cordon and bouncers penalised. He still performed reasonably well but obviously didn't adapt as well as other ATGs.
 

Migara

International Captain
ODIs were a style of cricket that didn't suit Marshall's aggressive approach. No real slips cordon and bouncers penalised. He still performed reasonably well but obviously didn't adapt as well as other ATGs.
Didn't stop Waqar succeeding in ODis despite his uber attacking bowling style.
 

Prince EWS

Global Moderator
Didn't stop Waqar succeeding in ODis despite his uber attacking bowling style.
He got a lot more wickets bowled/lbw which takes the field placings out of the equation to some extent.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is that Marshall's ODI figures really tailed off towards the end of his career. He averaged 23 for his first 100 ODIs and retired after 136 with an average of ~27. In his last 40 ODIs he averaged over 40.

His economy rate suffered a bit as well but this was at a time (early 90s) where scoring rates were starting to pick up in the format to the point where I don't think it's suffered almost as badly as you'd expect from someone who'd seemingly overnight transformed from a 23 average bowler into a 40 average bowler. I wonder if he just had a bit of a different role towards the end of his career, being used more as a support bowler in the middle overs where bowlers tend to average more, and less up front and at the death where the greats tend to pick up most of their wickets.
 

vcs

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I vaguely remember he played in the '92 World Cup and it was generally seen as his swansong and he was probably well past his best by then.

Rather be the clear GOAT Test bowler and middling in ODIs than pretty close to the top but not quite there in both though :p
 

tony p

U19 12th Man
Back in his heyday, Tests were more important, infact I would much rather be remembered as a great test bowler than a one-day bowler.

I always find that one-day stats quite meaningless, is it better to go for 3.1 per over for your entire career with less wickets or go for 5.4 runs per over and take more wickets.
 

Migara

International Captain
He got a lot more wickets bowled/lbw which takes the field placings out of the equation to some extent.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is that Marshall's ODI figures really tailed off towards the end of his career. He averaged 23 for his first 100 ODIs and retired after 136 with an average of ~27. In his last 40 ODIs he averaged over 40.

His economy rate suffered a bit as well but this was at a time (early 90s) where scoring rates were starting to pick up in the format to the point where I don't think it's suffered almost as badly as you'd expect from someone who'd seemingly overnight transformed from a 23 average bowler into a 40 average bowler. I wonder if he just had a bit of a different role towards the end of his career, being used more as a support bowler in the middle overs where bowlers tend to average more, and less up front and at the death where the greats tend to pick up most of their wickets.
Exactly. Waqar made that adjustment EASILY. He took a lot of wickets with the new ball too, just hooping it around. Waqar had changes of pace too, and I read that Marshall had a leg cutter too. Perplexing why the difference is.
 

Prince EWS

Global Moderator
Exactly. Waqar made that adjustment EASILY.
It wasn't really an adjustment because it was true in Tests too. His Test bowling style was more applicable to ODIs than Marshall in the first place, so he had less adjusting to do.

Ultimately I think my other point is more important though - he was a fair bit better than "middling" for the three quarters of his career. I wasn't watching cricket as a toddler so I'm not sure if his horrible figures in the last 3 years of his career are primarily to decline, role change, or a mix of the two, but if he gave up the format after 100 ODIs this thread wouldn't exist, so the root of the question really has to be wtf happened at the end for him to average 40 for 40 ODIs.
 

Kirkut

International Debutant
I vaguely remember he played in the '92 World Cup and it was generally seen as his swansong and he was probably well past his best by then.

Rather be the clear GOAT Test bowler and middling in ODIs than pretty close to the top but not quite there in both though :p
Fun fact: He was the first bowler Ganguly faced in his international debut.
 

Kirkut

International Debutant
Exactly. Waqar made that adjustment EASILY. He took a lot of wickets with the new ball too, just hooping it around. Waqar had changes of pace too, and I read that Marshall had a leg cutter too. Perplexing why the difference is.
West Indian bowlers didn't make generous use of slower ball and reverse swing as much as subcontinent bowlers.
 

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