The 606v2 Cricket Hall of Fame - Part 3

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Post by Hoggy_Bear on Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:23 am

First topic message reminder :

Well obviously, while Headley's achievements statistically outweighed those of Constantine, I do think that Constantine, from what I have read, had a massive impact, especially in England. His whole philosophy was to entertain because, by playing entertaining cricket, the WIndies were more likely to draw crowds and guarantee that they would be invited back. Again, according to Swanton "he indeed personified West Indian cricket from the first faltering entry in the Test arena in 1928 until the post-war emergence of the trinity of Worrell, Weekes and Walcott."

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Post by Shelsey93 on Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:14 am

Ah right. Yes, they are Middlesex league, but Radlett are my club (Shenley)'s next door neighbours, albeit three divisions higher so we rarely actually play them apart from in junior cricket.

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Post by Biltong on Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:37 am

kwinigolfer wrote:Was at Ickenham for a few years in the very late sixties/very early 70's.
Before the days of leagues.
We used to go east to Southgate, up to places like Radlett, north-west to the Rickmansworth area and down to Richmond.
Southgate.

That is where a mate of mine's son played his cricket this summer.

Carmi le Roux, don't know if you still follow Southgate, but he did quite well for them from whathis dad told me.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:41 am

Biltong,
I'm long since gone from that area - about forty years! 3,000 miles away now.

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Post by Biltong on Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:10 am

I thought you might still have contacts there, cheers.
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Post by Corporalhumblebucket on Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:48 am

Mike Selig wrote: Some interesting debate on Hendren to be had: a wonderful opening salvo from the Corporal, and fine counter-points made by MfC. In particular it seems that on first class record terms Hendren is second only to Hobbs; his test record is a concern, but not to the same extent as Woolley's or others I would have thought. So the question is, is his extroardinary first class record (but not unmatched) worth entry to the HoF?

I suspect that ultimately what the debate on Hendren will indeed boil down to is what weight contributors to give the wider first class game outside test cricket (bearing in mind, in historical terms, the enormously greater importance and popularity of the wider first game in former times). Hendren's test record in its own right is excellent but on its own, realistically, insufficient for HoF. And to my mind it demonstrates beyond doubt that Hendren was not some journeyman player. I would argue that if in the HoF we accept one single representative of the wider first class game then it is difficult to think of any better candidate than Hendren with his remarkable record. To repeat: his career first class average of 50.8 was achieved in 833 matches and while scoring over 57,000 runs.

It people don't buy that argument it is difficult to see what more he could have done in county cricket. Without WW1 he might well have got another couple of dozen hundreds. But if 170 centuries isn't enough it is unlikely that 190 or 200 would tip the balance. (Ditto with his achievement of 272 half centuries.... Shocked )

I haven't had time properly to join the debate on Willis. It's all to play for. Instinctive, gut reaction was that he doesn't quite feel like a HoF candidate. I also had a sense - probably somewhat coloured by nostalgia for times when memories were more vivid - that John Snow was better. But I am ready to put these feelings aside if the arguments justify it. And certainly I think his defining moment against the Aussies, is high up there among post WW2 fast bowling achievements (eg perhaps of the order of Holding's magnificent performance against England at the Oval?)


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Post by Hoggy_Bear on Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:28 am

I think the thing with Willis for me is not, neccessarily, that he was a great bowler, (though I would suggest that he was, at least, a very good bowler, as his figures suggest), but that he achieved what he did through a determination to overcome adversity, and a willingness to do whatever was neccessary for the good of the cause, particularly where England were concerned, including taking the captaincy when the selectors thought he was the best man for the job, despite never actively angling for the role.
It's true that he probably wouldn't have lasted long in Maurice tate's day, as Guildford has suggested, but then, players without his determination probably wouldn't have had half the career he did during the 70s and 80s.
This, I think, is the main basis for his possible inclusion in our HoF. Not that he was an all-time great bowler, but that he was a very good bowler who achieved what he did because of his determination to overcome adversity and to do everything he could to help the cause.

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Post by Hoggy_Bear on Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:36 am

This Wisden assessment of 'Big' Bob touches on a number of the same points. It's a bit long, but a good read:

Richardson had Lockwood; Larwood had Voce; Trueman had Statham; but Willis was almost alone. Just how much of an extra force for England Willis might have been, given a regular complementary strike bowler, is a question which will hang suspended in time. True, he linked with Botham for several series, and believed in his partner implicitly - until the final phase, by which time Botham had lost his thrust and Willis himself, still valiantly withstanding the hardships of ageing frame and suspect knees, sensed that the sand in his own hour-glass was nearly all in the bottom.

For one who is often outrageously convivial in a social setting, Bob Willis could be surprisingly, even shockingly, solitary when in cricket battledress. The young man flown to Australia in emergency during Illingworth's 1970-71 tour bent himself into predatory shape in the gully and held some spectacular catches; but Willis the Elder, a dozen years on, unlikely captain of England, struck a memorable and almost perpetual pose in the isolation of mid-off, thin arm across concave chest, large hand propping that promontory of a chin, blue-grey eyes seemingly glazed against what became, in 1982-83 and 1983-84, a painful scene as England's mediocre bowling was exposed by the batsmen of Australia and New Zealand. It was as well to remember, at times of exasperation at his detached air, that he merely accepted the highest honour of the England captaincy; he didn't demand it. The selectors had boxed themselves in by dropping Fletcher.

Often Willis tried to do it alone, and that was when his lone role and his uniqueness among English pace bowlers were so gallingly obvious. Inevitably in 1984, with the defeats piling up and his own condition and future in doubt, he was relieved of the captaincy. He graciously returned to the ranks and played out his last few Tests under Gower. When his bowling was hammered by the West Indians - Holding in particular - there were still those who wished to believe that it was luck on the batsmen's part, and that Willis remained a force. We were, in fact, watching the death throes of a great fast-bowling career.

Only Bob Willis's height ever encouraged any sort of belief that he would become an international fast bowler. His run-up was intimidating but slightly absurd. Even he appreciated this, especially after seeing Gooch imitate it, a fateful observation late in life which persuaded him to bring his right arm forward instead of pumping it across his rump like a frenzied jockey in the home straight. Yet irrespective of the low marks for aesthetic quality in his action, that long right arm, which came down and across at such an unlikely angle, propelled the ball at a hot pace, with steep bounce and unusually threatening movement in towards the batsman. Sometimes that batsman, as in McCosker's case at Melbourne during the Centenary Test, was pinned by it. McCosker's jaw was broken, and Willis was booed as he left the ground, in blazer and flannels, and strode up through the park towards the team's hotel. Anyone getting in his way that evening would have been squashed flat.

A year later one of his bouncers hit Pakistan's night-watchman, Iqbal Qasim, a fearful blow in the mouth. Again, there was no outward show of regret, and this time his captain, Brearley, supported his tactics in bowling short.

The fast bowlers' union went into liquidation around the time that all sorts of other honourable institutions and codes were developing cracks, and Willis the tail-end batsman was as much in need of a helmet, when they came into vogue, as any opening batsman - in fact, more so. Yet he still managed to appropriate a whimsical record: most not outs in Test cricket. If he looked ungainly as he rattled in to bowl, he seemed even more of an oddity as he defied the bowling, with helmet perched on his thick mass of hair, left leg thrust down the pitch, and that curtain-rail probe with the bat - a cross-pitch slice which somehow made contact. He once hit Australian fast bowler Alan Hurst for 6 over cover point at Adelaide. But his finest hour with the bat was a 171-minute innings of 24 not out at The Oval in 1980, when he saw Willey to his century, shared in an extraordinary unbeaten tenth-wicket stand of 117 after England had been 92 for nine in their second innings, and held out against the sudden prospect of a West Indian victory.

Robert George Dylan Willis was awarded the MBE for services to cricket, an expression interpreted by the majority as standing for loyalty (he resisted the blandishments of World Series Cricket in 1977), patriotism (richly apparent in everything he did or said), and a displayed sense of propriety (as symbolised in his admonishment of Jackman, who had gestured to an outgoing batsman). Those tortured, pumping knees carried him in the end of 325 Test wickets, 128 of them in 35 Tests against Australia. At the time of his retirement both were records for England. That gratified the man who, as a boy, idolised Statham and dreamed, like millions before and since, of becoming one of the rare few to play cricket for his country. And yet, in the anticlimax of his withdrawal from big cricket, as illness shortened his last season and prevented him from taking on orchestrated final public bow, he privately spoke of never treading on a cricket field again. Such was his exhaustion and disenchantment.

If he was no outstanding tactical genius as captain, he could be an effective motivator. He particularly showed this quality as senior pro, chiefly in the dressing-room. But towards the end his feelings bordered on disgust at the conviction that some of England's cricketers accepted failure too readily. Nor was he able to close himself off against media comment. His finest hour was at Headingley in 1981, when his eight for 43 further stunned an Australian side already dazed by Botham's awesome 149 not out in England's follow-on innings. In the moment of supreme exhilaration Willis was less inclined to discuss the great victory with his national television interviewer than to lambast the press - not, mark you, the relevant section of it - for earlier derogatory comments. It was only much later that the full significance of his bowling feat sank in, so wound up had he been.

Over the years he resorted to hypnotherapy to relieve his inherent tension and improve his mental and physical tuning. This helps to explain the intensity of his approach: the glaring eyes, the tight lips, taut cheeks. It might even explain his oversight in the Test at Edgbaston in 1982 when he marched out, padded, helmeted and gloved, but without his bat.

He was not always quite a universal favourite at Edgbaston. Many Warwickshire supporters were resentful because he seemed to be giving more to his country than his county. But this is less of an indictment when one reflects that after John Snow's decline (he and Willis played in no more than five Test matches together) there was no English bowler for years, in the whole of the country, who came close to Willis for speed. He was the pronounced cutting edge - between bouts of reblading in the skilled hands of knee surgeons.

When, as almost an unknown, he was flown to Australia in 1970 as a replacement for Alan Ward, he was on Surrey's books. When a county cap to place alongside his England cap (never actually worn into action, incidentally) was not forthcoming, he took himself off to Warwickshire. Having helped Surrey to win the 1971 County Championship, he underlined his value to his new county without delay, taking 25 wickets in his nine Championship matches after seeing out a half-season ban for the abruptness of his move. He rounded off Warwickshire's own Championship triumph in 1972 with eight for 44 against Derbyshire in the last match, securing the first of his two first-class hat-tricks. In the twelve seasons since then, some of them curtailed by injury and most by absences on England duty, Willis took 285 Championship wickets for his county at an average of 25.51. Clearly, with 325 Test wickets at 25.20 he takes his place in the Hall of Fame as an England bowler of immense stature, but with relatively scant county achievement to go with it. Had he stayed on for longer spells for his county, though, he almost certainly would have faded several years ago.

There was something tantalising about seeing Willis and Snow in tandem for Warwickshire when the Sussex bowler, then 38, was induced to come out of retirement in 1980 and helped his new county to win the John Player League. How different might the shape of England's Test cricket have been with those two operating with the new ball throughout the 1970s? Now both are gone, Willis with his marathon run-up and too tightly contained emotions, his bent for the zany monologue and his flat, resounding laughter. The stage is empty, and all England awaits another courageous man of speed. Preferably a pair.

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Post by guildfordbat on Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:50 am

Corporalhumblebucket wrote:

I suspect that ultimately what the debate on Hendren will indeed boil down to is what weight contributors to give the wider first class game outside test cricket (bearing in mind, in historical terms, the enormously greater importance and popularity of the wider first game in former times).

As touched on earlier by Dummy and commented upon by the Corporal in the extract above, I believe it is accurate and appropriate to emphasise ''in historical terms, the enormously greater importance and popularity of the wider first [class] game in former times''.

Whilst I don't quite go back to Hendren's era, I remember up until the late 1960s nearly all industrial workers in my home town of Coventry having the same set two week summer holiday period when all production would stop - known as ''Coventry Holiday Fortnight''. Many thousands of these workers would attend the Warks CC game held at the Coventry outground, a fixture arranged to coincide with this holiday period.

Attending and watching a CC match was something to be anticipated and savoured. In an age of less variety, it was also a subject of regular conversation at school and work whilst being covered far more on the news and in the press. I would draw a modern day analogy with football; the Premier League of today has some similarities (certainly in terms of popularity and perceived importance) to Championship Cricket pre circa 1970. Just as Rooney or Gerrard wouldn't be judged now without considerable reference to their domestic record alongside their international appearances, the same criteria should apply to Hendren.

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Post by guildfordbat on Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:20 pm

Fred Titmus

I'm going to try and show in this post - a suitable career not to exclude HoF membership; illustrations of impact together with sustained excellence; extraordinary career length; opportunities presented and taken; adversity faced and overcome; the assessment of him from others in the game and his continuing legacy.

In the words of cricket writer John Thicknesse, ''Fred Titmus, one of cricket's great survivors, was a St Pancras-born Cockney who walked like Charlie Chaplin and wisecracked like Groucho Marx.''

Whilst the references to Chaplin and Marx immediately catch the eye, the key bit there for me is ''one of cricket's great survivors''. This is developed a little further by Thicknesse when he writes, ''Despite the rivalry of three other top-class spinners in Ray Illingworth, John Mortimore and David Allen, he won 53 Test caps over 19 years and played county cricket in five decades between 1949 and 1982.''

Titmus, in fact, had an extraordinarily long career in which he not only took several opportunities - some bizarrely presented - but also overcame challenges on and, in one instance, horrifically off the pitch. As John Woodcock wrote in The Times, ''his is a story of good doctoring, good luck and irrepressible spirit.''

For those who know little or nothing of him, Titmus was an off break bowler - said by many to be '' outstanding'' - and a more than capable batsman, particularly in his earlier years. He finished his first class career with 2,830 wickets and 21,588 runs. He is one of only five cricketers to have scored 20,000 runs and taken 2,500 wickets (W G Grace, Wilfred Rhodes,George Hirst and recent inductee Maurice Tate being the others).

He took more than a 100 wickets in a season sixteen times and on eight occasions performed the classic double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets.

As Stephen Chalke wrote in The Independent following Titmus' death in 2011, ''In some ways, he was an unlikely character to achive such success. As an off-spinner he had the advantage neither of great height nor of long spinning fingers. He was not, in fact, a great spinner of the ball. But he did have a shrewd cricketing brain, and he developed the great gifts of flight and drift, varying the point at which he released the ball and maintaining an accuracy that drove frustrated batsmen into error.'' In Tests, Titmus conceded an average of only 1.95 runs per over; of England bowlers, only four have had a better economy rate (including our old friend Maurice Tate).

The story of Titmus' career reads like a mixture of Boys Own comic and a History of the game itself. I can give it scant justice but will present a few highlights.

He made his Middlesex debut in 1949 at the age of sixteen. As a member of the groundstaff, he was meant to be selling scorecards for the first day of the Lords' Test. However, five Middlesex players were called up for the Test resulting in Middlesex being short of players for their game at Somerset starting the same day. Titmus was spotted batting with ferocity in the nets (he was annoyed at having had to wait so long for a bat) and was called up to make his county debut. He got little opportunity in that game but did manage to score 13 and put on 34 with Gubby Allen in a late wicket stand which helped Middlesex win the match and ultimately share the County Champonship that season.

As Shelsey touched on the other day, the range of players that Titmus played alongside during his career was remarkable. Gubby Allen made his fc debut in 1921. In Titmus' final match, he played alongside Norman Cowans who was still playing for Middlesex in 1994.

Titmus' second fc match in 1950 was not without incident - even before the start of play! In order to emphasise the continuing although archaic distinction between amateurs and professionals, an announcement was made over the loudspeaker ''Ladies and Gentlemen - a correction to your scorecard - for F J Titmus please read Titmus F J.'' Unlike many of his contemporaries, Titmus was not unduly concerned by the distinction of player type. As he said in his autobiography, he took ''great pride in being a professional cricketer''.

His form for Middlesex led to him being capped by England in 1955 at the age of twenty-two against the touring South Africans. He was probably too young and having taken just one wicket in two Tests was quickly discarded. Understandably the selectors continued to rely on Jim Laker but even when his England career ended in 1959 they chose to look elsewhere. Titmus' form in 1962 - 136 wickets and 1,238 runs - saw him made a Wisden Cricketer of the Year and recalled to the Test side.

He went to Australia for the 1962-63 Ashes series and played in all five Tests taking more wickets than any other England bowler (21 at 29.33), including a Test career best 7 for 79 in the Third Test and 5 for 103 in the Fifth, both at Sydney. As David Frith wrote, ''these figures might have been even better, but for the fact that it was close to impossible to squeeze an lbw decision from the local umpires''. For good measure, Titmus scored 59 not out in the Fourth Test at Adelaide.

He continued to contribute significantly with ball and bat, and made his highest Test score, 84 not out, in the Bombay Test a year later. Frith wrote, ''He toiled manfully that demanding tour of India, when all five Tests were drawn, bowling just on 400 overs, 156 maidens and taking 27 wickets at 27.67. It was possibly his finest effort for his country.''

In the 1964 Ashes series, Titmus was elevated to partner Geoff Boycott as opener in the Yorkshireman's maiden Test, John Edrich having injured himself treading on a cricket ball just before the start and having to drop out. Although Titmus' Test batting average is only 22.29, I believe his value as a batsman was considerably greater than that. He scored 10 Test half-centuries and six of those were against Australia. Frith again - ''So many of his 1,449 [Test] runs came when they were urgently needed.'' In his fc career, he scored a surprisingly impressive 105 fifties and 6 hundreds.

Back to his Test match bowling. In the winter of '64-'65 his 5 for 66 clinched England's victory over South Africa at Durban in the opening Test and ultimately the series as the rest were drawn.

Against New Zealand at Headingley in 1965, he produced one of the most devastating overs ever in the history of Test cricket - certainly statistically - as he wiped out the Kiwi late middle order and tail with ball by ball figures of: W-0-W-W-0-W. An extremely rare quadruple Test match wicket maiden.

Titmus' England career continued until the tour of West Indies in 1967-68 where he was vice-captain to Colin Cowdrey. Following the second Test, several of the England players including Titmus were swimming in the sea off a beach in Barbados. Titmus and a few others came to rest on the side of a motor launch being controlled by Cowdrey's wife, Penny, and with its engine just gently idling. The launch was of an unusual design with its propellors under the middle of the boat. Titmus' foot became entangled and four toes were lost.

Although Penny Cowdrey was in no way at fault (emphasised in case any Cowdrey family lawyers are watching in), her husband was desperate to keep her name out of any publicity. Her involvement only became known years later. As Titmus said, ''England captain's wife chops off deputy's toes would have made a better headline!''

Due to the brilliant work of a Canadian surgeon who happened to be working in a near by hospital (and had considerable experience of dealing with ice hockey injuries) plus the fact that Titmus' big toe survived, his career was not lost as feared. Upon his return to England, Titmus went to a local ballet school - unheard of at the time for any sportsman whatever the circumstances - to relearn the art of balance. With his determination, it worked. Titmus had vowed at the hospital to stop feeling sorry for himself and return to cricket when an elderly woman patient said to him from her chair, ''You must be the young man who lost his toes - such a shame.'' It took a few moments for Titmus to realise that this lady who seemed concerned for no one but him had no legs.

Titmus returned to the Middlesex side and again took 100 wickets in the summer of '68. His England place had now gone and seemed gone for ever.
However, as with so much to do with Titmus, that was not to be the case. He was recalled at the age of 42 for his third tour of Australia for the Ashes series of 1974-75. He was even older than Cowdrey who was called up for that tour as a replacement and continues to get publicity (a lot from me) for it.

Having made reference to ''terror bowlers'' Lillee and Thomson, David Frith wrote, ''It was a savage experience all round for England, but Titmus, appearing in the second Test at Perth, valiantly top-scored with 61 in England's second innings, having bowled long spells as of old. Australia won four of the five Tests, while Titmus just about held his own. It seemed that a golden opportunity was denied him at Adelaide, in what was to prove his final Test, when he was underused on a pitch made lively by seeping rainwater.''

That tour finally brought the curtain down on Titmus' Test career and 153 wickets at 32.22. Figures which in my view show respect but not full value of his worth as a cricketer let alone a man.

He continued to play regularly for Middlesex until the late 1970s, including in '76 when they won the County Championship for the first time since his debut season of 1949. He was appointed MBE in 1977.

I have already told the story of how he was persuaded to play one final game for Middlesex at Lords' - the oldest person to do so - in 1982 having entered the dressing room to merely wish his old mates well and ''cadge a cup of coffee''. Mike Brearley - whose father Horace had played his final game for Middlesex in Titmus' debut of 1949 - talked the off break bowler into playing and on a spinner's wicket he took 3 Surrey wickets in the second innings as Middlesex won a low scoring match and went on to win another Championship.

Post playing, Titmus had an unhappy spell as an England selector - referring to it as ''a rat race''. In 1998 he was appointed by the ICC to investigate the phenomenon of ''chucking''. He was later credited (and this will do me no good at with msp - where is KP-Fan the only time I need him? Wink ) with ''straightening out'' the action of Indian bowler Harbhajan Singh.

A lot of his time continued to be spent at Lords', formally and informally coaching and offering advice. He also ran with his wife a post office cum newsagents. He would sometimes deliver the papers himself. Once he was knocked off his bike by a post office van, and writhing in mock agony, ripped off his shoe and sock. Pointing to his disfigured foot, he shouted at the ashen-faced driver: ''Look what you've done!''.

A remarkable story (and that is only some of it) of a remarkable man. I think we all need to consider who and what we want in our Hall of Fame. If stats alone, there is probably no place for Fred Titmus. For me, the stats are almost incidental. The man is everything.

I will post a little later the views of some of his contemporaries.


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Post by Shelsey93 on Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:46 pm

guildfordbat wrote:
A remarkable story (and that is only some of it) of a remarkable man.

I quite agree that he was a remarkable man. Whether that makes him HoF-worth is another question entirely, but one which is currently almost incidental to a reflection on his career.

Following his death in 2011, his obituary was included in Wisden 2012.

We are told that he claimed 100 wickets a season 16 times, and achieved the 1000 run/ 100 wkt double eight times.

We are also told, which I don't think guildford mentioned that, like Tate he started his career bowling differently to how he achieved most of his success - 'He began as a seam bowler'.

Additionally, reference is made to Titmus having his very own delivery: a swinger, 'bowled from the index finger that began outside leg stump before moving back to trap scores of unsuspecting batsmen in front'.


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Post by guildfordbat on Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:11 am

Shelsey93 wrote:
guildfordbat wrote:
A remarkable story (and that is only some of it) of a remarkable man.

I quite agree that he was a remarkable man. Whether that makes him HoF-worth is another question entirely, but one which is currently almost incidental to a reflection on his career.

Following his death in 2011, his obituary was included in Wisden 2012.

We are told that he claimed 100 wickets a season 16 times, and achieved the 1000 run/ 100 wkt double eight times.

We are also told, which I don't think guildford mentioned that, like Tate he started his career bowling differently to how he achieved most of his success - 'He began as a seam bowler'.

Additionally, reference is made to Titmus having his very own delivery: a swinger, 'bowled from the index finger that began outside leg stump before moving back to trap scores of unsuspecting batsmen in front'.


Thanks, Shelsey. As I say, the remarkableness (that's a word, isn't it, Corporal? Smile ) of Titmus being HoF worthy or not is for each poster to determine as they consider him and, I would hope, what they want the HoF to be.

Yes, he certainly took a 100 wickets 16 times and achieved the double 8 times. That leaves Graeme Swann (who has been likened to Titmus) with a bit of catching up to do.

I was aware that he bowled medium pace in his very early days but didn't mention it as I was unsure whether he was still doing that when his fc career began (in contrast to Tate who didn't switch until he was 27).

Your reference to Titmus ''having his very own delivery'' is informative and appreciated. I'm sure that'll be of particular interest to the technicians here. That seems to tie in with Titmus winning a lot of lbw appeals (although only in England!) and novice opposition batsmen being advised, ''Don't sweep Fred!''.

For me though, the most impressive tribute as to his bowling are the simple words of Stephen Chalke - ''he did have a shrewd cricketing brain''.

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Post by Biltong on Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:47 am

Thanks, Shelsey. As I say, the remarkableness (that's a word, isn't it, Corporal? ) of Titmus being HoF worthy or not is for each poster to determine as they consider him and, I would hope, what they want the HoF to be.

The importanance Whistle is what should the Hall of fame be.

I suggested a while back that there should be categories under which players make the hall of fame.

1. Due to record of excellence
2. Impact on the game.

As an example I voted no for Jonty, were there stipulated categories for Impact or importance I would have voted yes.
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Post by guildfordbat on Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:59 am

Fred Titmus: The Views of Others including His Legacy

''He was a great artist of spin bowling. He knew the subtleties of being a spinner. Even in his latter years he still had batsmen in knots.'' - Mike Gatting. A view re-eforced below:

''I played against him in county cricket and umpired when he was playing for Middlesex and England. I found him very difficult to get away, his line and length was immaculate - and he stilll had it at 50.'' - Dickie Bird.

''He made three tours of Australia, and justified his selection each time.'' - cricket writer John Thicknesse.

Referring to Titmus' role in the 1962-63 Ashes series, ''the most important member of the team.'' - cricket writer E M Wellings.

On how Titmus built and developed his game, ''the most successful self-made player since the war.'' - Fred Trueman.

On Titmus' contribution to Middlesex throughout the 1970s, ''He was our key bowler.'' - Mike Brearley.

As an off break bowler, ''he was a master craftsman of his time.'' - Jim Laker in 1983 paying tribute to Titmus upon his eventual playing retirement.

On the man as a whole, ''He was gutsy, determined and brave.'' - Brearley again.

''Fred Titmus was my mentor, advisor and coach. Conversation with him - and there were many - was a masters-level cricketing education, his great skill in simplifying things coupled with an ability to plant ideas so cleverly that you believed they were yours in the first place. ''- Mike Selvey, former England and Middlesex seamer.

''Arguably the greatest ever Middlesex player.'' - Angus Fraser.

Fraser claimed it was not just Titmus' personal feats which made him a great but the influence he had on the careers of others, an attitude passed down to subsequent generations:-
''Fred had a huge impact on John Emburey in that they were both miserly cricketers who hated conceding runs. John in turn influenced my career in that way and it's now an attitude we are trying pass on to the likes of Stven Finn.''

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Post by Hoggy_Bear on Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:29 am

Guildford you old so and so. Very Happy
ThereI was, ready to say no to Freddie and then you go and bring up all this persuasive testimony about him.
At first I didn't think that Titmus would quite have significant enough 'extras' (IMO) to meet my criteria for a yes vote, given his career at the top level, which can be described as good but not great. However, now you've got me pondering whether that is actually the case.

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Post by Stella on Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:31 am

I've never really liked opinions of fellow pro's. Not saying they are but they could have been good friends of Fred and are hardly going to shed him in bad light.
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Post by Hoggy_Bear on Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:41 am

Did wonder about that myself Stella. It is significant that most of the testimony Guildford has posted comes from ex teamates, but still, the positive testimony of peers must add to his case, surely?

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Post by Stella on Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:47 am

Hoggy_Bear wrote:Did wonder about that myself Stella. It is significant that most of the testimony Guildford has posted comes from ex teamates, but still, the positive testimony of peers must add to his case, surely?

Well, it's not a negative that's for sure. Don't think they would lie but maybe lay it on a bit thick Very Happy
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Post by guildfordbat on Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:52 am

Stella wrote:I've never really liked opinions of fellow pro's. Not saying they are but they could have been good friends of Fred and are hardly going to shed him in bad light.

Stella - I understand that and take the point, to at least some extent.

I felt I had to put several comments in from the Middlesex side as so much of his career (and life) was spent at Lords. The Middlesex legacy as expounded by Fraser is also very important (imo). Whilst the Middlesex guys I've quoted clearly liked Titmus, I believe there's a lot more to their words than that - especially in Selvey's tribute which I find very relevant and moving even though it was made a year before Titmus died.

I also tried to balance things up by quoting independent writers and those who knew him, I believe, as a playing opponent rather than as a close friend. Whilst Dickie Bird would probably struggle to say a bad word about anyone, I don't consider the same applies to Fred Trueman - that's why I was so keen to quote him. Laker - also quoted - was mainly a county opponent and a rival for an England place.

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Post by Stella on Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:56 am

Missed Trueman's quote. Must admit, I saw the names Gatting, Fraser and Brearley and thought it was the old pals act.

Yes, Fiery Fred shot from the lip. "I say what I like and I like what I blo.ody well say"
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Post by guildfordbat on Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:59 am

Hoggy_Bear wrote:Did wonder about that myself Stella. It is significant that most of the testimony Guildford has posted comes from ex teamates, but still, the positive testimony of peers must add to his case, surely?

John Emburey is quoted in one article as referring to Fred Titmus as ''cricketing royalty''. I actually chose to leave that out as I felt it was getting too close to a Middlesex lovefest.

Whilst some of the comments like Emburey's may be over the top, I think there must be a good reason why they are. It is not just because a friend or colleague has died (although some of the tributes given were when Titmus was still living) but because of the impact he had whilst living. That last bit is what matters.

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Post by guildfordbat on Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:00 am

Hoggy_Bear wrote:Guildford you old so and so. Very Happy
ThereI was, ready to say no to Freddie and then you go and bring up all this persuasive testimony about him.
At first I didn't think that Titmus would quite have significant enough 'extras' (IMO) to meet my criteria for a yes vote, given his career at the top level, which can be described as good but not great. However, now you've got me pondering whether that is actually the case.

Thanks, Hoggy. I feel I've gone some way to doing him justice and am pleased about that at least. thumbsup

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Post by msp83 on Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:03 am

Guildford, that is a strong case and you have got me thinking. "gutsy, determined and brave", seems like an apt discription of the man. I have to think whether that is enough to look pass the average international record to place him in the HoF.

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Post by Stella on Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:04 am

My cynicism comes from this quote from Matthew Hayden about Tendulkar.

"There is a God and he bats at four, for India"

As I said to Hoggy, those quotes don't do him a disservice, it's just I find them hard to take seriously at times (see above).
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Post by guildfordbat on Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:19 am

Fred Titmus: A Further 'Extra' for Hoggy

Hoggy - as you've been so kind, a further 'extra' especially for you although I don't mind you sharing it with others. Very Happy

After Titmus' injury in the West Indies, an insurance claim for bodily injury was lodged based upon the MCC's policy covering all players in the event of accidents overseas. Whilst premiums had continued to be paid to keep the policy in force, it was soon discovered that the levels of cover had not been updated for many years and were woefully inadequate. This led to a thorough review and updating of all MCC insurances.

As for Titmus, he received compensation from the MCC's insurers of £98. In his words, ''that did not exactly measure up to my loss ... £25 a toe did not seem exactly generous.'' Wink

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Post by guildfordbat on Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:26 am

Stella wrote:My cynicism comes from this quote from Matthew Hayden about Tendulkar.

"There is a God and he bats at four, for India"

As I said to Hoggy, those quotes don't do him a disservice, it's just I find them hard to take seriously at times (see above).

Stella - yes, the comment is crass.

As I was saying - and assuming we accept Hayden is not a fool - the important thing is not the awful choice of words but the very special thing that caused them to be said.

The danger with this sort of tribute from Hayden is that the person making it just gets mocked and the person about whom it was made (if not already well known) gets ignored.

I like to think I've provided enough substance to justify the plaudits for Titmus from others (however gushing) but that is for you and other posters to determine.

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Post by dummy_half on Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:30 am

GB

Thank you for the stories on Titmus - clearly he was a good to very good international player and an excellent club man for Middlesex. Indeed, the term that springs to mind from the various testimonials is 'old-fashioned senior pro' - the guy the younger players look up to for guidance and a role he seems to have enjoyed.

Now, whether this on its own (including the absurd longevity of his career) is sufficient to warrant HoF status I am still to be persuaded. Adding in that as the England vice captain he was maimed by the wife of the captain does give a certain amount of black humour to his story.

Can't be many players with a worse conversion rate of 50s to 100s amongst those who have scored a first class century - 105 50s and only 6 tons...

My current thoughts are that Titmus considered in isolation doesn't have quite enough about him for the HoF, but as an example of a certain type of player (as I said, the traditional Senior Pro), he is an excellent example of the breed and as such may merit a positive vote as a representative of the type..

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Post by Stella on Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:32 am

guildfordbat wrote:
Stella wrote:My cynicism comes from this quote from Matthew Hayden about Tendulkar.

"There is a God and he bats at four, for India"

As I said to Hoggy, those quotes don't do him a disservice, it's just I find them hard to take seriously at times (see above).

Stella - yes, the comment is crass.

As I was saying - and assuming we accept Hayden is not a fool - the important thing is not the awful choice of words but the very special thing that caused them to be said.

The danger with this sort of tribute from Hayden is that the person making it just gets mocked and the person about whom it was made (if not already well known) gets ignored.

I like to think I've provided enough substance to justify the plaudits for Titmus from others (however gushing) but that is for you and other posters to determine.

thumbsup

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Post by guildfordbat on Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:59 am

dummy_half wrote:GB

Can't be many players with a worse conversion rate of 50s to 100s amongst those who have scored a first class century - 105 50s and only 6 tons...
.

Dummy - that seems fair comment. In some mitigation (although I can't claim to have done much research into his batting), the perception I have is that it was seen at its best (certainly most valuable) when mounting a backs to the wall rearguard defensive position and recovery, normally from number eight in the order. That would not allow too much opportunity for centuries to be scored.

I know it is in danger of becoming a cliche on this thread but I do believe he batted best when it was most needed, certainly for England. The only Test side he didn't score a fifty against was New Zealand; sorry Pete, but he didn't really need to as those higher up the order continued to pile on the runs. He did though score half-tons once against each of West Indies, South Africa, Pakistan and India plus a mightily impressive six fifties against Australia (five of those 'down under').

He was also considered reliable enough to open the batting for England on three occasions as a result of injury to others (some reports say six occasions but I believe that is wrong).

I don't expect anyone to do cartwheels for Titmus as a result of this assessment of his batting alone but I do feel it re-enforces my own view of his determination and teamwork, themes hopefully running through my main post.


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Post by Hoggy_Bear on Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:09 am

Anyway, I'll get back to Willis:

Some comments from Dennis Lille on picking Willis in his Top 10 best fast-bowlers in his book 'Lillee:Over and Out', in 1983:


"When Bob Willis was in Australia in Mike Brearley's hapless England team in 1979-80 he looked like a late blooming flower. Everything about him looked long and droopy. Bob toiled away under the hot Australian sun for very little reward. He took only three wickets for 224 at a miserable average of 74.66.

Next time Willis was out here he was England's captain. The long hair had disappeared, and even though his team were thrashed and he again had a mediocre season, he showed no sign of wilting. Indeed, Bob has gone on and on as England's no. 1 strike bowler.

Willis works with great diligence and has certainly learned the real meaning of the word "endurance". He made several comebacks on a pair of very wobbly knees and I can't recall many more dedicated fast bowlers in my generation.

I think Willis is a bloody fine bowler too. He is very gangly and his unusual action (which for a long time reminded me of a chook running in to bowl) is hardly classical Willis is about as awkward as Holding is fluent, but he must be viewed from an effectiveness viewpoint. There the man shines.

Willis always seemed to be the man England relied on to get the breakthroughs. So often where we had the Englishmen under the hammer, It was Willis who came along with a pocket of tricks to bail them out of trouble. He was a worker, a most willing, tireless worker. In terms of pace, I don't think Willis ever approached the likes of Roberts, Holding, Thomson and Imran, but he was very accurate. He had a fair bouncer and a reasonable yorker and while he wasn't a great in-swinger of the ball, his overall consistency gets him into my top 10."

And on the Willis Botham combo, from Javed Miandad:

"Botham and Willis stood out from the rest. Their great strength was that they could bowl anywhere in the world, under any conditions. Other English bowlers like Old. Arnold. Hendrick and Peter Lever needed English conditions to be effective."

And on Willis from the other half of that combo:

"A tremendous trier. You could throw the ball to him at any time in a match, regardless of the circumstances or how old the ball might be and his response would always be the same - let me at 'em. Shrugged off countless injuries to get out there in the field and at his peak was as quick as anyone I've faced. A great team man and an inspiration."

And from David Gower:

"Curioiusly, I have rarely faced Bob Willis in county cricket, a measure of the demands made by international fixtures in the last decade. The first hand information I can offer is that of watching Bob bowl those countless overs for England and on those occasions, almost without exception, his performance would have to be described as superb.

He will always be very intense on the field. When he is trying hard and the whole team are trying hard with him, he can not bear to see the initiative slip away. In one of his overs he will come tearing in, ball after ball, expending every ounce of effort and if he doesn't get a breakthrough or if a chance is missed ,he will stalk away with that tight expression on his face, eyes blazing. People tend to be put off with that kind of intensity and it is necessary to know him to appreciate him."

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Post by guildfordbat on Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:16 am

dummy_half wrote:

My current thoughts are that Titmus considered in isolation doesn't have quite enough about him for the HoF, but as an example of a certain type of player (as I said, the traditional Senior Pro), he is an excellent example of the breed and as such may merit a positive vote as a representative of the type..

Dummy - I meant to add before that I understand where you are coming from with the above comment although I believe he was more unique than that.

Anyway, as you give him that label (and, I'm sure, it is one Titmus would have liked given the pride he took in being a professional [story re public address announcement in 1950 refers]), I do think you will struggle to think of anyone better to fit it ....

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Post by dummy_half on Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:52 am

gb
Yes, I noticed the comments about his pride in being a professional cricketer - an interesting comment given that there was still a marked distinction between the Gentlemen and the Players and that it would be another couple of years before Len Hutton became England's first professional captain. It does though suggest someone who even at an early age appreciated the opportunity to make a living playing sports he loved. I wonder if his brief spell in professional football influenced his thinking in this regard?

My issue with considering Titmus is that although his long career allowed him to reach some impressive aggregate milestones (one of only 4 players to reach 20000 runs and 2500 wickets in FC cricket, and the only one to do so after WW2), there is a lack of stellar achievement even at county level - compared with players from the pre ww2 era like Woolley, his bowling average was markedly poorer and he was nowhere near as good a batsman. So from a playing perspective, I can't see anything that really supports a HoF nomination.

One absurdity (in the nicest possible way) - he must be the only player to have played a first class match with a member of the Bodyline team to also have played a one day international...

Certainly a remarkable man and by all accounts a great character, but is there really enough there to set him apart from a host of other quality professional players?


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Post by guildfordbat on Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:53 am

Hoggy - good support in particular, I thought, from Lillee and Miandad. Especially the latter's comment about Willis being able to bowl anywhere in the world unlike so many of his contemporaries. As overseas Tests were not televised in this country during his era, such matters were not so readily apparent at that time.

Parts of the testimonies from Botham and Gower along the the lines of ''tries hard'' do read a bit like those old school reports sometimes mentioned by the Corporal .... Very Happy

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Post by ShahenshahG on Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:33 am

Miandad was a Bar Steward when it came to opponents - he was fiercely competitive - so for him to say something positive about Willis is quite a recommendation. Miandad himself was a scrapper so perhaps he recognised it in willis and admired him for it. I think that while he was generally uninspiring to the public - he must have been very inspiring to his team mates who would have seen his day to day struggles with injury and pain. I think we can take his peers comments on him as

Perhaps we ought to find room for someone willing to take the sh it end of the stick and grind until they make something happen. Most of the players the HOF takes are gifted in some way - Willis it seems had sparse resources but forged out a solid career on his own.


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Post by guildfordbat on Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:43 am

dummy_half wrote:gb
Yes, I noticed the comments about his pride in being a professional cricketer - an interesting comment given that there was still a marked distinction between the Gentlemen and the Players and that it would be another couple of years before Len Hutton became England's first professional captain. It does though suggest someone who even at an early age appreciated the opportunity to make a living playing sports he loved. I wonder if his brief spell in professional football influenced his thinking in this regard?

My issue with considering Titmus is that although his long career allowed him to reach some impressive aggregate milestones (one of only 4 players to reach 20000 runs and 2500 wickets in FC cricket, and the only one to do so after WW2), there is a lack of stellar achievement even at county level - compared with players from the pre ww2 era like Woolley, his bowling average was markedly poorer and he was nowhere near as good a batsman. So from a playing perspective, I can't see anything that really supports a HoF nomination.

One absurdity (in the nicest possible way) - he must be the only player to have played a first class match with a member of the Bodyline team to also have played a one day international...

Certainly a remarkable man and by all accounts a great character, but is there really enough there to set him apart from a host of other quality professional players?

Dummy - yes, Titmus loved his life as a professional sportsman describing it as ''absolute bliss''.

With regard to his county achievements, I would emphasise his taking 100 wickets in sixteen seasons and doing the double on eight occasions. He contributed significantly to Middlesex winning the County Championship in 1976 and made useful cameos in other seasons at the start and end of his career. Also right in my view to flag that he played in five decades - from the 1940s to the 1980s; I feel it would be more appropriate to compare Titmus with players from these eras than pre WWII players. I certainly can't think of anyone with whom he would suffer in comparison.

Bizarre, as you say, that he played ODIs - two in New Zealand (although one was rain ruined) - as well as playing alongside Gubby Allen of the Bodylie tour. Another link with cricketing history.

HoF worthy? As I suggested earlier, I believe it depends what we want the HoF to represent. Someone so remarkable is a suitable fit for me although I understand others may have different criteria. I'm pleased to have made the case. Now for others.

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Post by msp83 on Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:58 am

Willis' bouncing back from a career threatening knee injury and withstanding the constant pain and discomfort for well over 14 years, and then forging a fine career at the highest level with a pretty good record is something that has to be given due credit. I am getting ever so closer for a positive vote on him. I have absolutely no issue with his character, I don't think every human being has to become the most affable self, so long as his integrity to the game is on track and if there are no obvious issues I am fine. And believe me, I have heard far worse cricket commentary!.

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Post by Hoggy_Bear on Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:10 am

msp83 wrote:Willis' bouncing back from a career threatening knee injury and withstanding the constant pain and discomfort for well over 14 years, and then forging a fine career at the highest level with a pretty good record is something that has to be given due credit. I am getting ever so closer for a positive vote on him. I have absolutely no issue with his character, I don't think every human being has to become the most affable self, so long as his integrity to the game is on track and if there are no obvious issues I am fine. And believe me, I have heard far worse cricket commentary!.

And, not only did he overcome injury he was also, from everything I've read, and from what I remember of him, one of those players that you would want 'in the trenches' with you. Someone who never gave up, and always gave his all when asked.
As for his commentary, I actually quite like his grumpy old man routine, although it's prbably better suited to punditry than commentating.

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Post by Shelsey93 on Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:53 am

Hoggy_Bear wrote:
As for his commentary, I actually quite like his grumpy old man routine, although it's prbably better suited to punditry than commentating.

My thoughts exactly. He's not always right, but he's usually good value. It disappoints me how just about every week county players tell The Cricket Paper that Bob is their least favourite commentator...

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Post by Corporalhumblebucket on Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:52 am

guildfordbat wrote:
Corporalhumblebucket wrote:

I suspect that ultimately what the debate on Hendren will indeed boil down to is what weight contributors to give the wider first class game outside test cricket (bearing in mind, in historical terms, the enormously greater importance and popularity of the wider first game in former times).

As touched on earlier by Dummy and commented upon by the Corporal in the extract above, I believe it is accurate and appropriate to emphasise ''in historical terms, the enormously greater importance and popularity of the wider first [class] game in former times''.

Whilst I don't quite go back to Hendren's era, I remember up until the late 1960s nearly all industrial workers in my home town of Coventry having the same set two week summer holiday period when all production would stop - known as ''Coventry Holiday Fortnight''. Many thousands of these workers would attend the Warks CC game held at the Coventry outground, a fixture arranged to coincide with this holiday period.

Attending and watching a CC match was something to be anticipated and savoured. In an age of less variety, it was also a subject of regular conversation at school and work whilst being covered far more on the news and in the press. I would draw a modern day analogy with football; the Premier League of today has some similarities (certainly in terms of popularity and perceived importance) to Championship Cricket pre circa 1970. Just as Rooney or Gerrard wouldn't be judged now without considerable reference to their domestic record alongside their international appearances, the same criteria should apply to Hendren.

You can get a bit of a sense of the impact Hendren had (as well as the scale of interest in the county game) from this quote about him:

"In his last game at Lord’s in 1937, aged 48, he knocked up 103 against Surrey and the 17,000 crowd stopped play for five minutes to sing For he’s a jolly good fellow." Players of the character and achievement of the likes of Hendren (40,000 of his first class runs were scored for Middlesex) had a massive popularity and impact on the public.

Fascinating discussion about Titmus. To me it feels a bit like different territory than HoF - almost more appropriate to have a discussion on who are, say, the ten greatest characters of the game.

Incidentally Guildford, thanks for reminder of D H Robins. I had long since forgotten him. When he ran his cricket teams and the scores appeared in the newspapers I occasionally wondered how on earth he fitted into the cricketing system.

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Post by Mad for Chelsea on Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:04 am

evening all, I'm being swayed on Hendren I must say. The key point for me is that in the era he played in the County Championship was so much more important than it is now (rightly or wrongly), and his FC record is second to none (well, second to Jack Hobbs if you want to be pedantic, but don't think we can hold that against him Very Happy).

Also must be noted his Test record is far from poor, I was interested to learn that he was third in the England averages between wars (for those who'd scored 500 runs) - thanks to whoever brought that up.

On Titmus, while I appreciate the case guildford is making, I'm not really convinced it all adds up to enough to make him HoF worthy. Sorry

On Willis, again someone I appreciate very much, but at the moment I think his achievements are a little short of what we expect from HoF members. I must say I'm not a fan of his commentary at all, but each to his own I guess, and he's better than Harsha Bogle...

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Post by Shelsey93 on Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:11 am

Just as a warning before Mike complains Very Happy

Will try and do a mostly statistical comparison of Hobbs, Hendren and Woolley tomorrow and try to work out where he fits in.

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Post by guildfordbat on Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:21 am

Corporalhumblebucket wrote:

You can get a bit of a sense of the impact Hendren had (as well as the scale of interest in the county game) from this quote about him:

"In his last game at Lord’s in 1937, aged 48, he knocked up 103 against Surrey and the 17,000 crowd stopped play for five minutes to sing For he’s a jolly good fellow." Players of the character and achievement of the likes of Hendren (40,000 of his first class runs were scored for Middlesex) had a massive popularity and impact on the public.

Fascinating discussion about Titmus. To me it feels a bit like different territory than HoF - almost more appropriate to have a discussion on who are, say, the ten greatest characters of the game.

Incidentally Guildford, thanks for reminder of D H Robins. I had long since forgotten him. When he ran his cricket teams and the scores appeared in the newspapers I occasionally wondered how on earth he fitted into the cricketing system.

Evening Corporal - that scale of interest in the county game had clearly gone by the time we were following it in the 1960s but there were still a few reminders left (as I was alluding to in my earlier post).

I feel sure interest has fallen far more in the 40 odd years since 1970 than it did it in the 40 years following 1930. It must be near on impossible for those under 40 to form an idea of what the County Championship meant in those earlier times.

Thanks for your feedback on Titmus. I welcome the greatest characters of the game in the HoF and believe that is a natural habitat for them. You don't have to comment. Smile

I always had the impression that Robins did a lot of good (certainly financially) for Coventry City as their Chairman but it was not a good idea for anyone to disagree with him.

PS Seen the wallpaper site tonght? Shocked

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Post by Corporalhumblebucket on Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:33 am

Shelsey - thanks. And I agree that a comparison between those three players is particularly relevant. From looking into the subject for my initial post on Hendren I reached the view that their respective positions in the cricketing firmament had the potential to be quite neatly classified. Could be quite a good essay topic for the v2 A level/degree on the history of cricket: compare and contrast the relative claims of Hobbs, Hendren and Woolley to cricketing greatness....

Guildford - yes indeed. Will post on Surrey thread to avoid deflecting attention from the merits of Hendren and Titmus! Wink

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Post by guildfordbat on Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:46 am

Mad for Chelsea wrote:evening all, I'm being swayed on Hendren I must say. The key point for me is that in the era he played in the County Championship was so much more important than it is now (rightly or wrongly), and his FC record is second to none (well, second to Jack Hobbs if you want to be pedantic, but don't think we can hold that against him Very Happy).

Also must be noted his Test record is far from poor, I was interested to learn that he was third in the England averages between wars (for those who'd scored 500 runs) - thanks to whoever brought that up.

On Titmus, while I appreciate the case guildford is making, I'm not really convinced it all adds up to enough to make him HoF worthy. Sorry

On Willis, again someone I appreciate very much, but at the moment I think his achievements are a little short of what we expect from HoF members. I must say I'm not a fan of his commentary at all, but each to his own I guess, and he's better than Harsha Bogle...

Mad - I strongly agree with your main reasoning about Hendren - the importance of the County Championship at the time - which is something the Corporal and I have been recently droning on about. Whilst the Corporal and I have largely spoken about its importance to followers of the game as demonstrated by massive crowds then, I think it's fair to say that it also meant a lot more to the leading players of that earlier era. That's not a dig at the modern player - just a recognition that a current England Test player probably plays only around one CC game each season. It would be hard for him to work up massive enthusiasm for a tournament in which he is hardly involved.

As for Titmus, you have sadly and rather shockingly overlooked his early football career. Before being contracted as a professional to Watford for a short time, he was a Chelsea junior! Very Happy

I'm inclined to agree with you about Willis but please don't tell Hoggy as I'm trying to keep him onside .... Wink

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Post by Hoggy_Bear on Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:13 am

guildfordbat wrote:I'm inclined to agree with you about Willis but please don't tell Hoggy as I'm trying to keep him onside .... Wink

Well, you've blown it now, haven't you Very Happy

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Post by guildfordbat on Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:19 am

Hoggy_Bear wrote:
guildfordbat wrote:I'm inclined to agree with you about Willis but please don't tell Hoggy as I'm trying to keep him onside .... Wink

Well, you've blown it now, haven't you Very Happy

Lets join together to pick on Thomson! Laugh

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Post by Hoggy_Bear on Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:27 am

Don't worry Guildford, I'm preparing to invoke the spirit of Brian Statham in support of 'Big' Bob to make you, and others (hopefully), change your tune. Wink

Until then, though, I with you on Thomson thumbsup

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Post by msp83 on Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:04 pm

While I can see the merit of the argument regarding the extra importance the county game had in earlier times as has been pointed out by guildford and the corporal, I have an issue or 2 about whether we overrate it. When it comes to early English FC cricket, besides the county matches, there were many other low intensity matches. During Hendren's playing days, as the discussions on Tate earlier broughtout, pitches were far more oriented towards batting, and other than Tate and Larwood quality pace bowling was not much to write home about. Hendren's rather average record against Australia during the days of the batsman is a significant issue for me, and as of now I remain convinced he was a pretty good player, but not quite the HoF stuff.

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Post by msp83 on Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:39 pm

Since Mike has a rather busy time of late, I think we should try and get the Woolmer debate off the ground and set the stage for Mike's case for him.
I understand the case for Woolmer has to be one based on his role as an innovative coach, just as well, his playing record both at test and FC level are pretty average, although I read he was pretty good facing up to short ball and was well regarded during the packer series.
Woolmer was a highly rated coach who was very successful with English county Warwickshire in the early 1990s with a dressing room that included players such as Brian Lara and Allan Donald. His success their led to him being appointed as South Africa's coach and South Africa remained a successful side under his mentorship and he formed a good combination with captain Cronje. After his role with SA was over, Woolmer was later appointed coach of Pakistan and there also he had a fair bit of success and again formed a good partnership with captain Inzamam Ul Hak.
Woolmer was a coach who engaged with modern technology for cricket analysis.
That is one half of my starting point with Woolmer. Despite all these nice attributes, I have a fair share of scepticism regarding his HoF credentials, and I shall try and make that clear during the course of the debate.

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Post by guildfordbat on Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:09 pm

Msp - in contrast to someone like Bakewell who was not nominated by anyone here but because of her belated admission to the ICC Hall of Fame, Woolmer has been expressly nominated by Mike together with the high-level reason for that nomination.

I believe we should wait for Mike to make that case and give aspects the emphasis he considers appropriate before we seek to bring too much to the table. A very provisional view is fine but we shouldn't try and knock down a particular argument that may never be built.

I found it immensely disappointing and discouraging that Titmus appeared to be being clearlly written off by some before I had even started writing.

Off to the London Salt Mines now. Back tonight.

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Post by msp83 on Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:02 pm

Agree with your sentiment above to some extend there guildford, but we have to have enough time for the debate for it to produce the desired outcome.

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