So where does Jimmy A rank?

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So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by Hoggy_Bear on Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:34 pm

In the annals of English cricket history,where does Jimmy Anderson, England's highest test wicket taker, rank as a bowler?
Personally, I think he's a very good, but not great, bowler. Certainly wouldn't put him up there with the likes of Barnes or Bedser or Trueman or Snow or Willis or Botham (at his best). Even if choosing solely from players I've seen (started watching seriously around the mid 1970s), I'm not sure that Anderson would make a 'best of' team. Willis, Botham and, possibly, Gough (and others) being ahead of him. Of course, I realise that conditions faced by Anderson have probably favoured batsmen more during Anderson's career than they did in the 80s and 90s, but even so I just don't see him as a 'great'. Am I being unfair?

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by kingraf on Sat Apr 18, 2015 11:29 pm

To be honest... I'm not too high on Jimmy. He had two, at a push three very good years, maybe one great one. The rest has been accumulative. Can't really comment on England and his place there - although I do feel when comparing eras, strike rate is a little more important than average, given the progression of the game. Anderson, I believe (and it's really only a hunch) must stand up to scrutiny on that charge? His standing as a modern cricketer though is interesting. If we looked at the best pace bowlers in the last fifteen-twenty years... you'd give Steyn and McGrath top spot. Pollock probably third. Then I think Johnson, Ntini, Lee and Anderson are fighting to round the top five. So English great, Modern great. But maybe Third tier all time. Whether that makes you an all time great, is dependent on ones benchmark. for me, no
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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by Hoggy_Bear on Sun Apr 19, 2015 12:17 am

kingraf wrote: Can't really comment on England and his place there - although I do feel when comparing eras, strike rate is a little more important than average, given the progression of the game.

In terms of strike rate, among English pace bowlers with 100+ wickets, Anderson ranks 9th. Behind Lohmann, Barnes, Trueman, Gough, Willis, Hoggard, Botham and Caddick. Just ahead of Dominic Cork and Stuart Broad. Among contemporary pace bowlers with 100+ wickets, he ranks 16th in terms of strike rate, and 15th in terms of average.

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by kingraf on Sun Apr 19, 2015 12:21 am

To be fair... I did say it was a hunch Very Happy

Nonetheless, the longevity lifts him above most of those names.
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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by Corporalhumblebucket on Sun Apr 19, 2015 12:28 am

Maybe Anderson will turn out to be somewhat like Courtney Walsh - a very good faster bowler, but arguably not a great, other than for his impressive longevity at international level. Walsh managed 519 wickets in 132 tests so Jimmy has a way to go to match that...

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by msp83 on Sun Apr 19, 2015 3:52 am

Walsh could bowl 140+ at the age of 38. And in the last 3 years of his career, he carried the West Indies attack all by himself. Of course Ambrose, his impressive opening partner was still around for most of it, but he wasn't the same force, and the support acts were nowhere near. Ambrose and Walsh formed one of the best bowling partnerships in the history of the game, without one, the other arguably wouldn't have become the bowlers they eventually became. And Walsh was an all condition bowler.
Walsh was no Marshall, he was no Holding, he was no Garner, he was no Ambrose. But he's a great deal more than a bowler who played test cricket for a very long time.......

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by msp83 on Sun Apr 19, 2015 3:58 am

As for Anderson, he's a very good bowler. Wouldn't make it to the list of alltime great seam bowlers in my book. As raf said, he has had a couple of outstanding years, the rest of it has been good to very good to sometimes average....... He can be lethal in swinging conditions. He was distinctly average away from that. However, to give him credit, he has added more to his skill set, and he has a good record in India, and had one good series in Australia.......

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by KP_fan on Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:55 am

He is a very good bowler.....
amongst the best Eng has produced I would guess...but perhaps not the greatest ever. I am not a historic follower but I guess Truman, Botham, Willis, Sid Barnes would stand up to that claim along with Anderson

and one of the best in his era.....but not the best at most times.

neverthless a monumental achivement clap
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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by Corporalhumblebucket on Sun Apr 19, 2015 7:09 am

Courtney Walsh certainly was a very fine bowler indeed. Whether he counts as a great really depends on how many players one is prepared to admit to that category.

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by msp83 on Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:56 pm

Courtney Walsh played more tests away from home, got 290 away test wickets at 25 and 229 test wickets at home over 23. His career average was under 25.
James Anderson has 134 test wickets at a very high average over 36. His 250 home wickets coming at over 26.
We can say anything about modern scheduling and correlate it to Anderson's performance levels, but then we should not forget that Courtney Walsh played more than 400 first class matches and took more than 1800 wickets!.
And Walsh was a fine gentleman cricketer who never thought an abusive motormouth has to be as important to bowling as swing/seam/pace is and that the ICC should legitimize the same.
Anderson is a good bowler and his longevity in test cricket is brilliant at a time when a lot is demanded of him by the team. He's a terrific bowler when the ball swings. But he really is not in the same league as Courtney Walsh who is a cut above him.

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by kingraf on Sun Apr 19, 2015 7:31 pm

Might have been a little kind to Jimmy when I said he compared favourably to Ntini and Co. After 100 Tests he's bowled nearly 2000 more deliveries than Ntini for six less wickets. So reanalysis of my bowlers in the last fifteen-twenty years.

1) McGrath-Steyn
3) Pollock
4) Lee
5) Ntini
6) Gillespie
7) Johnson or Anderson.

Think that's fair enough. Johnson hasn't been as consistent as Anderson, but he's revival has been greater than anything Anderson ever experienced. Then you get a guy like Asif, who I think was miles ahead of Jimmy, and everyone bar Steyn, really (and he eclipsed even him when the mood took) but he dabbled in the dark arts too well. A guy like Akhtar was never around enough either. Bond was injured too often etc. Donald is a fair shout though? Younis and Akram too, now that I think about it.

Having looked at it, Anderson probably has enough to eclipse a post 95 Akram and Younis. Donald probably has the better record though.

Nonetheless, top ten contemporary great, all time British top ten... and maybe Third tier all time. Really really good nonetheless
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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by msp83 on Sun Apr 19, 2015 7:40 pm

Now just put into context how terrific a bowler Walsh was. Even if we go by Raf's last 20 years window during which Walsh played for 6 years, Walsh played 64 tests from the start of 1995, took 280 test wickets at 23 which was better than his overall career average. And for half of that period, he had to carry the attack in all conditions.......

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by JDizzle on Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:04 pm

What I will say for Jimmy is, and I know it's a bit facetious to ignore the stats that don't suit you, but he really was messed about with a lot in his early career. And if you start looking at his stats from when he really made his break through in 2008, he averages 27 with 322 wickets (so not a small sample size) which is a record more comparable to Ntini/Lee/Gillespie.

Looking at Raf's list, it's easy to assume McGrath and Steyn are out there on there own at the top, and then Lee/Anderson/Gillespie/Ntini and bunched very close together on the next tier, with Pollock somewhere in between.

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by msp83 on Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:39 pm

Even since 2008, Anderson averages 33.14 away. Good, but strictly nothing more than that.
And just to put those figures in context, After reestablishing himself as the leader of the Indian attack in 2007, Zaheer Khan took 115 away test wickets from 26 tests at an average of 29.14.
I would place Zaheer and Anderson about the same level. For me Zaheer is slightly ahead in the skill department, but Anderson is far ahead of him in terms of keeping himself together in the face of a demanding schedule and performing consistently.

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by JDizzle on Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:04 pm

msp83 wrote:Even since 2008, Anderson averages 33.14 away. Good, but strictly nothing more than that.  
And just to put those figures in context, After reestablishing himself as the leader of the Indian attack in 2007, Zaheer Khan took 115 away test wickets from 26 tests at an average of 29.14.
I would place Zaheer and Anderson about the same level. For me Zaheer is slightly ahead in the skill department, but Anderson is far ahead of him in terms of keeping himself together in the face of a demanding schedule and performing consistently.

To be fair msp, when Zaheer is playing away from home he is playing in conditions that are (generally) much easier for seam bowlers than in India, whereas when Anderson plays away he is generally playing in tougher conditions for seam bowlers. Zaheer is definitely a name worth mentioning in this debate though.

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by kingraf on Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:24 pm

I must admit, Zaheer Khan's name escaped me. I'm not sure I put him in the Ntini, Gillespie Lee grouping though. I can understand funnelling stats, but a players career stats are what they are. For example, Ntini was clearly rushed into Test cricket before he was ready because of his skin colour. His first 20 tests only had 45 wickets. Compared to 343 sticks in 81 games post. Think Ntini was actually a better bowler than Pollock once he got it figured out. Yes he went for about five runs a wicket more, but his strike rate was much better, and for me that's the most important factor in a strike bowler.
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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by msp83 on Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:24 pm

JDizzle wrote:
msp83 wrote:Even since 2008, Anderson averages 33.14 away. Good, but strictly nothing more than that.  
And just to put those figures in context, After reestablishing himself as the leader of the Indian attack in 2007, Zaheer Khan took 115 away test wickets from 26 tests at an average of 29.14.
I would place Zaheer and Anderson about the same level. For me Zaheer is slightly ahead in the skill department, but Anderson is far ahead of him in terms of keeping himself together in the face of a demanding schedule and performing consistently.

To be fair msp, when Zaheer is playing away from home he is playing in conditions that are (generally) much easier for seam bowlers than in India, whereas when Anderson plays away he is generally playing in tougher conditions for seam bowlers. Zaheer is definitely a name worth mentioning in this debate though.
JD, while that argument has lots of merit about it, you have to consider that 'away would be common for Anderson and Zaheer other than their respective sides England and India. Anderson does have a creditable record in India it should be remembered.
It has to be noted that Zaheer has 25 wickets in Australia at 35.08 from 7 games and Anderson has 43 at 38.44 from 13 tests. Both are figures that aren't great or even very good for that matter. Zaheer has had his moments, Anderson had one fine series. Again, just support my case that Anderson is a good bowler like say Zaheer, nowhere in the league of the likes of Courtney Walsh.......

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by KP_fan on Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:01 pm

Msp....Walsh wasn't an all time great but a workhorse who got automatically selected for the second half of his career for reasons that could lack of other pacing options / reputation / selection biasses.....all that applied to Kapil Dec too.
If i was to look at last two decades and rank the seamers only
And look at performances on 'unhelpful subcontinetal pitches' also i would rank:
--Akram and waqar from Pak...who had some of their peak years in our window of consideration
--second halves of Zaheer and Srinath from ind
--chaminda Vaas....an amazing performer
--Flintoff, hoggard and Anderson. Hoggard's SR is i recall amongst the best for Eng seamers
--Donald, pollock and Steyn from SA
-- SHANE bond from NZ
--Mcgrath, Gillespie and now Harris from Aus

Unfortunately none make the cut from WI in our window of 20 years nor from BD. Even if Walsh and ambrose played some cricket in our window, they were quite docile and at their end.
Some more SA, Aus and PAK bowlers would be at the periphery.

And if i was to pick the best of the best.....it would be
Akram
Donald
Steyn
In that order

And all the above are based on stats PLUS subjectively......who looked potent....and who could have produce magical game changing spells even on the fattest of pitches
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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by kingraf on Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:16 pm

I can't make a case for a post 95 Akram being better than Steyn. Donald himself has long conceded Steyn is a better bowler. In fact I believe Steyn eclipsed Wasim overall, I just don't say it much because it's sacrilege around here. It's really only McGrath I have no qualms ranking above Steyn from the time period.

Onto Khan vs Anderson
As a rule, we rank players higher by their performances against the teams which we follow, since, logically... those are the performances we'd have seen the most of. Unfortunately for both Khan and Anderson, the two countries I watch more than others are Australia and South Africa. As msp has noted, they both have rather rank, third seamer option-type numbers against those two countries, which for my eye test makes the comparison much of muchness.
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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by KP_fan on Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:21 pm

Akram was good until 2000.....in late 90s he produced many a deadly game changing spells with magic reverse swinging deliveries that would wobble both ways....he was a magician...
And if a list of all time greats is made.....he would be vying for one of the top spots.

Re: Donald stating Steyn is better.....is his modesty.
The frequency with which Steyn can produce a magical game changing spell is short of the other two IMO....and it's a subjective as i see it list, mind you
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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by KP_fan on Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:29 pm

One factor that skews our own judgement is also our own age.....those in their 20s for example may not be as appreciative of the skills of Vaas, Hoggard and Akram as those in late 30s and 40s.

More conscious memories of older players
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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by kingraf on Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:34 pm

Donald wasn't exaggerating. South Africa's won 42/76 matches Steyn has played in. In those 42 matches, Steyn has taken a scarcely believable 282 wickets, at a strike rate of 31. Comparatively, South Africa only won 33/72 when Donald played. Donald took 186 wickets in victories. That's just under six wickets a match in victories. Steyn averages just shy of seven. That doesn't happen without more, way more match changing spells. No doubt who the greater match winner is.
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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by KP_fan on Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:45 pm

Yeah...it's only Donal and Steyn playing the relative strength of remaining 10 players, the quality of opponents, the Era, the individual match situations mean nothing.

Just Donal and Steyn by themselves in vaccum all by themselves Smile
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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by kingraf on Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:56 pm

Look at Steyn's numbers when they win. The gap between him and Donald in winning contributions is too vast for there to be any other conclusion, other than Steyn has more match winning spells. I mean he was under par against the Windies, and both our wins came on the back of Steyn spells. Our win against Lanka in Lanka? Steyn nine-fifer. Only win against Aus in the series? Steyn with the match winning spell. Our win against India in Durban? Oh yeah, Steyn took a nine fer, including a match changing spell on D5. Our series tying draw in UAE? Oh right, twin four fers from Steyn. The beating Pakistan got at the Wanderers? Indeed, Steyn 6/8. How'd we beat the Aussies in Perth again... you'll only need one guess for who took the most sticks. I could go on, but it's no coincidence Steyn was the leading wicket taker for basically every match we've won in the last few years
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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by msp83 on Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:14 am

KP_fan wrote:Msp....Walsh wasn't an all time great but a workhorse who got automatically selected for the second half of his career for reasons that could lack of other pacing options / reputation / selection biasses.....all that applied to Kapil Dec too.
If i was to look at last two decades and rank the seamers only
And look at performances on 'unhelpful subcontinetal pitches' also i would rank:
--Akram and waqar from Pak...who had some of their peak years in our window of consideration
--second halves of Zaheer and Srinath from ind
--chaminda Vaas....an amazing performer
--Flintoff, hoggard and Anderson. Hoggard's SR is i recall amongst the best for Eng seamers
--Donald, pollock and Steyn from SA
-- SHANE bond from NZ
--Mcgrath, Gillespie and now Harris from Aus

Unfortunately none make the cut from WI in our window of 20 years nor from BD. Even if Walsh and ambrose played some cricket in our window, they were quite docile and at their end.
Some more SA, Aus and PAK bowlers would be at the periphery.

And if i was to pick the best of the best.....it would be
Akram
Donald
Steyn
In that order

And all the above are based on stats PLUS subjectively......who looked potent....and who could have produce magical game changing spells even on the fattest of pitches
KPF, Walsh was a workhorse early in his career not because he was an ordinary 3rd/4th seamer option, but the WI had Marshall, Holding and Ambrose in the side who took the new ball ahead of him. Since he started taking the new ball regularly around 93, Walsh was as good anyone else as a strike bowler of that era. And as I noted above, in his last 6 years, he was taking wickets at just around 23 which was as good as that of any contemporaries of his. Ambrose had showed signs of decline towards the end of his career, losing a bit of speed....... But Walsh was bowling as fast and as accurate as he always bowled, even in his final test, and when he retired from international cricket, the question asked was Why? and not Why Not? Like it was the case with Kapil Dev. Dev was hardly taking test wickets in the last 3-4 years of his career. In his case, lack of options and reputation and his batting abilities helped him stay in the side, but Walsh was far, far from that.

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by Mike Selig on Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:41 am

I like Jimmy a lot, but it's fairly clear that Walsh was in a different league.

I would have Jimmy in the Ntini/Lee bracket and above Johnson. I agree with JD that Anderson was massively messed around in his early career and this affected his stats probably more than most.

Steyn belongs in the absolute top bracket for sure. Where precisely we can't really know until he retires, but he deserves to be spoken of in the same breath as guys like Akram and McGrath - his record in all conditions is extraordinary. And as Raf has rightly pointed out he is central to so many SA wins.

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by VTR on Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:19 pm

I think there is a tendency to be a bit rose-tinted about the past, I think Jimmy is right up there from an England POV. Here's a few factors older players didn't have to put up with:

Flat decks to maximise number of Tests going to the 5th day
Touring with no real warm-up games
Extensive media commitments
More competitive teams at Test level
Tailenders who can hold a bat

I expect if we were to ever see the likes of Sydney Barnes bowl we'd be scratching our head thinking "Ian Austin is better than that". I accept players can only exist in their era, but there is no way I could validly put someone like Barnes ahead of Anderson.

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by KP_fan on Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:23 pm

http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/cricket/32105864

interesting BBC study names Hoggard as the best English bowler ever....using a weighting system that rewards top order wickets more than a tailenders wicket.

Interestingly he was on my list of best English bowlers I have seen in last 20 years, alongside Flintoff and Anderson.

whether is the best or not will still be debatable but what's clear is bowlers ( or for that matters batsmen too) across eras or decades cannot be judged on gross stats only..because that defaults to a fallacious assumption "all other factors were equal"

if using stats for a seamer what's gotta be factored
1) whether the wickets were taken against No.2 team or No.7 tea
2) how many of those were top order wickets and wjat proportion tailender's wickets
3) In seaming conditions or on flat subcontinent pitches
4) Match situation..( hardest to account for through stats)
5) Strike rate i.e how many balls per wicket for example this is where Hoggard is amongst all time best for Eng seamers with 200+ wickets
6) bowling average ( which to me is less imp at strike rate)
7) there may be one or two more criterias that can be added

If it's too hard to factor all the above simply use visual judgment...spells that look out of the world....full of hostility , venom and game changing....

Gross stats...or selectively sliced on one or two criteria will be not really representative

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by LondonTiger on Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:46 pm

I have been watching Yorkshire and England since the mid 70s (consciously, cannot remember the games I was taken to as a toddler).

If I were to select an England team from over that period, the following would be in contention for seam bowling slots:

Willis, Botham, Fraser, Gough, Caddick, Hoggard, Harmison, Flintoff, Anderson & Broad.

I would have Willis opening the bowling as possibly the quickest and certainly the most hostile. I would probably have Anderson as his opening partner. At his very best Botham was quicker with a booming outswinger, but in general I would say Jimmy has been more skillful and he has yet to get anywhere near as poor as Botham was in his last few years.

Gough could have been a contender to open the bowling, but injuries mean we never saw enough of him consistently, while Harmi had a golden year but was otherwise average. Assuming I select Botham as my all-rounder, I have space for one other seamer. If conditions were conducive to spin, Hoggy is a real contender. If the pitch was flat or looked to offer seam movement I would consider Caddick or Gough.

So it would probably look like:

6 Botham
7 Knott/Prior
8 Swann
9 Broad/Caddick/Hoggard
10 Willis
11 Anderson

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by Stella on Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:48 pm

No Stewart, or big Angus?
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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by alfie on Mon Apr 20, 2015 11:43 pm

LondonTiger wrote:I have been watching Yorkshire and England since the mid 70s (consciously, cannot remember the games I was taken to as a toddler).

If I were to select an England team from over that period, the following would be in contention for seam bowling slots:

Willis, Botham, Fraser, Gough, Caddick, Hoggard, Harmison, Flintoff, Anderson & Broad.

I would have Willis opening the bowling as possibly the quickest and certainly the most hostile. I would probably have Anderson as his opening partner. At his very best Botham was quicker with a booming outswinger, but in general I would say Jimmy has been more skillful and he has yet to get anywhere near as poor as Botham was in his last few years.

Gough could have been a contender to open the bowling, but injuries mean we never saw enough of him consistently, while Harmi had a golden year but was otherwise average. Assuming I select Botham as my all-rounder, I have space for one other seamer. If conditions were conducive to spin, Hoggy is a real contender. If the pitch was flat or looked to offer seam movement I would consider Caddick or Gough.

So it would probably look like:

6 Botham
7 Knott/Prior
8 Swann
9 Broad/Caddick/Hoggard
10 Willis
11 Anderson

If you are just selecting from mid seventies on that seems fair enough - because the timing just cuts out Snow (who would otherwise be in my team any day.) Though since I go back to Trueman and Statham I have just too many to pick from ...but sticking with this time frame I'd also look at Hendrick .
As to that final XI maybe Fraser in the number nine slot as the workhorse ?  Makes a bit of a long tail...

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by alfie on Mon Apr 20, 2015 11:50 pm

As to where Jimmy belongs I'd prefer to wait until he's done.  I do feel that he is one of those players whose figures don't quite do him justice ( those scattered first twenty matches have weighted him down a bit).
His "away" record does count against him , I admit. And is a little odd ; considering he has had some very good matches in challenging conditions in India - not to mention one excellent tour of Australia. Perhaps , as Dobell wrote the other day , he has suffered a bit from being used as both strike and stock bowler all too often...

As I say , I'll feel happier assessing him when he finishes.  A very good bowler , in any case. And still quite vital to the current England team.


Last edited by alfie on Mon Apr 20, 2015 11:52 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : .)

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by guildfordbat on Tue Apr 21, 2015 12:18 am

Very, very much with Alfie's comments, both about Jimmy and England's bowlers of the past.

I'm inclined to the general view that Jimmy is and has been very good without quite attaining greatness. However, I'm in no rush to deliver judgement. I would prefer to wait at least a couple of years until he's packed in altogether so as to compare him with not only who went before but who also came afterwards.

Trueman and Statham were narrowly before I properly started following Test cricket and possibly I've read too much about their exploits whilst wearing rose tinted spectacles ... but they would both have to be knocking on the door for my all time England XI. Trueman, in fact, hammering on it - his taking 300 Test wickets was a pivotal moment, cricket's equivalent of Armstrong's first step on the moon.

Alfie's praise of Snow (someone who was very much in my watching and listening time) is certainly spot on. Snow's role in and the achievement itself at the time of England winning the Ashes down under in '70/71 was immense. A great shame that apparently so little film footage of that series survives.

Admittedly very subjective now but Gus Fraser was also a personal favourite. The embodiment of the ever willing workhorse. Would be good to have him in the squad just in case Statham ever went lame.

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by VTR on Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:08 am

One thing I'd love to know is how quick Harold Larwood actually was. I have this nagging feeling he was in 80-85mph range given that humans continue to run faster and jump higher

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by Stella on Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:12 am

VTR wrote:One thing I'd love to know is how quick Harold Larwood actually was. I have this nagging feeling he was in 80-85mph range given that humans continue to run faster and jump higher

Thomson was allegedly clocked at 99mph, back in the 70's. How accurate that was, I don't know. I reckon the quicks of today might in general be 2-3mph quicker, but no more than that.
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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by VTR on Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:35 am

Stella wrote:
VTR wrote:One thing I'd love to know is how quick Harold Larwood actually was. I have this nagging feeling he was in 80-85mph range given that humans continue to run faster and jump higher

Thomson was allegedly clocked at 99mph, back in the 70's. How accurate that was, I don't know. I reckon the quicks of today might in general be 2-3mph quicker, but no more than that.

Yeah I could believe the 2-3 mph quicker part, I wouldn't expect a massive gap, but equally I wouldn't expect bowlers without access to modern sports science to have been the fastest ever.

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by Mike Selig on Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:01 am

Careful now VTR or you'll upset the dinosaurs Smile

Frankly reports of Larwood/Tyson et al bowling 95mph thunderbolts have always rendered me more than a little sceptical... I suspect speeds have increased by somewhere between 4 and 15 mph. This is based on comparisons with similar increases in running times (about 5% in the 100m) and swimming times (a lot more, but then swimming is a lot more open to improvements in technique and technology; cricket I suspect lies between running and swimming).

I would be very surprised in anybody topped 90mph until Thomson. And Thomson almost certainly didn't bowl at 99.

None of this devalues how difficult/terrifying it must have been to face Larwood. 80mph is rapid if you're used to facing 70-75 most of the time (believe me, I've done it). It is the difference in pace, rather than the absolute pace which makes the difference.

Returning to topic: Anderson is the best England seamer I've seen (mid 90s), a fraction above Gough (who was injured too often and pedestrian once he lost a bit of nip). It is interesting that people are rating Hoggard higher now - I remember a lot of fairly disparaging remarks when he was still playing ("flat track" bully (i.e. only good when it's swinging), one dimensional, etc.). I think Anderson can do everything Hoggard could, and does quite a few things a bit better.

Caddick never really fulfilled his potential I always felt. He had the ability to be up there with say a Gillespie (when Gillespie was very very good, rather than the version we remember from 2005) but always seemed to disappear from time to time.

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by Corporalhumblebucket on Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:12 am

VTR wrote:
I expect if we were to ever see the likes of Sydney Barnes bowl we'd be scratching our head thinking "Ian Austin is better than that".

Shocked  Roll out the barrell..... Very Happy

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by Hammersmith harrier on Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:40 am

I don't think there's a lot of difference between the more bowlers that I myself have seen; Gough, Anderson, Caddick, Hoggard and Fraser. I haven't included Harmison, Flintoff or Broad as they're all a bit too patchy, one series or season they would look brilliant then follow it with a load of rubbish.

Gough is the stand out on ability and that little bit of extra pace that I remember fondly in my more youthful days but Fraser was my personal favourite for his sheer accuracy. My memory could playing tricks on me but I can't remember too many tests where Gough, Caddick and Fraser played?

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by VTR on Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:46 am

Hammersmith, you are right, Fraser was only really around early 90s, then the 98 home series win vs SA. Caddick was out of favour at that point, and only really established himself in the 99 season. So Fraser was finished by then, and it was Caddick/Gough in the very early 2000s

Some interesting debate on bowling speeds, I am of course firmly in the continual improvement camp. Which is why I am also sceptical of Barnes

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by Hammersmith harrier on Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:52 am

I do feel the average argument is a bit iffy too, if we compare Lee and Gillespie; one had a fairly poor average but was a feared and destructive bowler, the other had a very good average but didn't command the same respect. I would also suggest in that situation that Gillespie benefited more from the pressure that Mcgrath and Warne built up than Lee.

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by Stella on Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:46 am

Mike Selig wrote:Careful now VTR or you'll upset the dinosaurs Smile

Frankly reports of Larwood/Tyson et al bowling 95mph thunderbolts have always rendered me more than a little sceptical... I suspect speeds have increased by somewhere between 4 and 15 mph. This is based on comparisons with similar increases in running times (about 5% in the 100m) and swimming times (a lot more, but then swimming is a lot more open to improvements in technique and technology; cricket I suspect lies between running and swimming).

I would be very surprised in anybody topped 90mph until Thomson. And Thomson almost certainly didn't bowl at 99.

None of this devalues how difficult/terrifying it must have been to face Larwood. 80mph is rapid if you're used to facing 70-75 most of the time (believe me, I've done it). It is the difference in pace, rather than the absolute pace which makes the difference.

Returning to topic: Anderson is the best England seamer I've seen (mid 90s), a fraction above Gough (who was injured too often and pedestrian once he lost a bit of nip). It is interesting that people are rating Hoggard higher now - I remember a lot of fairly disparaging remarks when he was still playing ("flat track" bully (i.e. only good when it's swinging), one dimensional, etc.). I think Anderson can do everything Hoggard could, and does quite a few things a bit better.

Caddick never really fulfilled his potential I always felt. He had the ability to be up there with say a Gillespie (when Gillespie was very very good, rather than the version we remember from 2005) but always seemed to disappear from time to time.

Considering Shoaib was clocked at 100mph,Thomson couldn't have been far off, nor Holding for that matter. Impossible to say, in all honesty.
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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by msp83 on Tue Apr 21, 2015 6:02 am

Fredye Flintoff the batsman was patchy and inconsistent, but as a bowler he was always terrific ones he got going as a proper bowling option. Yes he never swung the cricket like Anderson does, but my word the guy was special and captivating!. He was fast, he was accurate, he could reverse it, and with him one end was always safe!.

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by Jetty on Tue Apr 21, 2015 1:08 pm

Can anyone explain why Anderson and Steyn get such a low percentage of lbw wickets? Steyn 14.6 and Anderson 12.8 (a few years back as low as 7%) compared to Hoggard 26.2 or Vaas 28.7.

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by kingraf on Tue Apr 21, 2015 6:43 pm

Steyn is an outswing bowler. The ball moves away from the bat, into the slips. He can reverse it back in, but from memory, the swing generally so late that the gap between bat and pad makes Bowled the more likely outcome.
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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by alfie on Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:17 pm

Mike Selig wrote:Careful now VTR or you'll upset the dinosaurs Smile

Frankly reports of Larwood/Tyson et al bowling 95mph thunderbolts have always rendered me more than a little sceptical... I suspect speeds have increased by somewhere between 4 and 15 mph. This is based on comparisons with similar increases in running times (about 5% in the 100m) and swimming times (a lot more, but then swimming is a lot more open to improvements in technique and technology; cricket I suspect lies between running and swimming).

I would be very surprised in anybody topped 90mph until Thomson. And Thomson almost certainly didn't bowl at 99.

None of this devalues how difficult/terrifying it must have been to face Larwood. 80mph is rapid if you're used to facing 70-75 most of the time (believe me, I've done it). It is the difference in pace, rather than the absolute pace which makes the difference.

Returning to topic: Anderson is the best England seamer I've seen (mid 90s), a fraction above Gough (who was injured too often and pedestrian once he lost a bit of nip). It is interesting that people are rating Hoggard higher now - I remember a lot of fairly disparaging remarks when he was still playing ("flat track" bully (i.e. only good when it's swinging), one dimensional, etc.). I think Anderson can do everything Hoggard could, and does quite a few things a bit better.

Caddick never really fulfilled his potential I always felt. He had the ability to be up there with say a Gillespie (when Gillespie was very very good, rather than the version we remember from 2005) but always seemed to disappear from time to time.

Aha...Mike giving his "Larwood around 80 " theory another run , I see...

Now it is true that my birth certificate places me somewhat adjacent to the Jurassic ; but since I've continued playing and sometimes coaching in the game right into "modern" times I'd like to think I may be considered at least slightly evolved Smile

So I must say that I can't altogether agree with the Young Rebel's conclusions.  I didn't of course see Larwood ...and Tyson only when he was past his best ; but I was in Australia in 1974/5 ; and can honestly say Thomson then was as quick as anything I've seen since (I didn't have a speed gun handy , and I'm not quibbling over a small margin ; but I'd honestly doubt any of the current bowlers are quicker - and here I'm talking average speed more than one-off peaks as I think it's more significant.)
Was Thomson clocked at 99 ? I remember the timing event , vaguely (has it been 40 years , really ? ) and I certainly can't vouch for the accuracy of the devices used.  But I do recall it showed Thomson to be appreciably quicker than his contemporaries ...as , I would suggest , was Larwood in his time.
I'm pushing it a bit here ; but I would suggest that if top speeds haven't really increased much in 40 years , how much have they increased in 80 ?  I do believe they have , to be honest (better nutrition etc...would be surprising if they haven't) But my point here is that Larwood - and Thomson - are outliers so the general statistics dont really apply.

Incidentally , the  argument that since sprinting speeds have increased by approximately 5% over time the same should apply to fast bowling had occurred to me : but I don't believe the two endeavors are directly comparable.
In sprinting , the whole aim of the discipline is to get from gun to tape quicker than the next fellow  , therefore as quickly as you possibly can. Hence all development , from starting technique , to stride patterns etc , has been geared to this one purpose.
The same is not true for bowling.  Pace - desirable as it is - is not the be all and end all , even for opening bowlers. I'd ask Mike how much effort he puts in to getting his charges to bowl quicker , by comparison with working on their accuracy , variations of swing and seam , etc ?  Yes , we'd all like our young bowlers to be as speedy as they can , without losing too much control ; but I'd suggest there just isn't the same emphasis on increasing speed as in the more obvious field of pure racing ; and so the natural improvement wouldn't be as pronounced.
All speculation of course . And as I  don't , unfortunately , have access to a working time machine  , I can't invite our Young Rebel to accompany me back to 1932 to make our own measurements ; so this will have to remain no more than that...
I am hesitant , in truth , to make an estimate of Larwood's pace. But from viewing film of him in action on supposedly rather slow 1930s pitches , and noting the position of the keeper , I'd fancy he must have been well in excess of 80 . More than that I'm just guessing , really ...as is Mike Smile


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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by kingraf on Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:06 am

Ooh, more then anything else... discussing the speeds of players of years gone is my favourite topic. Other than extolling the greatness of Steyn, of course. Few things

- I hope and expect you'll take no offence to this Alfie, but using eye tests thirty years apart does not by any means or mode make for accurate conclusions. I'd willingly put my (share of the) house on the fact that without a clock, a large section of the population would argue blue and black that Carl Lewis is faster than Bolt. The human eye isn't objective. It measures everything on perception. This doesn't mean that Thomson wasn't the fastest of them all... it just means I'm not aware of any reason to blindly accept it. The other thing is that people extolling the virtues of pace bowlers of the past tend to have tales which border on the fictional.
Think it's Rod Marsh who said Thommo was 180kph. I mean how can anyone even take that seriously.

- I do think though that bowling fast probably hasn't had the technological help that sprinting and swimming has had. I mean, there's really only so many ways to bowl fast with a straight arm. It's a bit like boxing, where there's only so much you can maximise a left hook. I'd have no problem believing that express pace has been in a state of equilibrium for the last 100 years. It certainly hasn't got faster in my time watching cricket.
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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by alfie on Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:56 am

Ha . Raf , I wouldn't argue with that. Not claiming to know my recollections are milli- second accurate Smile
Just my opinion.
Pleased to note though however that that you share my reservations as to the natural increase theory.

Tall tales indeed abound : was it not Kortwright of Essex who was reputed to have bowled a ball which eluded keeper and two long stops , crossed the boundary , burst through a gentleman's cloak and killed an unlucky dog. Very Happy
I'd like to have seen that.

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by Hibbz on Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:55 am

I'm always a bit disappointed that longevity is dismissed so readily as to what makes a real great. Those whose star burns brightly briefly always seem to get more plaudits than someone who glows for a prolonged period.

Wow right on cue Anderson produces a corker!!

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Re: So where does Jimmy A rank?

Post by kingraf on Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:23 am

Cheers Alfie.
Remember a story about Adrian Kuiper once hitting a six out of the province. Of course the reality is that the ball landed on a train which went to another province... But its a great story nonetheless!!

Remember a speed gun competion which went measured the fastest bowlers in the world at the time. Think Thommo won it, with a bad back, clocking 144-148kph. Then Lee and Akhtar came to the fore and started clocking 155+ on standardised speed guns. Thommo quickly made it clear that they were being measured from the arm, he was measured from the batting end. Remember seeing a graph where Lee chucked a ball out at 148kph at Newlands and it reached the batter at 115kph. By that reckoning... Thommo would be 192kph by modern standards!!
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