So where does Jimmy A rank?

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Post by Hoggy_Bear on Sat 18 Apr 2015, 12:34

First topic message reminder :

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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Post by Pal Joey on Wed 22 Apr 2015, 02:45

Sounds about right, raf. Whistle

Thommo sure was one of our most colourful cricketers and Bacchus was right up there with him.
It seems nobody understands our dry sense of humour. Exaggeration is a key component of it.

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Post by sirfredperry on Wed 22 Apr 2015, 16:00

Having seen my first Test in 1962 I would put Anderson into the very good category.
But VTR makes an excellent point about Jimmy playing at a time of covered, made-to-last wickets, with tail-enders who don't get blown away as they did in days of yore.
So a case could be made for moving Anderson up a notch or two. I'm a bit spoiled having grown up on a diet of Trueman and Statham followed by Botham and Willis.

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Post by ShahenshahG on Wed 22 Apr 2015, 20:19

http://www.thecricketmonthly.com/story/816387/-fast-bowlers-are-not-thinking-for-themselves

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Post by dummy_half on Thu 23 Apr 2015, 14:06

It's obviously difficult for us to judge how fast the quicks of the past were - we are limited to whatever film footage there is available, and have to make a judgement based on the bounce the bowlers got (noting that Larwood for example was only about 1.75 m tall, so even shorter than Marshall) and how far back the keeper and slips would stand.

While I don't doubt that modern bowlers on average are a bit quicker than their predecesors, I suspect the difference between the absolute fastest is not that great - I'd be surprised if Larwood for example wasn't at least in the high 80s mph or that anyone now was substantially faster than Holding (who of course was a junior athletics champion, so probably as fast over the ground as anyone).

While speed guns have not been widely used in cricket until the last few years, they have a long history of use in baseball (back to the late 1930s in some form or other). The measurements of these suggest that pitching at about 100mph has been going on for as long as measurements have been taken (although the reliability of some measurements of pre-war and post-war pitches in excess of 110mph must be taken with more than a pinch of salt), and while there are a few modern pitchers who can really crank it up to 102-105mph, they are not much quicker than the old timers. OK, the biomechanics of pitching are somewhat different from bowling, but it suggests that the limiting factor on speed is more the ability to keep control rather than how fast you can actually project the ball from your hand, and that changes in strength and athleticism are less significant than technique.

Anyway, back to Jimmy A - I think most here have him pegged about the right level, of being very good and perhaps somewhat unflattered by his career statistics (bowling average was just under 40 after 20 tests, and has come down progressively to just under 30 now). Probably in the top 5 England pace bowlers of my time watching them (going back to Willis and Botham, both of whom I would rate higher), and maybe in the top 10 overall, with probably Truman as the best (hard to know how to rate Sid Barnes - astonishing wicket taking record, but in an era where the game was very different, so his skill set would almost certainly have not been successful in the 'modern' game).

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Post by sirfredperry on Mon 27 Apr 2015, 09:05

Don't spose Jimmy's efforts on the last morning in Grenada will have done his where-does-he-stand-in-the-greatest? stakes any harm. He's also approaching 1,000 runs in Tests. Not bad for a number 11.

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Post by kingraf on Mon 27 Apr 2015, 13:33

Not bad... But not quite level changing. Having actually thought about this. I can't really put Jimmy above Mitchell. Mitchell has the wood on him in all my key factors, and has only had one bad series really. For me, Jimmy is still rounding out the top ten modern game pace greats (7-10). Think he'd need an exceptional series against Aus, or us in December, to really move some. Not Johnson 2013/14 exceptional (59 sticks in 8 tests), but exceptional nonetheless.
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