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The 606v2 Cricket Hall of Fame - Part 3

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Post by Hoggy_Bear Wed 28 Mar 2012, 12:23 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 msp83 Sat 27 Oct 2012, 11:10 am

Guildford, I would put a bit differently, I would say Ranji's last season of test cricket was pretty pathetic, otherwise he could have averaged over 50 in test cricket as well.

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Post by guildfordbat Sat 27 Oct 2012, 11:11 am

msp83 wrote:

But what Ranji had started, has really developed into an art form.
So most certainly a game changing approach in my book.

What I was trying to get at more was the possible unsporting element. Would contemporaries and earlier batsmen have played leg side shots if it had not been considered unacceptable?

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Post by Mike Selig Sat 27 Oct 2012, 11:11 am

msp83 wrote:Ranji couldn't have played test cricket for India, India gained test status much after Ranji's playing days.
He could have however played cricket for India (even if not "test" cricket). He could have pushed for India to be recognised as a cricketing country. He did neither, and in fact did the opposite with his refusal to play for them.

msp83 wrote:Ranji's range of innovations are not limited to the leg glance. By consistently playing the ball on to the leg side, Ranji challenged conventional notions where it used to be the practice that the batsman wouldn't run if he somehow played the ball there and the bowling captain would set not many fielders there. The success of his backfoot defense is something else that needs to be considered. So trivialize him as the inventor of something called leg glance is a disservice in my view.

That is an entirely fair point and well made and backed up by your subsequent posts. I was of course being a bit mischievous when I was trivialising him somewhat.

Whilst I appreciate guildford's point about it being considered unfair at the time, I side with msp on this one: we surely couldn't imagine watching cricket today without the flick through the leg-side, and it does seem that Ranji - even if considered unsporting by some - was the pioneer of this.

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Post by Mike Selig Sat 27 Oct 2012, 11:14 am

guildfordbat wrote:
msp83 wrote:

But what Ranji had started, has really developed into an art form.
So most certainly a game changing approach in my book.

What I was trying to get at more was the possible unsporting element. Would contemporaries and earlier batsmen have played leg side shots if it had not been considered unacceptable?

Possibly, but I would strongly argue that for this we should be praising Ranji for challenging stupid, ill-thought and old-fashioned conventions to make the game far more interesting.

Would a good analogy be how the switch-hit was seen when Pietersen first played it? Plenty of mutterings then, but it's now used more and more often, and I don't think anyone would disagree that it's an astonishing piece of skills which has made the game more exciting.

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Post by Shelsey93 Sat 27 Oct 2012, 11:20 am

Woolley never got close to the levels of success Ranji did in the small number of Tests that he played.

Yes, the stats show a downward curve. But when you take out those 3 Tests in 1902, his previous three series were all exceptional efforts in the context of the era.

In terms of not playing for India there was no India at the time in the international game - given that India was under British control it makes perfect sense to me that he could play for England (certainly he has as strong a case to play for England as a Trott or Pietersen).

Wikipedia provides some further detail to his absences and various losses of form after his Test debut:

1897 - He averaged 45.12, but was less prolific than in 1896. He was reportedly in ill health, and also interested in the succession to the crown in Nawanagar.

1897-98 - Ranji was one of the few successes in the Ashes, which England lost 4-1. To be fair a controversy is pointed out: he supported the decision to no-ball Ernie Jones for chucking, but it is also pointed out that on the whole he was very popular in Australia.

1898 - Ranji spends his summer in India, reputedly continuing his persual of the throne of Nawanagar. England played no Tests during this time.

1898-99 - England go to SA for a 2 Test series. Its far from a full strength England team, and Ranji doesn't feature.

1899 - Ranji returns to England. His 278 runs @ 46.33 for the second highest average for England in a low-scoring Ashes series, and included 93 not out in the 1st Test to save the game. Took over as captain of Sussex, implementing unpopular changes such as fielding practice (!)

1900 - Scores over 3000 runs, including over a period of nine days 97, 127, 222 and 215* followed by 192 a week later. No Tests that year.

1900-01 - No Test tour

1901 - After captains begin to counter his leg side game, he starts driving more and has another fine season - 2468 runs @ 70.51.

1901-02 - Misses tour of Australia, apparently because he instead returned to India to sort out his financial issues

1902 - He has a shocker in the Ashes, and is dropped after the 3rd Test. Walks out on Sussex, after reportedly falling out with the professional players. Nevertheless, is still second in the national batting averages.

1902-03 - No Test tour.

1903 - Returns to Sussex as captain once more, and scores 1924 runs at an average of of 56.58. No Tests that year. It is pointed out that he was criticised by the press for delaying a declaration until after he'd completed his own double-hundred.

1903-04 - Not selected for the Ashes (presumably on personality grounds - this being the first Ashes tour managed by the MCC rather than privately). Instead goes to India to pursue more succession claims.

1904 - Scores 2077 runs @ 74. Missed 8 matches for Sussex, suggesting his focus was now elsewhere. He was 32 by this point though - from memory a similar age to that at which PBH May retired.

At this point he succeeds to the crown of Nawanagar, and effectively retires from cricket. Makes a moderately successful comeback in 1908, and this is when the incident referred to of being responsible for Sussex failing to turn up takes place. Doesn't play many matches. After this season he returns to India.

He returns again aged 39 in 1912, declaring himself available for England, but isn't selected. Scores 1113 runs at 43.

Rather embarrassingly decides to play in 1920, well into his 40s and with one eye. Plays only three matches.

----

I'd conclude that his best efforts came during his 20s, before distractions came in from about 1904. Nevertheless, his final FC average is the best in England until Geoff Boycott.

I definitely think he does enough in his early career to justify a place in the Hall of Fame.

I'm so glad to see the debate on this thread well and truly back up and running - keep it up guys!

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Post by msp83 Sat 27 Oct 2012, 11:20 am

quote a good analogy be how the switch-hit was seen when Pietersen first played it? Plenty of mutterings then, but it's now used more and more often, and I don't think anyone would disagree that it's an astonishing piece of skills which has made the game more exciting.[/quote]
Took the words right out of my mouth there, Mike.

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Post by msp83 Sat 27 Oct 2012, 11:26 am

Shelsey93 wrote:Woolley never got close to the levels of success Ranji did in the small number of Tests that he played.

Yes, the stats show a downward curve. But when you take out those 3 Tests in 1902, his previous three series were all exceptional efforts in the context of the era.

In terms of not playing for India there was no India at the time in the international game - given that India was under British control it makes perfect sense to me that he could play for England (certainly he has as strong a case to play for England as a Trott or Pietersen).

Wikipedia provides some further detail to his absences and various losses of form after his Test debut:

1897 - He averaged 45.12, but was less prolific than in 1896. He was reportedly in ill health, and also interested in the succession to the crown in Nawanagar.

1897-98 - Ranji was one of the few successes in the Ashes, which England lost 4-1. To be fair a controversy is pointed out: he supported the decision to no-ball Ernie Jones for chucking, but it is also pointed out that on the whole he was very popular in Australia.

1898 - Ranji spends his summer in India, reputedly continuing his persual of the throne of Nawanagar. England played no Tests during this time.

1898-99 - England go to SA for a 2 Test series. Its far from a full strength England team, and Ranji doesn't feature.

1899 - Ranji returns to England. His 278 runs @ 46.33 for the second highest average for England in a low-scoring Ashes series, and included 93 not out in the 1st Test to save the game. Took over as captain of Sussex, implementing unpopular changes such as fielding practice (!)

1900 - Scores over 3000 runs, including over a period of nine days 97, 127, 222 and 215* followed by 192 a week later. No Tests that year.

1900-01 - No Test tour

1901 - After captains begin to counter his leg side game, he starts driving more and has another fine season - 2468 runs @ 70.51.

1901-02 - Misses tour of Australia, apparently because he instead returned to India to sort out his financial issues

1902 - He has a shocker in the Ashes, and is dropped after the 3rd Test. Walks out on Sussex, after reportedly falling out with the professional players. Nevertheless, is still second in the national batting averages.

1902-03 - No Test tour.

1903 - Returns to Sussex as captain once more, and scores 1924 runs at an average of of 56.58. No Tests that year. It is pointed out that he was criticised by the press for delaying a declaration until after he'd completed his own double-hundred.

1903-04 - Not selected for the Ashes (presumably on personality grounds - this being the first Ashes tour managed by the MCC rather than privately). Instead goes to India to pursue more succession claims.

1904 - Scores 2077 runs @ 74. Missed 8 matches for Sussex, suggesting his focus was now elsewhere. He was 32 by this point though - from memory a similar age to that at which PBH May retired.

At this point he succeeds to the crown of Nawanagar, and effectively retires from cricket. Makes a moderately successful comeback in 1908, and this is when the incident referred to of being responsible for Sussex failing to turn up takes place. Doesn't play many matches. After this season he returns to India.

He returns again aged 39 in 1912, declaring himself available for England, but isn't selected. Scores 1113 runs at 43.

Rather embarrassingly decides to play in 1920, well into his 40s and with one eye. Plays only three matches.

----

I'd conclude that his best efforts came during his 20s, before distractions came in from about 1904. Nevertheless, his final FC average is the best in England until Geoff Boycott.

I definitely think he does enough in his early career to justify a place in the Hall of Fame.

I'm so glad to see the debate on this thread well and truly back up and running - keep it up guys!
A very well focused post that, shelsey.
Has to be noted that as a captain he thought about stuff such as fielding practice. Just adds to the idea of him being willing to challenge conventions for the better of the game.

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Post by Mike Selig Sat 27 Oct 2012, 11:32 am

I'm not disputing the fact that Ranji has an excellent test record. The problem for me is a test record consisting of 4 series is not so much a "record" as an "anecdote". In particular I don't think you can build a case around it.

Comparing Ranji to Tate say, it seems that Tate essentially has everything that Ranji has, except his test career lasted significantly longer and he doesn't seem to have the character stains that Ranji does.

But the "challenge coventions" is a point well-made, and resonates with a young rebel like myself Smile

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Post by guildfordbat Sat 27 Oct 2012, 12:00 pm

Mike Selig wrote:
guildfordbat wrote:
msp83 wrote:

But what Ranji had started, has really developed into an art form.
So most certainly a game changing approach in my book.

What I was trying to get at more was the possible unsporting element. Would contemporaries and earlier batsmen have played leg side shots if it had not been considered unacceptable?

Possibly, but I would strongly argue that for this we should be praising Ranji for challenging stupid, ill-thought and old-fashioned conventions to make the game far more interesting.

Would a good analogy be how the switch-hit was seen when Pietersen first played it? Plenty of mutterings then, but it's now used more and more often, and I don't think anyone would disagree that it's an astonishing piece of skills which has made the game more exciting.

Mike - I almost mentioned Pietersen and the switch-hit but feared you would tell me someone else got there first! Laugh

I did flag in an earlier post that it now appears naive and unnecessarily restrictive not to have played leg side shots. It seems incredible that such a vast amount of the playing area wasn't utilised by batsmen. Whilst Pietersen's switch-hit was skillful and inventive, I don't feel that we can say the same about Ranji's leg side plunderings. Leg side shots were surely obvious if they were deemed acceptable. I do accept Ranji's leg side play was innovative although still wonder if, in the concept of the time and to at least some extent, there was still something not quite right about it.

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Post by guildfordbat Sat 27 Oct 2012, 12:08 pm

Shelsey93 wrote:

... Wikipedia provides some further detail to his absences and various losses of form after his Test debut:

1897 - He averaged 45.12, but was less prolific than in 1896. He was reportedly in ill health, and also interested in the succession to the crown in Nawanagar.

1897-98 - Ranji was one of the few successes in the Ashes, which England lost 4-1. To be fair a controversy is pointed out: he supported the decision to no-ball Ernie Jones for chucking, but it is also pointed out that on the whole he was very popular in Australia.

1898 - Ranji spends his summer in India, reputedly continuing his persual of the throne of Nawanagar. England played no Tests during this time.

1898-99 - England go to SA for a 2 Test series. Its far from a full strength England team, and Ranji doesn't feature.

1899 - Ranji returns to England. His 278 runs @ 46.33 for the second highest average for England in a low-scoring Ashes series, and included 93 not out in the 1st Test to save the game. Took over as captain of Sussex, implementing unpopular changes such as fielding practice (!)

1900 - Scores over 3000 runs, including over a period of nine days 97, 127, 222 and 215* followed by 192 a week later. No Tests that year.

1900-01 - No Test tour

1901 - After captains begin to counter his leg side game, he starts driving more and has another fine season - 2468 runs @ 70.51.

1901-02 - Misses tour of Australia, apparently because he instead returned to India to sort out his financial issues

1902 - He has a shocker in the Ashes, and is dropped after the 3rd Test. Walks out on Sussex, after reportedly falling out with the professional players. Nevertheless, is still second in the national batting averages.

1902-03 - No Test tour.

1903 - Returns to Sussex as captain once more, and scores 1924 runs at an average of of 56.58. No Tests that year. It is pointed out that he was criticised by the press for delaying a declaration until after he'd completed his own double-hundred.

1903-04 - Not selected for the Ashes (presumably on personality grounds - this being the first Ashes tour managed by the MCC rather than privately). Instead goes to India to pursue more succession claims.

1904 - Scores 2077 runs @ 74. Missed 8 matches for Sussex, suggesting his focus was now elsewhere. He was 32 by this point though - from memory a similar age to that at which PBH May retired.

At this point he succeeds to the crown of Nawanagar, and effectively retires from cricket. Makes a moderately successful comeback in 1908, and this is when the incident referred to of being responsible for Sussex failing to turn up takes place. Doesn't play many matches. After this season he returns to India.

He returns again aged 39 in 1912, declaring himself available for England, but isn't selected. Scores 1113 runs at 43.

Rather embarrassingly decides to play in 1920, well into his 40s and with one eye. Plays only three matches.

----

... I'm so glad to see the debate on this thread well and truly back up and running - keep it up guys!

Blimey, Shelsey - you must have been up all night to make sense of Ranji's wikipedia profile and extract that lot from it. Well done!

A much bigger well done though for reigniting this thread. clap

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Post by Corporalhumblebucket Sat 27 Oct 2012, 12:17 pm

Recent posts on this thread have prompted the thought as to whether anyone has ever written a book or thesis on the relative history of the off side and on/leg side? There seem to be masses of issues and hang ups to do with what is or isn't cricket when it comes to numerous aspects of batting, bowling and fielding....

The recent invention of the switch hit has well and truly stirred up this bit of history! Are we living through a pivotal point in the history of cricket? Shocked

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Post by Hoggy_Bear Sat 27 Oct 2012, 12:29 pm

Guildford,
There is little doubt that Ranji's leg-glance was, indeed, criticised by contemporaries as being immoral, and that the usual course of action when faced with a leg-side half volley at the time was to tap the ball back to the bowler. Others, however, praised the genius of his leg-side play. After his first test century, for example, George Griffen wrote 'Ranji is the batting wonder of the age. His play was a revelation to us, with his marvellous cutting and extraordinary hitting to leg.' As that quote implies, Ranji was also a marvellous exponent of the cut shot, and is also credited with inventing the late-cut, definitely an off-side stroke. Very Happy

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Post by guildfordbat Sat 27 Oct 2012, 12:37 pm

Mike Selig wrote:I'm not disputing the fact that Ranji has an excellent test record. The problem for me is a test record consisting of 4 series is not so much a "record" as an "anecdote". In particular I don't think you can build a case around it.


As I've undoubtedly shown already, I'm with Mike on this.

I think it's also worth noting that Ranji's Test career ended at the young age (even then) of twenty-nine. I've raised the point before that a HoF nominee's claims can be influenced - at least in terms of Test averages - by the decision of his national selectors as to when to first stop picking him. If the selectors had persisted in choosing Ranji after his absymal showing in 1903, his Test ''record'' or ''anecdote'' (beautiful, Mike!) would surely have worsened and been less buoyed by his first twelve Tests. Certainly in my view his average Test score would have continued to fall.

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Post by guildfordbat Sat 27 Oct 2012, 12:48 pm

Hoggy_Bear wrote:Guildford,
There is little doubt that Ranji's leg-glance was, indeed, criticised by contemporaries as being immoral, and that the usual course of action when faced with a leg-side half volley at the time was to tap the ball back to the bowler. Others, however, praised the genius of his leg-side play. After his first test century, for example, George Griffen wrote 'Ranji is the batting wonder of the age. His play was a revelation to us, with his marvellous cutting and extraordinary hitting to leg.' As that quote implies, Ranji was also a marvellous exponent of the cut shot, and is also credited with inventing the late-cut, definitely an off-side stroke. Very Happy

Thanks, Hoggy.

Despite my near concentration on concerns and doubts relating to Ranji, I absolutely accept there are positives about him which include the points you flag above. It would be ungracious and dishonest for me to suggest otherwise (that comment also aimed at msp in particular). thumbsup


Last edited by guildfordbat on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 12:56 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Shelsey93 Sat 27 Oct 2012, 12:55 pm

Would his average have fallen that markedly?

I certainly don't imagine he'd have averaged 5 in every series until eventual retirement at about the age of 35.

Based on his FC record I'd expect him to have continued averaging around the 40 region in Tests, leaving him with a final career average probably about 45. Of course these things are difficult to project, and to be honest I tend to agree that his Test career is an 'anecdote' - but I see it as an 'anecdote' which goes some way to proving that he was not only the first Indian to play Test cricket and an innovator, but also the best batsman of his generation.

We also must consider that part of the reason why it is only an 'anecdote' is the infrequency of Tests, in a world where only two teams were competitive.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 27 Oct 2012, 1:03 pm

I'm not convinced about Ranji's claims for HOF recognition but, regardless, there will always be athletes whatever the sport who, in their prime might be thought of as surefire HOF candidates, but whose flame burns out prematurely.

In that context, I thought an HS (the S stands for Surtees, what a great name!) Altham article bracketing Ranji, Fry and Jessop was interesting, suggesting three highly popular cricketers, possibly romanticised (and I mean that in a positive way), but without the depth of CV to fully justify an HOF induction.

I'm fascinated by the debate and the resultant amount of biographical stuff on Ranji inhaled, but can't advocate for the HOF a batsman with only two Test hundreds on his resume.

(Nothing much on here about Duleep, but would have thought Ranji's influence there might have entered the discussion . . . . . just unsure meself whether for better or worse).

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Post by Hoggy_Bear Sat 27 Oct 2012, 1:06 pm

guildfordbat wrote:.
, his Test ''record'' or ''anecdote'' (beautiful, Mike!) would surely have worsened and been less buoyed by his first twelve Tests. Certainly in my view his average Test score would have continued to fall.

It may well have done, but to what extent?
As shelsey has pointed out, he was still good enough to score over 1000 runs in 1903, 2000 in 1904, and even scored over 1000 when he came back in 1912, so he was still batting well enough. Even if he had continued and his average had fallen to around 40, say, that would still be as good as the best of his contemporaries.
Of course, that's all speculation, and I agree that it's difficult to build a case around such a brief test career (although that career must be taken into account). What does stand out strongly for me, however, in reading about Ranji, is the consistent praise heaped upon his batting by his contemporaries. Clem Hill, George Griffen, CB Fry, Neville Cardus and others, all annointing him a 'genious', 'a wonder' etc.You also have to look at the records he set in county cricket. First man to 3000 runs in a season, a feat he repeated the following year. 72 centuries from 307 games. Of course, in saying this, you have to take account of the bias toward style that pervaded the period, as was discussed when looking at Woolley's case, but even so the praise for Ranji is lavish, exceeded only by that given to Trumper in all probability.
So we have a mercurial, stylish batsman, who was an innovator in the art of batsmanship, with a wonderful FC record and a very good, if short, test record, who is still regarded, to this day, as a great of the game. Against that we have his 'lack of commitment' to cricket, shall we say, his failure to encourage cricket in his homeland (and the fact that he may well have had a detrimental effect on the development of Indian cricket), and a certain level of selfishness.
Personally, I think the good outweighs the bad, and I'm edging toward a yes vote, but I must admit that some of the points raised in the debate have made the decision a lot harder than I originally thought it was going to be.

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Post by alfie Sat 27 Oct 2012, 1:16 pm

My own problem with Ranji centers on the relatively small number of Tests played. Not sure this was altogether his fault - health issues and "other interests" , and just the fact that Test scheduling was rather uneven in those days all seem to have contributed. His record in the matches he did play was certainly outstanding , and would have been even better had he not played in 1902 ! Perhaps he was in decline at 30 , or perhaps he just had three bad matches ? Unfortunately he never got the chance to show which ...
I don't take Mike's assertion that he might have done less well had he had to play against Argentina and USA too seriously : granted Herbert Dorning was from all accounts a fine bowler for Argentina , as was the legendary Bart King for USA...but the Australians from whom he plundered runs galore had a few handy bowlers too in Trumble , Noble and Jones. Incidentally he did play against at least some of the best American players of the time when he took a team to Philadelphia in 1899 , apparently " with great success".
The matter of his effect on the development of Indian cricket is a bit hard to judge at this distance. It certainly seems he didn't put himself out on the matter , yet perhaps the fact that the national first class competition was eventually named after him may suggest his memory was held in some regard...
There doesn't seem much dispute about his status as an innovator - just too many accounts of his role in popularizing late cutting and leg deflections ; and I think it is this that is his strongest claim to HoF entry. Is it enough ?
Not sure yet. But if I eventually conclude it is I won't be put off a yes vote by allegations of shady dealings not really connected directly with cricket - it is all just too long ago to be able to make sure what is a true account and what is trouble stirred up by the political enemies such a man was certain to have made. As I've said before I am not after saint like figures for entry and there seems some doubt as to Ranji's actual and probably complex character. I do note HS Altham mentions his "modesty, natural dignity and unfailing kindness" , both in relation to his cricket career and his work at the League of Nations. So a bit each way perhaps...
Still a "maybe" for mine.

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Post by guildfordbat Sat 27 Oct 2012, 1:19 pm

Shelsey - I'm wary of giving too much significance (and certainly credit) to Ranji being ''the first Indian to play Test cricket'' given his lack of contribution to cricket in that country.

I don't doubt the ''innovator'' label although elements of that were far from well regarded by some at the time.

Even if his Test average woudn't have fallen that markedly, he still didn't play enough Test cricket for my liking and there are no sufficient reasons to excuse that.

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Post by alfie Sat 27 Oct 2012, 2:00 pm

Just to add a couple of points on Ranji , from the jottings of the Doctor himself :

"He...is seen at his best in a leg glance , which with him is an exceedingly pretty stroke...Ranji can drive well,as he has been showing lately, but he prefers to score behind , or square with the wicket, and by his genius for timing often scores to leg , or behind the wicket, off balls other batsmen would have to drive".
This was written by Grace in 1899 , and although the italics are mine , it does seem to indicate that there was nothing regarded as untoward in the stroke , at least in the Doctor's mind...just that Ranji could play it in a way that was beyond most others !
Incidentally the same piece states : "Among cricketers "Ranji" is exceedingly popular, his open hearted generosity and geniality having captured all their hearts."
So a little bit more to counter the "character" blemishes argument.

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Post by Mike Selig Sat 27 Oct 2012, 2:01 pm

alfie wrote:
I don't take Mike's assertion that he might have done less well had he had to play against Argentina and USA too seriously : granted Herbert Dorning was from all accounts a fine bowler for Argentina , as was the legendary Bart King for USA...but the Australians from whom he plundered runs galore had a few handy bowlers too in Trumble , Noble and Jones. Incidentally he did play against at least some of the best American players of the time when he took a team to Philadelphia in 1899 , apparently " with great success".

Very Happy It wasn't really an entirely serious assertion, just that I hadn't had a moan about the way "test" status was (and still is) granted not based on how good a side is, but on how little they will upset the political landscape at the ICC (formerly the Imperial Cricket Conference...).

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Post by Mike Selig Sat 27 Oct 2012, 2:02 pm

In fairness a character reference from the Doctor... Whistle

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Post by guildfordbat Sat 27 Oct 2012, 3:50 pm

Shelsey93 wrote:CMJ on this week's candidates

Given the difficulty of judging so many of this week's candidates, I thought I'd dig out CMJ's 'Top 100 Cricketers of All Time' and see what he has to say ...

----

Interestingly CMJ says that Pollock 'eventually surpassed the achievements of his fast bowling father Pater and his legendary uncle Graeme'. Sorry, I can't agree with that - Graeme was a level above Shaun and that is actually reflected in CMJ's ranking of Graeme at 37 ...

There are some match-winning efforts listed ...

... However, the context of these isn't as vividly expressed as it is for a lot of earlier cricketers. In part that is probably down to the fact that this develops over time. But it might also be simply that Pollock's performances were mostly unexciting ...


Shelsey - thanks for providing CMJ input.

Like you and without any context supplied by CMJ, I'm baffled by his comment about Shaun Pollock surpassing the achievements of his uncle Graeme.

Can I ask a couple of questions about the book. They're general in nature although they have a particular bearing on Pollock.

1. When was the book published and has it been updated? In particular, was it 2008 or earlier? As Pollock's international career didn't finish until 2008, I wonder if CMJ was reluctant to put him too high up the list until it was over and could be fully judged. Pure speculation on my part. Whilst I don't always agree with CMJ anyway, number 97 seems very low given a detailed look at his career.

2. Does CMJ devote as much time (ie pages in his book) to each of his 100 Cricketers? If not, that might explain to some extent the lack of vivid descriptions for some of Pollock's match-winning efforts. I would have expected, for example, the top ten to have more page space than the final ten in his book.

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Post by Shelsey93 Sat 27 Oct 2012, 4:24 pm

Guildford,

1. Its a 2009 publication, but I suspect CMJ was working on it for at least a year or so before then...

He does include a number of players that were still playing at the time at a higher rank though - Tendulkar (9), Gilchrist (10), Murali (13), Ponting (47), Kallis (52), Sangakkara (58), Pietersen (60), Jayasuriya (67), Dravid (74), Jayawardene (79), Flintoff (82), Smith (93). I personally think there is a major danger in that - namely that their rank has the capacity to go both up and down. An example of that is Pietersen. Recent events would surely have made it more difficult to place him at 60.

2. There is a difference - Bradman (No. 1) has about 3 pages to about 1 1/2 for Pollock.

One of the most interesting things about the book is the list of exclusions - interestingly (and I didn't mention this last week because I didn't look...) this includes Clem Hill.

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Post by guildfordbat Sat 27 Oct 2012, 4:39 pm

Thanks, Shelsey. That's all useful to know.

Agree with you about Pietersen. That's another example for me of character and personality coming into play.

As I've said, I don't always agree with CMJ but find his comments often give us (me anyway) a context and a base to work from.

In fairness to CMJ, I'm sure if I ever listed My All Time 100 Greatest Cricketers there would be at least two hundred in it! Wink

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Post by Corporalhumblebucket Sat 27 Oct 2012, 6:29 pm

Flintoff (82) vs Pollock (97) sounds a fairly odd judgement. I certainly don't agree with it assuming we are assessing on cricketing grounds rather than ability to attract media headlines.

Haven't decided on Ranji yet but if it is agreed that he invented both the leg glance and the late cut I would say that was a very powerful plus point for him

"Vivek Kaul says: ``English players were hugely built , so it was all muscle power.This guy was a very tiny Indian, he didn’t have big muscles and he didn’t know what to do. So he thought he would invent shots which used the force of the ball. He invented the late cut, leg glance, uppercut, which we thought was done recently with (Sachin) Tendulkar but was all invented or discovered by our great Ranji.’’" (Pushing the boundaries - Derek Johnson)

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Post by Shelsey93 Sat 27 Oct 2012, 6:41 pm

And this is why current and recently retired players are amongst the hardest to judge.

When the emotions of winning the 2005 Ashes were still running high I'd have expected most to have Flintoff in their top 50, Vaughan somewhere in the 70-region. Hey, even the King of Spain in the 90s.


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Post by msp83 Sat 27 Oct 2012, 6:49 pm

That reference to the upper cut is a new one for Ranji that I've come across. But there is enough consensus on him being the first successful batsman with the leg glance and the late cut. And also with the backfoot defense technique. If the upper cut is also credited to Ranji in a way although unlike the other innovations of his it had to be reinvented in the modern era mostly by Tendulkar, his status as an innovator goes up.

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Post by guildfordbat Sat 27 Oct 2012, 7:00 pm

Shelsey93 wrote:And this is why current and recently retired players are amongst the hardest to judge.

When the emotions of winning the 2005 Ashes were still running high I'd have expected most to have Flintoff in their top 50, Vaughan somewhere in the 70-region. Hey, even the King of Spain in the 90s.


Agreed.

Mind you, the King of Spain should always be in the top 100 - if only, so I can hype up batting out the last over from him to scrape a draw for my side when we were 9 wickets down. [Hoggy - told you I liked namedropping! Wink ] To be fair, the future Ashes winner was about fifteen at the time whilst I was almost thirty! Laugh

Thanks, Shelsey - keep flagging the King of Spain and I'll keep telling the story! After all, anyone can hit a four off Vic Marks, eh Mike? Very Happy

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Post by Corporalhumblebucket Sat 27 Oct 2012, 8:09 pm

guildfordbat wrote: Mind you, the King of Spain should always be in the top 100 - if only, so I can hype up batting out the last over from him to scrape a draw for my side when we were 9 wickets down. [Hoggy - told you I liked namedropping! Wink ] To be fair, the future Ashes winner was about fifteen at the time whilst I was almost thirty! Laugh

Guildford - we've have trailers for this crucial moment in history - but never heard the full story. I'm prompted by the Surrey supporters "large rum" moment of last season when 2% of the votes went to "George Edwards at Worcester, when we required two wickets in the final over and he didn't make the batsman play any of the five deliveries". I imagine the King Spain threw in a good assortment of Chinamen, faster balls, slower looping deliveries, top spinners, ones going on with the arm, flippers - and so forth! Any recollection of the specifics of that over? Very Happy

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Post by guildfordbat Sat 27 Oct 2012, 10:02 pm

Corporal - I was beginning to think you would never ask! Very Happy

I saw that vote earlier in the week for George Edwards. Not his or our finest moment of the season but not so dreadful as for some unknown Surrey supporter to publicly ridicule the poor lad (insulting as well to Sylvester Clarke in whose name the ''large rum'' moment is dedicated). Falls away in comparison to the triumphs of the Pietersen double ton, debut centuries for Harinath and Burns within minutes of each other and Batty successfully screaming for an lbw to beat Middlesex (sorry Mike*!). Hopefully, the new coach will get George on the straight and narrow.

Anyway, back to early summer 1988. My team were playing Ripley village in a Sunday friendly. Ripley is a pretty little place somewhere between Guildford and Woking. It was home at the time to guitarist Eric Clapton (whom sadly I've never met or even seen Sad so that's of no relevance whatsoever other than suggesting property prices aren't exactly cheap Wink ) and Ashley Giles, then not even a Prince of Spain but a Guildford under age player on Saturdays and a Ripley regular on Sundays.

In keeping with Sunday friendlies, the ages of both teams ranged from about thirteen to fifty odd. The quality of the players was equally varied. I was somewhere in the middle category on age and no better than that in terms of quality.

Ripley batted first and made around 170-7 before declaring at tea (compulsory to declare at tea time on Sundays, not doing so being viewed as well as a Trevor Chapple daisy cutter). I actually remember the match so well because I was lucky enough to get a fivefer with my slow-medium filfth. I didn't get Giles. He came in about number eight or nine and hit me for a boundary (I don't normally mention that bit). I got taken off soon after that.

We were never really in the hunt and had slumped to about 100-7 when I joined our skipper at the wicket. We looked like we had somehow got out of jail when two quick wickets fell almost at the end (something else traditionally associated with Sunday friendlies). This left me to face the last over, bowled by the future King.

Giles had probably taken two or three wickets. His overs were very economical although we had long since given up going for the runs. He was referred to as ''the lad from Guildford'' which gave him some immediate kudos and respect from our ragtag of a team. However, I can't say there were any obvious signs that he was going to be an Ashes winner. My memory of that final over is of most balls being pitched just outside the off stump and my pretending to play a shot as I deliberately padded the ball away. I took comfort from the umpire at the bowling end being one of our team. My main worry was that our young number eleven hadn't faced a ball and was so desperate to get on strike that there was a good chance of a run out.

Anyway, somehow we survived and the story lived to grow.

I'm pretty sure Giles's dad was a key figure with Ripley CC at the time although I don't believe he played that day. His son graduated through the youth ranks at Guildford to the first team before joining Warks. The rest is history for both of us - although in very different ways. Rolling Eyes Very Happy

* Mike - you might be interested to know that Surrey have recently recruited Stuart Barnes from the Gloucs' backroom staff as a full time fast bowling coach. He had a very short and indistinguished career as a bowler but is apparently well regarded as a coach and has been on the fringes of the England set up.

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Post by Corporalhumblebucket Sat 27 Oct 2012, 11:23 pm

guildfordbat wrote:

..... I actually remember the match so well because I was lucky enough to get a fivefer with my slow-medium filfth......

My memory of that final over is of most balls being pitched just outside the off stump and my pretending to play a shot as I deliberately padded the ball away. I took comfort from the umpire at the bowling end being one of our team.
Guildford - thanks..... clap Characteristic modesty Very Happy Sounds like at least the decent pint moment of the match Whisky

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Post by alfie Sun 28 Oct 2012, 4:36 am

Mike Selig wrote:
alfie wrote:
I don't take Mike's assertion that he might have done less well had he had to play against Argentina and USA too seriously : granted Herbert Dorning was from all accounts a fine bowler for Argentina , as was the legendary Bart King for USA...but the Australians from whom he plundered runs galore had a few handy bowlers too in Trumble , Noble and Jones. Incidentally he did play against at least some of the best American players of the time when he took a team to Philadelphia in 1899 , apparently " with great success".

Very Happy It wasn't really an entirely serious assertion, just that I hadn't had a moan about the way "test" status was (and still is) granted not based on how good a side is, but on how little they will upset the political landscape at the ICC (formerly the Imperial Cricket Conference...).

Well it did cross my mind that there may have been a little tongue in rebel cheek along with the Associate solidarity thing involved in that line...but since this was at least the third recent thread into which you have managed to insert the Argentina/USA reference I thought you'd be disappointed if someone didn't at least nibble at the bait soon Smile

Interesting though to look at reports of the - quite frequent - visits of English and Australian teams to North America around that time. Philadelphia was actually quite strong during the later years of the nineteenth century , even managing a drawn game against a full Australian team in 1878. (and an innings win in 1893 , although that was perhaps due as much as anything to the Australians being rushed straight from boat to railway car to ground and out to play without any rest !). And in 1908 Bart King headed the English first class bowling averages with 87 wickets at 11.03 , though this was to be Philadelpia's last first class tour of England , and heralded the end of the golden age of American cricket.
Still it would seem that at least for a few years the United States would have been capable , especially if Philadelpia and Chicago had combined their resources , of putting out a team capable of competing with the Ashes rivals at least as well as , say , Zimbabwe and Bangladesh of recent years ...
Whether it is down to Mike's political chicanery Smile or just a general lack of interest by the American public , the US never did step onto the Test Match arena...perhaps it is just as well : with the Americans involved , cricket would probably have been radically transformed , so that we would be playing absurdly abbreviated versions , in coloured clothing , with accompanying cheerleaders performing to music...oh...

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Post by alfie Sun 28 Oct 2012, 4:42 am

Mike Selig wrote:In fairness a character reference from the Doctor... Whistle

The irony aspect didn't escape me Smile

But in this case the Doctor was extolling the virtues of someone else rather than pushing his own interests , so I think it might be viewed as a valid comment. In any case I need all the help I can find to counter Guildford's relentless hatchet job ...

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Post by alfie Sun 28 Oct 2012, 4:52 am

Must also say how much I enjoyed Guildford's account of the Battle of Ripley (1988). That last over must have been up there with Onions at Centurion Smile

What a pity no one in those far off days was equipped with a mobile phone/camera and a quick link to you tube...

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Post by Shelsey93 Sun 28 Oct 2012, 9:13 am

I suspect that Mike is right in that politics played a major part in who got Test tours and who didn't.

In Plum Warner's book he mentions that Canada should be getting a full Test tour soon - well, we're still waiting.

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Post by Mike Selig Sun 28 Oct 2012, 10:18 am

In all seriousness, and with apologies for dragging this thread off-topic briefly, there is no doubt that the US, Argentina and Canada had very strong sides in the 2nd half of the 19th century up until (roughly) the first world war. In fact a little known fact is that the first international sporting match (in any sport) was between the US and Canada in cricket, back in 1840s, played in New York to a crowd of over 15,000.

I think the US applied for membership when the Imperial Cricket Conference was created in 1909, and were refused. The 3 founding members were Australia, South Africa and England, and it is strongly suspected that the US at the time were stronger than South Africa.

Of course the subsequent failure of cricket to take off in any of those countries can either validate the ImCC's position (they didn't have the structure to make it viable in the first place) or be traced back to it (with little hope of regular cricket people sort of gave up)...

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Post by Mike Selig Sun 28 Oct 2012, 10:21 am

guildfordbat wrote:
* Mike - you might be interested to know that Surrey have recently recruited Stuart Barnes from the Gloucs' backroom staff as a full time fast bowling coach. He had a very short and indistinguished career as a bowler but is apparently well regarded as a coach and has been on the fringes of the England set up.

Oooh that's good news for Surrey - Barnes has been a consultant to the ECB particularly helpfull (from what various people have said) with bringing on young fast bowlers. He'll be very good for the likes of Meaker and Dernbach I think.

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Post by guildfordbat Sun 28 Oct 2012, 12:03 pm

alfie wrote:Must also say how much I enjoyed Guildford's account of the Battle of Ripley (1988). That last over must have been up there with Onions at Centurion Smile

What a pity no one in those far off days was equipped with a mobile phone/camera and a quick link to you tube...

Thanks, Alfie. If there had been mobile phones/cameras then, I'm pretty sure most of the footage wouldn't have been of the cricket but a long legged young 20 something girlfriend of one of our team who for some reason used to regularly watch our games and put most of us off our shots! Very Happy

Anyway, apologies for the diversion and back to topic with Maurice Tate.

From Carr's Illustrated Dictionary of Extra-Ordinary Cricketers (1983):
''He never bowled a no-ball, and his single wide was a floater carried off by the wind.''

I realise this is rather anoraky and not something you could ever sell tickets for. However, it is still an incredible feat and stat.

Tate played 679 matches and bowled 150,461 balls in his entire career.

By way of contrast - I can't claim it's random as it relatest to one of my least favoured cricketers mad - in his 13 CC matches for Surrey in 2012, Jon Lewis bowled 2,010 balls of which 50 were no-balls.

Building on this anorak factor for Tate, it should be noted that wides and no-balls did not count against a bowler in his bowling analysis until circa the late 1970s. Thus, an over conceding 4 wides and a no-ball would still be recorded as a maiden provided no runs came off the bat. If such extras had counted against a bowler then (and they always should have done in my opinion), Tate's figures would have been better still compared with his contemporaries.

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Post by Corporalhumblebucket Sun 28 Oct 2012, 5:50 pm

About Bakewell: "Now, at 71, she still turns out for the Redoubtables club side in Surrey, for whom she opens the bowling, but only because she helps keep the run rate down, she said."

Clearly someone who loves the game. As well as holder of some excellent records century / 10 wickets in a test. And the double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets. Her test average at shade under 60 achieved over 12 tests is even higher than that of Ken Barrington. Wink. Just feel uncomfortable in that she was inducted into ICC HoF alongside the Lara. Does feel a bit like comparing apples and pears...

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Post by msp83 Sun 28 Oct 2012, 6:14 pm

That no no ball stat about Tate is certainly very impressive.
Guildford, forget Lewis, the Indian leg spinner Amit Mishra bowled 15 no balls in a single innings in a recent Duleep trophy match and he in fact manages at least 1 in every 3 overs pretty regularly.

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Post by guildfordbat Sun 28 Oct 2012, 8:45 pm

Corporalhumblebucket wrote: About Bakewell: "Now, at 71, she still turns out for the Redoubtables club side in Surrey, for whom she opens the bowling, but only because she helps keep the run rate down, she said."

Clearly someone who loves the game ....

So do you, Corporal, but you're not going to get a YES vote from me. Smile

Look, I can't buy into anto any of this support for Bakewell and head spinning turmoil being experienced by poor Shelsey.

She's not even on the radar compared to Clark and also lags behind Heyhoe-Flint. Let us remember Clark went onto our re-consideration list whilst Heyhoe-Flint was filed under ''discarded''. I can't comprehend how anyone who voted NO to these two can support Bakewell's claim. As I mentioned in the week to Shelsey, I have no problem with anyone who voted YES to the earlier two doing the same for Bakewell if they believe she measures up although I can't see it.

Bakewell played a mere dozen tests. She cashed in against the West Indies and New Zealand who were certainly weak sides then but had a harder time against the much stronger Australia. Throughout this time, it should be noted that Heyhoe-Flint was the face and voice of women's cricket in England. Apart from still turn out for a local side in late middle age and beyond (presumably for her own pleasure), post her England playing days Bakewell's done very little for the game as far as I can tell; clearly in marked contrast to Clark.

Of all the names we've raised as possibles from the day Fists first opened this magic box, Bakewell's has never cropped up. I think we're kidding ourselves if we're suddenly trying to make out she's an overlooked great of the game worthy of a place in the HoF.

As Kwini implied, it was surely a pc initiative by the ICC to very belatedly induct Bakewell into their HoF. If she was going to be in, she should have been there from the start. As I say, she's done nothing meaningful since then.

Another hatchet job, eh Alfie? Wink

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Post by msp83 Sun 28 Oct 2012, 8:57 pm

Bakewell had started her test career with a hundred against Australia. On top of her 113, she scored 37 in the 2nd innings and although she didn't pick up a wicket, effected 2 runouts and took a catch.

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Post by msp83 Sun 28 Oct 2012, 9:02 pm

Bakewell scored a ODI ton against Australia in the 1973 WC final.
So I don't think she was as poor as it is made out over here against Australia.
Her overall record is someting that makes a very strong case indeed, with bat, and ball.

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Post by Corporalhumblebucket Sun 28 Oct 2012, 9:18 pm

Guildford - I was not particularly intending to suggest that Bakewell's playing club cricket at 70+ should help gain her entry to the HoF. But I was intrigued by the practicalities of it. To quote from "The Guide to Real Village Cricket":

"When I passed forty I began to wonder why drives which I would normally intercept with ease were beginning to streak past me. I tried a few experimental exercises, and discovered that my lowest reach petered out some six inches from the ground....

When I reached fifty I used to field at mid off, considered a safe hiding place for the unfleet of foot. Once a batsman drove the ball past me and I turned and trundled after it. But when I was a couple of yards from where it had come to rest the lithe form of a sixth form sibling sprinted past me, and plucked it from my grasp. He had come from somewhere in the region of the third man boundary......"


Not entirely sure where that leave the 70 year old! But maybe Bakewell keeps herself fitter than the average village cricketer who, according to the above tome, has spent multitudinous hours down the White Hart... Very Happy

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 28 Oct 2012, 9:28 pm

Dear Frank Woolley,
After your 58,959 runs, 2,066 wickets and 1,018 catches, not to mention your triple ton in 205 minutes (one-day schmone-day), there is a lobby to induct a lady into the 606v2 Hall Of Fame who only played a dozen Tests but also did well in the one-day game. Ooh, and I should say, you are excluded from that same exalted company.
Your thoughts please?
Sincerely,
kwini

"ere kwini: '@#$%^&*?*&^%$#@?@#&*%^****' and you can quote me."

Thank you Frank, That's what I thought you'd say.

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Post by Corporalhumblebucket Sun 28 Oct 2012, 9:37 pm

Kwini - the problem is that Woolley only scored 145 centuries.... Rolling Eyes

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 28 Oct 2012, 9:44 pm

Wink

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Post by Mike Selig Sun 28 Oct 2012, 9:52 pm

To be fair, Bakewell only played a limitted number of tests due to circumstances beyond her control. It was established whilst voting for Richards that that shouldn't necessarily be counted against her.

Also, to be fair, whilst discussing Woolley, the consensus was that an extraordinary first class career was not enough, and his record at test level was poor - Bakewell's is of course excellent. Again, on that basis, Ranji should be wary (brilliant first class record, but test record which IMO doesn't stand up to scrutiny).

However on Bakewell I do side with Guildford - she lags behind Heyhoe-Flint who was a reluctant no, and considerably behind Belinda Clark who was an easy yes. She is fairly much a non-starter from where I am sitting.

Clare Taylor on the other hand should be considered - first woman to be nominated Wisden cricketer of the year for one....

Mike Selig

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Post by guildfordbat Sun 28 Oct 2012, 10:03 pm

msp83 wrote:Bakewell scored a ODI ton against Australia in the 1973 WC final.
So I don't think she was as poor as it is made out over here against Australia.
Her overall record is someting that makes a very strong case indeed, with bat, and ball.

I accept Mike's point about the limited number of international matches played by Bakewell but would still flag her averages against England's best opposition at the time. In matches against Australia, Bakewell averaged 34 in ODIs and 32 in Tests.

Each to their own (which is part of the beauty of this thread) but she doesn't even reach my starting grid.

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