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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 Shelsey93 Thu 08 Nov 2012, 12:03 pm

Hobbs v Hendren v Woolley - Where does Patsy fit in?

The careers of Sir Jack Hobbs, Patsy Hendren and Frank Woolley almost directly overlap each other - Hobbs played FC cricket from 1905 to 1934, Hendren from 1907 to 1937 and Woolley from 1906 to 1938. But where does Hendren fit in between Hobbs - a member of the HoF's original 30 - and Woolley, who was almost unanimously rejected on the grounds of his mediocre Test efforts.

Overall Records

In first-class cricket Hobbs and Hendren have scarily near identical averages - Hobbs averaging 50.70 from 834 games, as against Hendren's 50.80 from 833. Woolley's is considerably lower - in his 978 games his average was 40.77. An average of 50 should be seen as a superb effort, even considering the fact that, particularly after the First World War, this was a 'golden age' for batting. Amongst English players of the period, only Hammond (whose career started and finished later) had a higher average. The fact that the likes of Ponsford and McCabe were averaging better in Australia probably reflects that county pitches in England were more difficult to bat on.

Of the three Hobbs clearly adapted best to Tests. Whilst his Test average of 57 was higher than his FC average by a full 7 runs, Hendren's (47.63) and Woolley's (36.07) are 3-4 runs lower. Hobbs's effort here is clearly outstanding, but that shouldn't take away from the fact that Hendren's figure is itself a fine effort - it matches that of current and former England run machines Alastair Cook and Geoff Boycott, and is a run better than that of Hall of Famer PBH May.

Number of Centuries

Perhaps the most eye-catching figure associated with all three is the number of first-class hundreds - Hobbs has a world record 199, Hendren scored 170 and I suspect Woolley's 145 effected the decision of the ICC selectors.

But perhaps we shouldn't read too much into these. Clearly all three played at a time when more FC cricket was played in England than anywhere else or at any other time. Hence, it has always been difficult for those not playing county cricket to pass 100 100s (only Bradman without a county career has), and in the modern world it is near impossible even for county players and totally impossible for international players. We should also consider that the FC status of a number of matches in this period is somewhat questionable. Nevertheless, the figures are not to be sniffed at and demonstrate at least that Hendren was amongst the very best English batsmen of the period.

Perhaps of slight concern is that Hendren has only 7 100s to his name in Test cricket (to Hobbs's 15 and Woolley's 7).

Record v Australia

Australia is usually cited as having been the strongest opponent England faced at the time although they were perhaps less dangerous with the ball than with the bat. Against them, Hendren's average was just 39.54, with 3 100s. This reflects some early struggles, but he did have success against the Old Enemy in the middle part of his career - he played an important supporting role in England's 1-0 victory in 1926, scoring 127* in a big England total at Lord's. You do, however, get the impression that at this stage he was a lesser attraction in a fine England XI - Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Woolley, Rhodes, Tate and Larwood were also in the team. Hendren again had a fine time in '28-'29, although Hammond's 905 runs will see his figure of 472 runs forever consigned to a footnote.

The pattern continues for the other two - Hobbs averages 54 in Ashes Tests and Woolley 33.

Defining Moments

A lack of defining moments is perhaps an area of concern with Hendren. We have seen that quite a few of his Ashes runs tended to come when others were in the runs, and indeed few of his Test 100s can really be seen as crucial to England's fortunes. His first, v SA in 1924, came against a team England would have expected to beat and followed 83 from Sutcliffe; his second, in the same series was in a drawn 3-day match which didn't get past the first innings.

If anything his 169 at Melbourne in '28-'29 should be his highlight. England won by 675 runs, but things may have been different but for Hendren's knock. Coming in at 161-4, he was supported by Chapman and Larwood in getting England to 521. After being kept out in the field for a long time, the Aussies had a nightmare with the bat, Larwood taking 6-32 as they were bowled out for 122.

There is also a double-hundred to his name - against WI in '29-'30. Whilst it may be tempting to write off West Indies, Learie Constantine took the new ball and they had a few decent batsmen including George Headley, so they were certainly no pushover. Indeed, WI took a first innings lead (with Hendren top scoring for England), before Hendren's second-innings partnership with Les Ames of 237 set up an England win. He also top scored in both innings of the 3rd Test in Guyana, which West Indies won.

Conclusions

All of the statistical evidence points to Hendren being somewhere between Hobbs and Woolley both in Test matches and in first-class matches, but the question remains of which side of the border he should be placed.

Overall, I'd argue that he has a compelling case as a first-class run machine, whose Test record stacks up far better than Woolley's. Nevertheless, it is also clear to me that were he to go into the Hall of Fame he would be a level below a lot of his team mates - certainly my impression is that he was a supporting act rather than a leading light in the great England team of the 1920s.

In the last couple of days there has been some debate as to whether FC runs from this period should be considered more important because of the much greater regard in which Championship cricket was held by the general public at the time. My argument would be Yes, but only to some extent - given the relative lack of Tests and lack of Test playing nations, more attention must be paid to how a player performed domestically. But Test cricket would still have been the level at which the players were challenged most, and it would appear to me to be wrong to grant a Hall of Fame berth to anyone who can't demonstrate that they were good enough to perform against the very best when the opportunities arose.

I'll finish this post with Plum Warner's thoughts on Hendren:

' The name of Hendren is closely associated with that of J.W. Hearne in the Middlesex eleven, but he is a different type of player. He is a far more brilliant batsman, and when he is going there are few cricketers better worth watching. He is an extraordinarily powerful driver, and a master of the hook shot.

A fine fielder, he excels in any position, and he plays the game with a joie de vivre which is a tonic to his colleagues. He began disappointingly in the two Test Matches in which he played in 1921, but he subsequently did very well on tours in Australia, and on occasions in England. It is the fashion to say that his record in Test Matches in only moderate; but figures show the contrary. In thirteen years after the war he has made over 3,000 runs in three seasons, and five times over 2,500, and has long passed Grace's number of centuries. He was a fine 'soccer' player and once represented England at outside right in a 'Victory' international. Hendren is a great stroke player, and he is batting almost as well as ever. He seems to improve with age, and his value to Middlesex cannot be measured. He and Hearne have 'carried' the side for many years. '


Last edited by Shelsey93 on Thu 08 Nov 2012, 7:27 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by alfie Thu 08 Nov 2012, 12:06 pm

Must confess on first seeing the Titmus nomination I shook my head , albeit sadly...but I am impressed by the case guildford has put forward (so much so I am ready to forgive him for putting the boot into the reputation of a certain aristocratic Indian gentleman Smile )
Have a few memories of Titmus from long ago - determined and courageous are words I would offer for his batting. The runs he made against Australia in Perth 1974 were very hard earned indeed ! Certainly a cricketer I would love to see honoured , if we can justify it. But that may present a problem in terms of consistency and precedent ?
Promise to give this one a lot more thought .

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Post by dummy_half Thu 08 Nov 2012, 12:48 pm

On Woolmer, I'm looking for evidence of innovation and lasting impact, same as the discussions on Rhodes and Jayasuriya. Just being a good to very good coach would leave him well short of the HoF, and I don't think his coaching record in objective terms puts him into the HoF (that is, although he had a reputation for coaching excellence, there isn't much silverware to back it up - more David Moyes than Alex Fergusson).

Oh, and on Titmus and the oddity of being one player that connects Bodyline and ODI cricket, it is possible than Brian Close also managed this (haven't proven it yet, but he may have played against either Allen or Wyatt in the first couple of years of his County career).

Indeed, in some ways I think Close and Titmus are two players of the same mould - starting as young players in the late 40s, peaking during the 60s but continuing to play FC cricket until the 80s (Close played his last County match in 1977, but his last FC match against a Touring team in Scarborough in 1986). Titmus appears to have been both the statistically better player and having the better international career, plus perhaps easier to get on with, although Botham in his autobiogs highlight's Close as a very important figure in his formative years at Somerset. Oh, and Close was a good enugh footballer to have played for Leeds United (as an amateur).

I like the quirky records as stats, like Titmus's amazingly bad conversion of 50s to 100s and Willis's failure to ever take 10 wickets in a Test match. For Brian Close, the quirk is based on him being both the youngest England player and one of the oldest (no-one subsequently has played when older, and only Wilfred Rhodes had a longer span) - I can't think of any players who averaged less than one Test per year in a span of 10 years + (at least that wasn't war-affected), and certainly there can't be any who managed it in a period in excess of 20 years (Close played 22 Tests in 27 years).

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Post by Hoggy_Bear Thu 08 Nov 2012, 2:38 pm

Right,
I did mention to Guildford that I might put forward a case for Bob Willis invoking the spirit of Brian Statham in his defence, and I may well still do that, given sufficient time and the neccessary need closer to voting time. But, for now, I would like to give the thoughts of Len Hutton on Bob Willis, a snippet of which I quoted in an earlier post, as I feel they give an eloquent and succinct appraisal of many of the points which have been raised in support of Willis' case as well as against it, from the viewpoint of a bona fide all-time great player and captain. (I Promise I'll look at the other candidates a bit more after this, honest Very Happy )

"Every so often cricket, praise be, throws up the complete individualist, the exception to every coaching rule. Bob [Willis] is strictly of the non-classical school. He is, to be blunt, all wrong. He runs too far, with a suggestion that his limbs must be in eternal protest, and his action is not right. When I have watched his laboured run and delivery I have been at a loss to account for his huge success of over 300 Test wickets. In comparison with Larwood, Lindwall, Holding and Trueman, he is the shire horse to the Derby thoroughbread, but no one has had a bigger heart or more determination. As he got older he became more accurate, which is a telling factor in his favour.
Willis has emerged from dark passages of injury and non-success with his spirit and resolve fiercer than ever, which speaks volumes for his character. He must have unusual depths of willpower and is entitled to much credit and respect; he has become the symbol of the player who triumphs over adversity. And it takes a strong man to do that. Whether he could have stood up to the old programme when 1200 to 1500 overs was the norm is open to doubt but, in the final analysis, Willis has been a pillar of strength in an era when England have relied heavily on the efforts of a handful of players. As a captain, Bob will not be remembered as a leading tactitian and he had no talent to spare in his teams. Invariably he was inhibited by a shortage of runs, but at home and abroad he does not seem to have put a diplomatic foot wrong, an achievement in itself. He showed thought for his players; an excellent sign. His action at Lord's in 1983 in giving Foster a go at New Zealand's tail when he could have conceivably added to his own tally of wickets was generous. He has had his cool moments with the media, which surprises me. On that score, speaking from personal experience, I don't think Bob knows the half of it! He ought not to worry. So often he has had the last laugh"


'Gavaskar and other greats' Fifty Years in Cricket 1984

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Post by guildfordbat Thu 08 Nov 2012, 6:36 pm

Dummy - in terms of character Brian Close is right up there.

His standing up to the West Indies pacemen in the early 1960s and then again in the mid '70s were supreme acts of bravery and dedication to the team cause.

Whilst I acknowledge that Titmus was a very good rather than a great player, I believe Close's playing career and stats sadly leave him a little too short. Test wise, just 4 fifties and never got past 70 with less than 20 wickets. I fear that would be pushing water uphill here. Very Happy

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Post by guildfordbat Thu 08 Nov 2012, 6:56 pm

Shelsey93 wrote:

There is also a double-hundred to his name - against WI in '29-'30. Whilst it may be tempting to write off West Indies, Charlie Griffith and Learie Constantine took the new ball so they were certainly no pushover.

Shelsey - interesting article, thanks.

I was a bit surprised though to read of Charlie Griffith bowling to Patsy Hendren - as he was tormenting England batsmen in the 1960s he must have started very young! Wink Having checked, I see your bowler is actually Herman Griffith - no, I had never heard of him either!

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Post by Shelsey93 Thu 08 Nov 2012, 7:25 pm

Aha. I thought it looked a bit wrong, but didn't double check for some reason!! Very Happy

Will edit!

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 08 Nov 2012, 7:34 pm

Would have thought that a good portion of Close's legacy will be as a great captain.
Underused by England and certainly under-appreciated by the MCC who tended to pick him for his bloody-minded attitude as much as the quality of his cricket.
Sure if he had played for (name your southern county - but not that far south!) he'd've played more often for England when in his cricketing prime.

Great sportsman but ultimately unfulfilled.


Would also say that measuring Freddie Titmus's batting contribution by his conversion of 50's to 100's is completely missing the point of his value to the team - a great County all-rounder but no better than a very dependable No. 8 for England. And realistically, how many tons do you expect from your Number Eight?

Of course, that observation may not enhance his HOF credentials . . . . . . .

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Post by dummy_half Thu 08 Nov 2012, 7:38 pm

GB
I agree that Close's playing record falls short even of Titmus's, and certainly would be too strong a negative for any HoF consideration to be serious - I didn't realise his international record was quite so thin until I looked up his details.

I wonder if the problem I'm having with Titmus is that his folk hero status didn't spread to Yorkshire (where I was raised) - we had stories of Brian Close instead (most particularly stories of players caught in the covers via Close's head at short leg).

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Post by guildfordbat Thu 08 Nov 2012, 7:46 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:

Would also say that measuring Freddie Titmus's batting contribution by his conversion of 50's to 100's is completely missing the point of his value to the team - a great County all-rounder but no better than a very dependable No. 8 for England. And realistically, how many tons do you expect from your Number Eight?

Of course, that observation may not enhance his HOF credentials . . . . . . .

Kwini - I consider that observation to be more than fine in the context of the case that has been made.

A highly brave and valuable team man who displayed irrepressible spirit when faced with adversity on and off the pitch.

A battling fifty can be more important than a flowing hundred.

As Titmus himself said in his appraisal of a youngster who had scored a dashing century against Middlesex at Lord's, ''I like to see someone make a bad 'undred before I make my mind up.''

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Post by guildfordbat Thu 08 Nov 2012, 7:50 pm

dummy_half wrote:GB

I wonder if the problem I'm having with Titmus is that his folk hero status didn't spread to Yorkshire (where I was raised) - we had stories of Brian Close instead (most particularly stories of players caught in the covers via Close's head at short leg).

Dummy - all I can say in response is that it takes an awful lot for a Middlesex player to impress a Surrey member and supporter with a user name like mine! Very Happy

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Post by dummy_half Thu 08 Nov 2012, 7:54 pm

Kwini

You misunderstood why I commented on Titmus's 50 to 100 conversion rate - it was just that it struck me as a very odd record, not one that carries any significant negative weight in my consideration of his HoF credentials. After all, it is clear that on purely playing terms he falls some way short of HoF membership as a bowler who could bat a bit, so we are considering him in terms of character, longevity and general 'folk hero' status - after all, I've never heard a song saying 'kin 'ell it's John Emburey' Very Happy

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 08 Nov 2012, 8:02 pm

All I ever heard about John Emburey in the non-cricketing sense was Simon Hughes's description of the size of his plonker.

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Post by msp83 Thu 08 Nov 2012, 8:10 pm

I doubt as to how much extensive is the cultural reach of Titmus' folk hero status. Before this debate all that I had heard of him was in relation with that horrific mishap in the West Indies. The debate has most certainly expanded my otherwise very limited understanding of him but I still am struggling to look passed his international record. Of course Titmus was a man of character just like Brian Close was. But there are others who have shown remarkable spirit to face down disadvantagious circumstances and overcame setbacks to leave a mark on the game. His terrific consistency in county cricket and a massively extensive career are factors that certainly come into consideration along with the strength of his character.

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Post by guildfordbat Thu 08 Nov 2012, 8:12 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:All I ever heard about John Emburey in the non-cricketing sense was Simon Hughes's description of the size of his plonker.
Shocked

For the record, I make no claims of any sort in this regard for Titmus.

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Post by dummy_half Thu 08 Nov 2012, 8:16 pm

guildfordbat wrote:
kwinigolfer wrote:All I ever heard about John Emburey in the non-cricketing sense was Simon Hughes's description of the size of his plonker.
Shocked

For the record, I make no claims of any sort in this regard for Titmus.

Especially if the boat propellor had been a few feet further along... Erm

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Post by msp83 Thu 08 Nov 2012, 8:21 pm

Tiger Pataudi for instance, played most of his international test career with an impaired vission. He is regarded among India's best captains was a fearless batsman, a challenger of conventions and a highly respected voice in Indian cricket. But I doubt whether we can look passed his test batting average of 34 if we have to consider him for our HoF.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 08 Nov 2012, 8:25 pm

And if Half Man Half Biscuit had heard about it, the title of the song might have been completely different . . . . . .

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Post by guildfordbat Thu 08 Nov 2012, 8:39 pm

dummy_half wrote:
guildfordbat wrote:
kwinigolfer wrote:All I ever heard about John Emburey in the non-cricketing sense was Simon Hughes's description of the size of his plonker.
Shocked

For the record, I make no claims of any sort in this regard for Titmus.

Especially if the boat propellor had been a few feet further along... Erm

As well as poor Titmus, I dread to think of the effect that would have had on Cowdrey given his fear of the newspaper headline: ''England captain's wife chops off deputy's toes!''. Very Happy

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Post by Corporalhumblebucket Thu 08 Nov 2012, 8:47 pm

guildfordbat wrote: Dummy - all I can say in response is that it takes an awful lot for a Middlesex player to impress a Surrey member and supporter with a user name like mine! Very Happy

Interesting that two staunch Surrey men (Guildford & Corporal) are going all out to advocate the case for two very longserving Middlesex players (Titmus & Hendren). If nothing else shows how scrupulously fair minded Surrey supporters are... Wink

The real underlying question for me with both Woolmer and Titmus is how to make comparisons. I am hoping that when Mike makes the case for Woolmer that will enable us to get a sense of what sets him apart from most/all other good coaches. With Titmus I am finding it quite difficult to work out where to place him. Should we simply vote subjectively on the basis of liking his admirable story. Or should we be trying to compare extent of spirit (eg maybe he is below Bob Appleyard who had to contend with a whole series of tragedies in his personal life, and above Frank Chester who showed great determination in becoming a world class umpire when his playing career was ended by loss of an arm). I'd welcome any thoughts on what is a sensible basis for deciding.... Erm

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Post by guildfordbat Thu 08 Nov 2012, 8:51 pm

msp83 wrote:Tiger Pataudi for instance, played most of his international test career with an impaired vission. He is regarded among India's best captains was a fearless batsman, a challenger of conventions and a highly respected voice in Indian cricket. But I doubt whether we can look passed his test batting average of 34 if we have to consider him for our HoF.

Msp - I make no claim that Titmus is the only player to have faced adversity. It is the horrific nature of it plus - even more - the irrepressible spirit he showed in overcoming it plus - even more again - everything else about the man on the pitch for thirty-three years, including a Test career lasting almost twenty years, and off it for even longer.

I would also have reservations about anyone called Tiger! Wink

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 08 Nov 2012, 9:05 pm

How relevant is the absence of Freddie's toes to his HOF credentials?
The amputations occurred when he was 35, not exactly in the first flush of cricketing youth, even for him.
Yes he came back at the County level and performed as if he had a full footful, but his only Test experience after that was way later.

I'm inclined to believe that, if he was truly a Hall Of Famer calibre player, he'd have established a more compelling record earlier.

I feel as if there's a County Hall Of Fame and then something extra, and for me, I'm yet to be convinced he really had that enduring Test quality - we have talked about Willis and his lack of ten fors, well Titmus too. In fact only got more than five wickets in a Test Match six times.

And I love Fred Titmus!

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Post by guildfordbat Thu 08 Nov 2012, 9:16 pm

Corporalhumblebucket wrote:

The real underlying question for me with both Woolmer and Titmus is how to make comparisons. I am hoping that when Mike makes the case for Woolmer that will enable us to get a sense of what sets him apart from most/all other good coaches. With Titmus I am finding it quite difficult to work out where to place him. Should we simply vote subjectively on the basis of liking his admirable story. Or should we be trying to compare extent of spirit (eg maybe he is below Bob Appleyard who had to contend with a whole series of tragedies in his personal life, and above Frank Chester who showed great determination in becoming a world class umpire when his playing career was ended by loss of an arm). I'd welcome any thoughts on what is a sensible basis for deciding.... Erm

As I mentioned earlier, I'll leave Mike to start things off for Woolmer.

As for Titmus, I believe we should avoid a ''my nominee faced more adversity than your's'' competition. Just consider everyone on an individual basis including any adversity faced, the response to it plus - most importantly - everything else about them. It's an individual decision for each poster about each nominee - essentially, is there enough there? Have I got there for Titmus? Back to you all ....

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Post by guildfordbat Thu 08 Nov 2012, 9:22 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:

And I love Fred Titmus!

Kwini - maybe, just maybe, you need to ask yourself why that is and consider if it shouldn't come into play for our HoF ....

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Post by dummy_half Thu 08 Nov 2012, 10:41 pm

MSP

We're getting close to the end of candidates who make it into the HoF purely on playing record (at least until Sachin announces his retirement), so it is certainly worth you suggesting someone on the basis of the 'something different' - Titmus is an interesting nominee in that regard because he had a remarkable career and had to batle back from adversity and injury.

I'd be interested to hear more about Pataudi, to learn whether the 'some thing(s) different' about him were sufficiently compelling to counter a less than stellar career average (noting as well that Hanif Mohammed made the HoF on the basis of a number of excellent innings within a career that didn't produce stunning statistics - some allowance was made for the playing conditions early in his career).

As others have commented, one of the purposes of this thread is to learn more about the nominees, and you (along with Biltong) can bring a different, less English, perspective to our considerations, so I for one would certainly welcome any nominations you might come up with.

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Post by guildfordbat Thu 08 Nov 2012, 10:49 pm

msp83 wrote:I doubt as to how much extensive is the cultural reach of Titmus' folk hero status.

Just to mention that Fred Titmus died on the same day (23 March 2011) as Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor. The following week there were some complaints in the press and on the internet that her death had been given greater coverage than that of Titmus. Shocked

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Post by guildfordbat Thu 08 Nov 2012, 10:49 pm

dummy_half wrote:MSP

We're getting close to the end of candidates who make it into the HoF purely on playing record (at least until Sachin announces his retirement), so it is certainly worth you suggesting someone on the basis of the 'something different' - Titmus is an interesting nominee in that regard because he had a remarkable career and had to batle back from adversity and injury.

I'd be interested to hear more about Pataudi, to learn whether the 'some thing(s) different' about him were sufficiently compelling to counter a less than stellar career average (noting as well that Hanif Mohammed made the HoF on the basis of a number of excellent innings within a career that didn't produce stunning statistics - some allowance was made for the playing conditions early in his career).

As others have commented, one of the purposes of this thread is to learn more about the nominees, and you (along with Biltong) can bring a different, less English, perspective to our considerations, so I for one would certainly welcome any nominations you might come up with.

thumbsup

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Post by Mike Selig Thu 08 Nov 2012, 11:28 pm

Apologies about leaving things hanging on Woolmer. Although I haven't read recent contributions in great detail it seems debate on the other candidates is proceeding serenely enough without me.

Thankfully the week-end is fast approaching - whilst the France Cricket thing is still ongoing, it will mean I can balance it with 606 duties rather than (actualy) work... Very Happy

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Post by guildfordbat Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:16 am

Besides Bob Woolmer, the one nominee we haven't said much about so far is Jeff Thomson.

There's a thread on Cricinfo called The Confectionery Stall with articles from Andy Zaltman under the tagline of stats, satire, whimsy. He sometimes overstretches a point but more than compensates for me with his choice of topics and humour. He's recently written about Thomson and I thought I would share it with you.

Zaltman set himself the task of selecting The Test Stars But One Day Flops XI. I'll let him take over and leave you to judge - I make no apology for his reference to a certain Trinidadian Wink although I accept it is of little relevance either way to the Thomson case -

''10. Jeff Thomson (Australia): 51 Tests, 200 wickets, average 28.0; 50 ODIs, 55 wickets, average 35.3.

Another deeply curious one-day failure. Thomson was, for a while, not only the most petrifying sight in the history of cricket, but one of the most terrifying things in the entire 1970s world, alongside the lingering threat of nuclear war, fictional shark star Jaws , and Margaret Thatcher's smile.

But in one-day international cricket, he was basically useless. Of the 32 bowlers who had taken 35 or more ODI wickets by the end of Thomson's career in 1985, the Sydney Slinger had the second-worst average, better only than Viv Richards, who at that stage in his career made up for his bowling average of 37 - still handy for an occasional support bowler - by being comfortably the best one-day international batsmen in the universe.

Thomson also had the sixth-worst economy rate, and third-worst strike rate. Oddly, the third-best strike rate in those early ODI years was boasted by part-time West Indian tweakman Larry Gomes. It is probably fair to say that, given the choice, most batsmen would still have chosen to face the taciturn Trinidadian's gentle spinners. In fact, his success may have been down to batsmen making the not unreasonable choice to get out to him before having their faces rearranged by a 95mph nose-tickler from Garner or Holding.

Thomson only once took four wickets in an ODI innings, and even then he conceded 67 runs (against West Indies in February 1978, at that time one of the most expensive analyses by a Test-nation bowler in an ODI). Most of his pace contemporaries in a glorious era for flinging round leather-coloured balls as fast as humanly possible were also significant and often decisive influences in one-dayers. Thomson was slightly less useful than Jeremy Coney.
''

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Post by dummy_half Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:30 am

Somehow, Gomes always seems to get a mention laughing

I wonder how many of his wickets were catches in the deep - after all, most batsmen would think they stood a better chance of hitting Gomes into the stand than they did Garner.

As I said before about Thomson, other than him being arguably the fastest bowler ever, he was definitely the second of the two leading Aussie pacemen of the time. Oh, and he managed a nice quirky stat - no wickets in his debut match, then career best for both innings and match returns in his second Test. While I think he falls a bit short of HoF level, to describe anyone (other than Derek Pringle) as slightly less useful than Jeremy Coney is unduly harsh...

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Post by Corporalhumblebucket Fri 09 Nov 2012, 1:37 am

For sheer terrorising impact on the game, I have a feeling that Thomson might just about get a vote from me. If so, it would not be the most enthusiastic vote I have ever given...

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Post by msp83 Fri 09 Nov 2012, 6:55 am

dummy_half wrote:MSP

We're getting close to the end of candidates who make it into the HoF purely on playing record (at least until Sachin announces his retirement), so it is certainly worth you suggesting someone on the basis of the 'something different' - Titmus is an interesting nominee in that regard because he had a remarkable career and had to batle back from adversity and injury.

I'd be interested to hear more about Pataudi, to learn whether the 'some thing(s) different' about him were sufficiently compelling to counter a less than stellar career average (noting as well that Hanif Mohammed made the HoF on the basis of a number of excellent innings within a career that didn't produce stunning statistics - some allowance was made for the playing conditions early in his career).

As others have commented, one of the purposes of this thread is to learn more about the nominees, and you (along with Biltong) can bring a different, less English, perspective to our considerations, so I for one would certainly welcome any nominations you might come up with.
My first nomination as you might have seen above is for Anil Kumble, and besides a lot of other things, his playing record and overall impact on Indian cricket will make a significant part of my case for him when that will be taken up at some point.
Now on Pataudi, after I did the bit of research on him in the context of the Titmus debate, even I have been feeling at least we should take a look at him at some point. Pataudi, along with Sourav Ganguly, is considered India's greatest captains. (is there a chance for considering the Dada in our debate at some point for being a superb and impactful captain who had a pretty decent test record and a fine one in ODIs?) Pataudi is credited with instilling self belief in the Indian team, engineering a series win in New Zealand, making the side competitive and setting up the path for the real emergence of India's spin greats. Besides being an effective batsman he was a superb fielder, one of the best that India have had in the covers. Fielding greats like Eknath Solkar flourished under his leadership. And just for comparison, his entire test career was played with propper sight only in one eye.

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Post by dummy_half Fri 09 Nov 2012, 9:08 am

MSP
Thanks - certainly Pataudi looks an interesting person to discuss further when the time comes.
Ganguly and Kumble also could be interesting nominees - not sure that either are particularly well loved in England (or at least by the English media), so it might be a chance to set the record straight.

Back to the current nominees and Hendren -
It's clear that his career acheivements should put him somewhere between his contemporaries Hobbs and Woolley. My question then is why is he not in the ICC HoF and generally not considered as much of a legendary figure in the game as Woolley?

Is it a case of 'style over substance' that promoted Woolley's case, or is there some yet to be discussed negative in Hendren's back story?

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Post by guildfordbat Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:21 pm

dummy_half wrote:MSP
Thanks - certainly Pataudi looks an interesting person to discuss further when the time comes.
Ganguly and Kumble also could be interesting nominees - not sure that either are particularly well loved in England (or at least by the English media), so it might be a chance to set the record straight.

Back to the current nominees and Hendren -
It's clear that his career acheivements should put him somewhere between his contemporaries Hobbs and Woolley. My question then is why is he not in the ICC HoF and generally not considered as much of a legendary figure in the game as Woolley?

Is it a case of 'style over substance' that promoted Woolley's case, or is there some yet to be discussed negative in Hendren's back story?

Dummy - I agree with your comments to msp about India nominees.

Msp - I would be particularly interested to learn more about Pataudi. I followed the India Test series in this country in '71 very closely but that was a little after his time. I do though remember very well those to whom you say Pataudi left a legacy, especially the spin and fielding greats.

Dummy - I've wondered the same about Hendren. I would [/i]guess[i] he lost out on stats to Hobbs and style to Woolley and, with there being a limit on spaces - particularly from early years (intentional or not), he just got squeezed out.

I think he's a bit unlucky that we seem to be doubting him just because of his Test average (almost 40, so certainly not bad) against Australia. His overall Test average was a bit over 47, with averages touching 55 and 65 respectively against South Africa and West Indies. If his overall Test average had stayed exactly the same but slightly higher against Australia and slightly lower against both the two other nations, there would not appear to be any issue.

This prompts a question of my own - for anyone, although particularly interested if Hoggy has views given his knowledge of Test history, - how much worse than Australia were South Africa and West Indies during Hendren's time?

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Post by Shelsey93 Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:47 pm

Well, my impression is that Australia and England were clearly the best two teams - obviously Australia were particularly strong in the '30s and England in the '20s.

If we limit our timespan to the inter-war years we can see that SA won only 7 of the 50 Tests they played in that time, 2 of those against NZ.

WI appear to me to have been mercurial even then. They had some very good players (Headley, Constantine and a few others), but they too won few Tests - 4 out of 22.

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Post by Hoggy_Bear Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:56 pm

Shelsey93 wrote:Well, my impression is that Australia and England were clearly the best two teams - obviously Australia were particularly strong in the '30s and England in the '20s.

If we limit our timespan to the inter-war years we can see that SA won only 7 of the 50 Tests they played in that time, 2 of those against NZ.

WI appear to me to have been mercurial even then. They had some very good players (Headley, Constantine and a few others), but they too won few Tests - 4 out of 22.

If I were to offer a modern comparison, I'd say both teams were about the level of the 1990s Zimbabweans. One or two star players and a couple of decent back-ups able, on their day, to give the best teams a good fight, but not likely to beat them all that often.

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Post by alfie Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:58 pm

I think there was a fair difference in standard , guildford.

South Africa were somewhat handicapped by not playing on turf at home until about 1930. England generally sent under strength teams on tours up to then , and I note Australia beat SA five nil in 1931 , and it was 1935 before they won a Test in England.

West Indies didn't gain Test status until 1928 , and many thought even this was a mistake at the time. Though they were competitive at home , their first Test tour of England resulted in three innings defeats.
Hendren toured West Indies in 1929/30 , averaging 115 in the Tests; interesting to note that this tour was one of two simultaneous England tours , Gilligan leading a party to NZ at the same time. Also that only five members of both touring parties played in the summer Ashes series - which perhaps gives an idea of how seriously West Indies were regarded at the time.

Incidentally I see a comment by J B Stollmeyer , speaking of Hendren , that :
"the runs he made were a mere fraction of the friends he won. For all his popularity throughout the rest of the cricket world , it was West Indies which took him most to heart."

Hope this helps...

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Post by dummy_half Fri 09 Nov 2012, 1:18 pm

GB
regarding Hendren, I have no problem with considering him a level below Hobbs - after all Sir Jack probably counts as England's best ever batsman and in the top 5 or so in the world.

Now, for the purposes of our discussions the question is more in relation to why he is less fondly remembered than Woolley when his playing record was superior? (Am I right to recall Woolley is in our 'repercharge' pile?). Obviously, style is one possible reason, but is that enough to justify the 10 runs difference in Test batting average being overlooked?

Shelsey

While your comments regarding SA and Windies poor records at winning tests is helpful, it may be worth looking in a bit more detail to see whether they were relatively stronger in batting or bowling - if they were good bowling sides but struggled to get the runs on the board then Hendren's elevated averages against them would be a useful off-set against his slightly disappointing performances against Australia.

I also wonder if we are just being a bit unfair, as we don't tend to 'take apart' the career stats of modern players in the same way to figure out whether their records are artificially enhanced by playing against weak bowling sides (England in the 90s Wink ), and tend to take the headline average as reasonably reliable.


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Post by guildfordbat Fri 09 Nov 2012, 1:57 pm

alfie wrote:

Hope this helps...

It cerainly does, Alfie - at least as regards knowledge, if not a final decision. Many thanks - the same to Shelsey and Hoggy.

I'm still mightily impressed by Hendren's county championship achievements but his Test record is not so strong when the 'padding' of his performances against South Africa and West Indies are taken out .... hmmm ....

Moving on now to Thomson.

Whenever Thomson - whom I saw fairly often - is mentioned, I also tend to think of another fast bowler - whom I never saw but have read about quite a bit - Frank ''Typhoon'' Tyson. Tyson was from two decades earlier and English. He was also incredibly fast; some said ''the fastest of all time'', hence ''Typhoon''. He played a major part in England winning the Ashes in Australia in '54-'55. However, a mixture of injuries and softer pitches back home meant he never truly fulfilled his wicket taking potential. His Test stats though are still extremely impressive. 76 wickets from 17 Tests at a bit over 18 each. He is often excluded from ''all time Test bowling'' lists as there is normally a minimum requirement to have taken 100 wickets. However, of those who have taken at least 75 Test wickets, I believe his average is seventh best of all time.

I don't claim Tyson should be in the HoF. Devastating as he was, the ''Typhoon'' blew out too soon.

I'm inclined to think similarly about Thomson. Whilst he got up to 200 Test wickets, I'm not convinced his reign was as terrible or as longlasting as we initially expected and feared.

Interested in other views.

Kwini - did you ever see Tyson? Thomson?

Alfie - I know you're not in the first flush of youth (like me!) but I assume Tyson was still before your time. Like Larwood before him, Tyson emigrated to Australia. He was involved in cricket broadcasting and still lives there well into his eighties.


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Post by guildfordbat Fri 09 Nov 2012, 2:02 pm

Dummy - thanks for your comments as well.

Woolley didn't even get to the play offs. He was voted out first time round.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 09 Nov 2012, 2:32 pm

guildford,
Certainly saw Thomson a couple of times but no specific memories, and only knew Tyson thru' E.W.Swanton's dispatches from the Australian front, never knowingly saw him in the flesh.

His exploits in Australia were boys own stuff at the time, certainly made a huge impression on this impressionable nipper! Worth noting the make-up of that squad in Australia, no Trueman, no Laker, no Lock.
Statham and Tyson were superb.

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Post by Hoggy_Bear Fri 09 Nov 2012, 4:40 pm

dummy_half wrote:
While your comments regarding SA and Windies poor records at winning tests is helpful, it may be worth looking in a bit more detail to see whether they were relatively stronger in batting or bowling - if they were good bowling sides but struggled to get the runs on the board then Hendren's elevated averages against them would be a useful off-set against his slightly disappointing performances against Australia.

I also wonder if we are just being a bit unfair, as we don't tend to 'take apart' the career stats of modern players in the same way to figure out whether their records are artificially enhanced by playing against weak bowling sides (England in the 90s Wink ), and tend to take the headline average as reasonably reliable.


I think it would probably be fair to say that, during the period in question, WIndies bowling was probably marginally better than its batting, with the likes of Griffith, Constantine, Francis and Martindale all having good/reasonable records as fast-bowlers. On the other hand, in South Africa's case, their batting was probably their strongest suit, with the likes of Dave Nourse, Herbie Taylor and Bruce Mitchell in their team althugh, having said that, South Africa were probably a stronger all-round team than the WIndies at the time, so their bowling was at least comparable.

Oh, and as for us not 'taking apart' the career stats of more modern players, one of the main objections to Willis' candidature is his relatively poor figures vs. the WIndies. Very Happy

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Post by dummy_half Fri 09 Nov 2012, 5:04 pm

Hoggy

How many of Willis's contemporary bowlers didn't have relatively poor figures against the Windies? After all, they had to get Gomes out Wink

Even Dennis Lillee had a markedly poorer record against the Windies - bowling average was about 28 iirc, compared with 24 against everyone else.

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Post by Hoggy_Bear Fri 09 Nov 2012, 5:20 pm

And an average of 30+ against Pakistan

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Post by Shelsey93 Fri 09 Nov 2012, 7:03 pm

I think I'm now pretty clear on the negatives associated with Thomson.

Now I think I want specific evidence of his impact...

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Post by Hoggy_Bear Fri 09 Nov 2012, 7:51 pm

Shelsey93 wrote:Now I think I want specific evidence of his impact...

You should ask 'Bumble' about his impact

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrCNUrnsu2s

Very Happy

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Post by dummy_half Fri 09 Nov 2012, 8:07 pm

Shelsey93 wrote:I think I'm now pretty clear on the negatives associated with Thomson.

Now I think I want specific evidence of his impact...

Shelsey
I suspect quite a few batsmen of the 70s can tell you plenty about Thommo's impact...

More seriously, he was almost certainly the fastest bowler of the time (and that included Holding, who was a very fast fast bowler as well), and he made a particular mess of the English batting line-up in 74/75 - 33 wickets @ just under 18 in a 5 match series. Was still very handy in 82/3 with 22 wickets @ less than 19 in 4 Tests. Less effective away from Australia, although he did pretty well in England in 77.

My impression is that he was probably a bit of an erratic fast bowler - striving for top end pace at the expense of accuracy, and much more effective on wickets with a bit of pace and bounce than elsewhere. The one great unknown is how would he have performed through the bulk of his career if he hadn't injured his shoulder in 75? Did we lose out on seeing a real all-time great, or was what he acheived anyway pretty much the limit given his style and character?

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Post by dummy_half Fri 09 Nov 2012, 8:16 pm

Hoggy_Bear wrote:
Shelsey93 wrote:Now I think I want specific evidence of his impact...

You should ask 'Bumble' about his impact

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrCNUrnsu2s

Very Happy

OK, that's Bumble nominated for the HoF Very Happy

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Post by Hoggy_Bear Fri 09 Nov 2012, 8:43 pm

Nothing to do with this discussion, but here's another couple of wonderful 'Bumble' stories, just for the craic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIHdMOPwKzQ&feature=relmfu

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTpB3bAGrI0&feature=relmfu

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Post by Hoggy_Bear Fri 09 Nov 2012, 9:43 pm

Back on topic, here's a nice video showing clips of Thomson, and a number of interviews regarding his pace and impact, especially on opposition batsmen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cukAdBEpMs&feature=related

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