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Cricket Geniuses

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Post by Stella Tue Sep 22, 2015 5:56 am

A well written article from Ed Smith on not only Cricket, but sport geniuses, and whether they can be called such a thing.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/922169.html

A sporting genius is to me, someone who can make it look easy, and do things most peers can't, therefore a player like Lara is rightly touted as one, whereas Kallis, as mentioned by Smith, is not.
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Post by Hoggy_Bear Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:53 pm

Think the classic example, in cricket terms, can be found in a comparison of Victor Trumper and Clem Hill. two Australian batsmen who were almost exact contemporaries, and who scored virtually the same amount of runs and almost the same average (Hill slightly higher). Yet while Hill was admired, Trumper was (and still is), venerated as a cricketing genius almost without compare. I think the difference, while certainly one of style and panache, was also the ability to simply do things others might view as impossible. Trumper did this on a number of occasions. So too did other players like Johnny Tyldesley, Charlie Macartney and Stan McCabe. They were not always the most prolific batsmen, but were capable to some extent or other of playing innings, or playing innings in trying situations, which 'normal' batsmen would not even have thought possible.

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Post by Corporalhumblebucket Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:26 pm

The player I most associate with the word genius in Barry Richards.

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Post by guildfordbat Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:41 pm

Corporalhumblebucket wrote:The player I most associate with the word genius in Barry Richards.

That may not be genius but it's rather incredible - I was just about to post the same.

Barry Richards for his supremacy at the crease.

Possibly not totally incredible as - like fine wine or cheap beer Wink - the Corporal and I are of a similar vintage. Life lasting impressions for cricket as so much else do tend to be formed in your early years.

I would also highlight Garry Sobers for his all round superiority in so many aspects of the game. Again, I suspect the Corporal would agree.

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Post by KP_fan Wed Sep 23, 2015 2:11 am

Hoggy_Bear wrote: I think the difference, while certainly one of style and panache, was also the ability to simply do things others might view as impossible.

That is true....style, dominance, amazing stroke play......all of which translates into near single handed match winning abilities on the day "he clicks"

on all those counts......AB De Villers, KP, Sehwag, Viv Richards, tendulkar, Lara, big-4 allrounders were all in that category
and David Warner , Flintoff, almost there
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Post by kingraf Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:11 am

I've always thought of Kallis as a cricketing genius. A little boring, certainly. But until the last year or so of his career, I'd never seen Kallis ever look uncomfortable on the crease. If wanted to block, he did. Had every shot in the book. Never really looked rushed. Was like a Volvo in a cricketing body
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Post by kingraf Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:12 am

Also, has the handy party trick of being a former #1 batsman. #1 All rounder, and at some point #7 Bowler in the world.
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Post by VTR Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:50 am

I often think in such debates the players described as geniuses are also those that are dubbed flair players. Its all subjective but you rarely see the more pragmatic operators feature in such debates, which I think is pretty ridiculous.

There is also a bias towards batsmen, as its rare to see a flair bowler. Wasim and Warne spring to mind, but I would also class the likes of the metronomic McGrath as a genius


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Post by guildfordbat Wed Sep 23, 2015 12:47 pm

Agree about there being a bias towards batsmen. I guess spin bowlers like Warne and Muralitharan may sometimes get a look in but the seamers normally seem to miss out.

One other I would consider to be in the class of genius - Benaud. His tactical astuteness, Both whilst captaining (even though before my watching time but based on my reading) and in his subsequent commentary and analysis.

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Post by Corporalhumblebucket Wed Sep 23, 2015 3:40 pm

KP_fan wrote:
Hoggy_Bear wrote:   I think the difference, while certainly one of style and panache, was also the ability to simply do things others might view as impossible.  

That is true....style, dominance, amazing stroke play......all of which translates into near single handed match winning abilities on the day "he clicks"

on all those counts......AB De Villers, KP, Sehwag, Viv Richards, tendulkar, Lara, big-4 allrounders were all in that category
and David Warner , Flintoff, almost there

Freddy Flintoff doesn't really fit with my idea of genius. I think what I most associate him with is sheer guts and willpower, towards the end of his career, getting his creaking body to deliver one further spell of hostile bowling in a pressured situation.


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Post by Corporalhumblebucket Wed Sep 23, 2015 3:45 pm

guildfordbat wrote:
Corporalhumblebucket wrote:

Possibly not totally incredible as - like fine wine or cheap beer ;) - the Corporal and I are of a similar vintage. Life lasting impressions for cricket as so much else do tend to be formed in your early years.

I would also highlight Garry Sobers for his all round superiority in so many aspects of the game. Again, I suspect the Corporal would agree.

Or maybe "like a dog eared Surrey scorecard from the early 1970s" Wink  

And, yes, Sobers was indeed a genius.

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Post by alfie Thu Sep 24, 2015 4:13 am

After reading Ed Smith's article , and appended comments , and this thread; I am still unsure whether "genius" is a term that ought to be applied to cricket...and I don't think I'm the only one.

Flair , style , artistry...consistent "magic" ; whatever . Is Kallis (and McGrath) a "boring" genius ; while Lara or Warne an entertaining one ?

B......d if I know.

But agree Sobers fits the bill best Smile

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Post by KP_fan Thu Sep 24, 2015 4:41 am

discipline, hard work, patience, application, temperament are also qualities. ( personifying Dravid, Kallis, Sangkarra)....but do not count towards the genius category......rightly or wrongly
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Post by kingraf Fri Sep 25, 2015 4:29 am

To me, Mohammad Asif was a genius with the ball. Nothing was beyond his reach as a skill.


KP_fan wrote:discipline, hard work, patience, application, temperament are also qualities. ( personifying Dravid, Kallis, Sangkarra)....but do not count towards the genius category......rightly or wrongly

I've always found this rather humorous. Tennis fans do it all the time with Federer and Nadal. Seems to try subtly suggest that the "genius" doesn't have all those qualities and merely relies on natural talent, when, generally speaking... nothing could be further from the truth
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Post by Corporalhumblebucket Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:27 pm

My thinking is somewhat along these lines:

* genius in cricket requires the highest levels of sublime talent and flair that are only rarely found - maybe only a few times in a cricketing generation. Of course as a matter of practicality it has to be backed up with a huge quantity of hard work and at least a degree of discipline - otherwise the potential for genius is only too briefly seen. Being a genius is not of itself necessarily meritorious - what is more meritorious is if a genius seeks to make the absolute most of this ability to entertain sports lovers through very hard work and also by maintaining modesty rather than flaunting prowess.

* some players may not necessarily have the absolute highest levels of natural talent and flair, but if they display extreme levels of dedication, discipline, and temperament that, for me, comes more into the category of heroism.  For example the batsman who plays an enormously long back-to-the-wall innings to defy an otherwise rampant bowling attack. Or a bowler who puts in a superhuman effort for hours on a very hot day on an unhelpful surface when the team is a bowler short.

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:47 am

Was Kevin Pietersen a "cricketing genius"?
Never seen him play, not even on TV, but surprised he hasn't been mentioned in this context.

I think Barry Richards was almost as much of a cricketing genius with his close fielding as with his obvious batting talents - just as he seemed to see the ball more quickly out of the bowler's hand than anyone, he also was absolutely brilliant in the slips, similarly seeing the chance quicker than anyone of his day.

Of those between the 50's and 80's though, I'd have to put Richards second to Sobers.

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Post by kingraf Tue Sep 29, 2015 11:44 pm

What I would say is that genius is absolutely relevant to sports. Sobers has two hands, two feet, one heart. Just like the rest of us. Its his brains ability to form patterns and process information that sets him apart. Spatial awareness isnt a matter of physical gifts. Its your mental software.
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