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Cricket 38: Ashes Openers Crash and Burns

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Jeor said:

Lyon and Ashwin are probably the two standouts of this generation but they won't be making a lasting mark on the historical record.

I think it's a bit of a harsh standard to be judging spin bowlers in comparison to Warne and Murali, by a comfortable margin the two best spinners in history. The likes of Lyon, Ashwin, Swann and Vettori are what the usual best spinner of a particular test bowling generation looks like.

ETA: The comparison with Kumble's a bit more interesting. If you compare Kumble and, say, Swann they have very similar figures in a lot of ways but Kumble played in 132 tests compared to Swann's 60. A lot of that's down to Swann being a bit of a late developer but how much weight to you give to longevity?

Edited by ljkeane

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12 hours ago, Jeor said:

Yes, there definitely was a golden age of spinners in the 1990s and 2000s. Warne, Murali and Kumble were the superstars, but there was a strong supporting cast throughout that period too - Saqlain Mushtaq, Stuart MacGill, Harbhajan Singh.

If he was bowling today someone like MacGill could be the most successful spinner in the world, he was just unlucky to be sharing a team with Warne.

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2 hours ago, williamjm said:

If he was bowling today someone like MacGill could be the most successful spinner in the world, he was just unlucky to be sharing a team with Warne.

Yeah, I feel really sorry for MacGill. He still got to play 44 Tests with an astonishing haul of 208 wickets, a slightly expensive average of 29.02 but a better-than-Warne strike rate of a wicket every 54.0 balls (Warne's was 57.4).  MacGill turned the ball a lot more, had a bigger wrong 'un, but he did bowl a few bad balls as well so tended to get hit a little bit more. But there's no doubt in my mind that if MacGill played today, he would be the best spinner in the world.

13 hours ago, ljkeane said:

I think it's a bit of a harsh standard to be judging spin bowlers in comparison to Warne and Murali, by a comfortable margin the two best spinners in history. The likes of Lyon, Ashwin, Swann and Vettori are what the usual best spinner of a particular test bowling generation looks like.

ETA: The comparison with Kumble's a bit more interesting. If you compare Kumble and, say, Swann they have very similar figures in a lot of ways but Kumble played in 132 tests compared to Swann's 60. A lot of that's down to Swann being a bit of a late developer but how much weight to you give to longevity?

Kumble is definitely behind Murali and Warne, and has more conventional numbers. His home and away average split isn't great - 24.88 at home, 35.85 away, showing that he really benefited from Indian spin-friendly conditions. I would say that Kumble is probably on par with guys like Lyon, in the sense that if Lyon ended up playing 132 Tests he would amass similar statistics.

Take nothing away from Kumble though, he did well to last that long in a team where there would have been plenty of other spinners coming through that could have taken his place, and he also had several memorable career highlights (10 wickets in an innings being the main one, of course).

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Comparing Kumble to Lyon makes me a bit queasy. But yeah...I guess.

For sure he’s not even in Warne and Murali’s realm.

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Posted (edited)

To revive some of the sharing of cricket memories...thought I would post some cricket moments that make me laugh.

And what better starting point than some classic moments from the giver that never stopped giving...Inzamam-ul-Haq:

Inzy got run out 40 times in ODIs (hehe). Yousuf also got run out 38 times...you have to wonder how many of them were Inzamam's fault. 

 

Edited by Paxter

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Paxter said:

To revive some of the sharing of cricket memories...thought I would post some cricket moments that make me laugh.

And what better starting point than some classic moments from the giver that never stopped giving...Inzamam-ul-Haq:

Inzy got run out 40 times in ODIs (hehe). Yousuf also got run out 38 times...you have to wonder how many of them were Inzamam's fault. 

 

I remember watching that first run-out on TV. It was in the 1999 World Cup, a good match where Pakistan scored 275 after being in all sorts of trouble (tremendous acceleration at the end from Moin Khan, 31 off 12) and Australia fell 10 runs short.

I think Bill Lawry said in commentary something like, "Attempted yorker...oh no it's a run out. Let's watch the replay....oops, there he goes...oh and he's just having a lie down now."

Edited by Jeor

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I wish I’d watched that ‘99 World Cup. It was just before my introduction to cricket. Aus, SA, Pakistan, NZ and even Zimbabwe had very strong teams. I’ve watched many of the highlights - a fantastic tournament.
 

ODI cricket tournaments went down the gurgler thereafter, with that bizarre World Cup final in the West Indies (Aus v Sri Lanka) as nadir.

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Yeah, the 1999 World Cup was great, full of great matches (apart from the final, which was a bit of a letdown).

Not only was there that Australia/Pakistan group match, there were the two matches between Australia/South Africa (not just the tied semifinal, but the previous match where Steve Waugh scored his 120* and Gibbs "dropped" the world cup was also damn close). Dravid and Ganguly were topping the run charts. Zimbabwe's surprise victory over India by 3 runs.

Man, as you say, Zimbabwe were actually good back then. They had the Flower brothers, Neil Johnson had a good tournament, and bowling-wise they had Heath Streak, Pommie Mbangwa and Henry Olonga. They could have developed into another New Zealand but all the off-field problems made them a basketcase.

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So Chris Gayle didn't hold back with expressing his opinion of Ramnaresh Sarwan then.

Although my immediate response to that article was what the hell is a tallawah? Apparently it's Jamaican patois for fearless.

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Sarwan’s certainly one of the more loathed WI players from an Aussie perspective after the infamous McGrath altercation. I wonder whether years of not quite delivering on his clear talent soured him.

Gayle I certainly have mixed feelings on. I loved watching him play...but he can be a bit of a numpty. 

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Sarwan is one of a long list of West Indian talents who made little of their careers e.g. Marlon Samuels. To be fair, he probably did better than most with a Test average of 40.

And re: the McGrath incident, he supposedly wasn't aware of Jane McGrath's cancer situation when he made the joke. If he genuinely wasn't aware, then it was just one of those schoolboy quips.

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7 hours ago, Jeor said:

Sarwan is one of a long list of West Indian talents who made little of their careers e.g. Marlon Samuels. To be fair, he probably did better than most with a Test average of 40.

And re: the McGrath incident, he supposedly wasn't aware of Jane McGrath's cancer situation when he made the joke. If he genuinely wasn't aware, then it was just one of those schoolboy quips.

Sarwan may well be a dick, but McGrath was 100% in the wrong in that incident, and he has said so himself. McGrath started it, a la Warner, and then over-reacted to an understandable riposte to an unpleasant sledge, especially with Sarwan knowing nothing about his wife’s condition. 

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Unfortunately there’s just something a bit off about that generation of WI players: Gayle, Sarwan, Samuels...they were all too self-centred and poor successors to the greatness that preceded them. I’m more impressed by the current lot, though they are lot less talented.

Personally I agree re: the McGrath incident. But many die-hard Aussie fans and ex-players tell a different story!

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Double post...but in some actual cricket news: Khawaja has lost his Australian central contract. I'm not going to write him off just yet, but there is a chance at the age of 33 (34 by the time the cricket season rolls around), he has played his last test match. 

I know we have seen our share of falls from grace over the years, but this is a pretty major one. A year ago he was just about Australia's most important player, particularly with Warner and Smith out of the side. 

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On 5/1/2020 at 3:55 AM, Paxter said:

Double post...but in some actual cricket news: Khawaja has lost his Australian central contract. I'm not going to write him off just yet, but there is a chance at the age of 33 (34 by the time the cricket season rolls around), he has played his last test match. 

I know we have seen our share of falls from grace over the years, but this is a pretty major one. A year ago he was just about Australia's most important player, particularly with Warner and Smith out of the side. 

Khawaja has the right to feel hard done by, I think. As you say, he was Australia's key batsman during the Smith/Warner bans, and he did score a century against Sri Lanka in his fourth-last Test. Following that 101*, he then had three Ashes Tests before he was dropped (scoring 13, 40, 36, 2, 8, 23 which was still comfortably more runs in three Tests than David Warner managed in five). I think the selectors should have persisted with him a bit longer. Mind you, he could still play for Australia, but the lack of a central contract makes it less likely he'll be in the frame, and he is 33 now.

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Boredom led me to start following cricinfo on Facebook. And from there to the comments section. Now, I have a truly subterranean view of humanity in general, so I shouldn’t be shocked, but has anyone else noticed that Indian cricket fans make Trump supporters look like the very definition of easy going, rational non-partisans? Holy fuck.

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5 hours ago, Hereward said:

Boredom led me to start following cricinfo on Facebook. And from there to the comments section. Now, I have a truly subterranean view of humanity in general, so I shouldn’t be shocked, but has anyone else noticed that Indian cricket fans make Trump supporters look like the very definition of easy going, rational non-partisans? Holy fuck.

I had an Indian friend in high school (one of the reasons I liked playing spin in my club cricket season) and I was constantly taken aback by his fervent one-eyed views on things. When India toured Australia my friend fully expected that Sachin would score centuries in every innings they played and that Srinath and Kumble would destroy the Aussie batting lineup for less than 100 each time. He absolutely, genuinely believed that's the way things would go. And when it didn't happen, it was because the Australians cheated, the umpires were biased, etc etc.  

We can all be like that sometimes, but I can imagine for the typically self-deprecating Englishman who expects England to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, it might be a bit of a shock!

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Posted (edited)

I was idly thinking about the effects of the last two years on the legacy of one Steven Peter Devereux Smith.

Obviously he has an incredible, almost unparalleled batting record after 73 tests (averaging 63). But, his one-year ban and now a pandemic mean that he has played just 13 tests since the end of 2017. And he isn't likely to play another test until the Australian summer, by which time he will be well past 31 years of age. 

I'm not suggesting that any of this diminishes his greatness (Bradman's legacy was no less for the inter-war period), but you do wonder how his legacy will stack up against, say, a Ricky Ponting who had played 100 tests by the age of 31 and went on to amass around double Smith's current aggregate runs. 

Edited by Paxter

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13 hours ago, Paxter said:

I was idly thinking about the effects of the last two years on the legacy of one Steven Peter Devereux Smith.

I don't think we'll be able to compare them until we see how Smith's whole career plays out. For instance, I think most of us expect that his batting average will decline as he gets past his prime productive years - he will probably fall back to the 50-55 range. Ponting was in the high 50s for a while but fell back to 51.9 by the end of his career. I imagine Smith will follow the same trajectory.

But if Smith stays around 60, that will be seriously impressive (especially after missing essentially two years in his prime).

 

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