Is Michael Clarke as good as Bradman?

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    After Michael Clarke’s recording-breaking double century against South Africa on the first day of the second Test in Adelaide, many cricket experts, commentators and former players are now quick to draw comparisons to him and the great Sir Donald Bradman.

    2012 will be remembered as the year Michael Clarke became the first ever batsman in history after more than 2000 Test matches to score four double centuries in a calendar year.

    And with three more Test matches to go this year, there is certainly nothing stopping Clarke from getting three more double hundreds.

    This year, Clarke has registered scores of 329*, 210, 259* and 230. He is averaging a Bradmanesque 117 this year, has scored 1271 runs, the most in 2012 by a country mile.

    He is more than 400 ahead of second placed Hasim Amla. What is amazing is that he has been able to get that many runs in only eight Tests this year (12 innings). That’s even better than Bradman’s best year in 1948 (1025 runs at 114).

    The innings in Adelaide on that first day was a pure masterclass display of batting. What was so amazing was that Clarke was able to score most of his runs in boundaries and his strike rate was almost 90. Every single shot he played, it looked like he was in control and it was a joy to watch.

    Many cricket experts on ABC Grandstand, Channel Nine and other former players have began comparing his stats to the great Bradman. Over the last 15 years there have been many players who have been compared to Bradman such as Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara.

    After 85 matches, Clarke’s average is now well over 50, he has 21 Test hundreds and 6586 runs. At the rate he is going, and being only 31, by the end of his career he could have close to Ponting’s numbers.

    Over the last few years there has been a lot of argument about who is closest to Bradman: Ponting, or Tendulkar?

    But with both players not performing well at the moment, can Clarke be the answer to the question?

    Ever since taking over the captaincy from Ponting last year, Clarke has averaged 73 and scored almost 2000 runs. His average as vice-captain and player was still a respectable 46.

    The last 15 months for Clarke have been golden. Almost overtime he comes out to bat he produces a masterclass display. If he keeps going at a similar rate for another two or three years he could well be our best since Bradman.

    It’s a question that will be have to wait for an answer, probably until Ponting, Tendulkar and Clarke all retire.

    PS: My tip for the second Test? Australia to win by 150 runs, Ponting to grab a solid half-century and Michael Clarke to be named man-of-the-match.

    Statistics (Tests):

    Ricky Ponting: 167 Test matches – 13350 runs – 41 Test hundreds, 62 Test fifties – H.S of 257 – Average of 52

    Sachin Tendulkar: 192 Test matches – 15554 runs – 51 Test hundreds, 65 Test fifties – H.S of 248* – Average of 55

    Michael Clarke: 85 Test matches – 6586 runs – 21 Test hundreds, 22 Test fifties – H.S of 329* – Average of 52

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    The Crowd Says (61)

    • November 24th 2012 @ 3:01am
      Johnno said | November 24th 2012 @ 3:01am | ! Report

      I think he is as good. People say , well Pup made his runs when better bat technology, covered pitiches, and full time modern pro coaching. And Bradman did not.

      But the important point to be noted is this. Bradman is only human i’m sure he had batting weaknesses, like everyone else.

      Bradman’s whole career was not in Bodyline. And yes batsman are fitter too now than the 1980’s, highly fit but so are bowlers. Bradman face bowlers in 8 ball overs from memory. And they were not as fit and didn’t have as much variety. Yes batsmen were not as fit either, but the point is despite a helmet, and better padding Pup is facing bowlers who are far fitter and more endurance, often with more pace , and more variety, and also a bowlers who have as a result of being much better coached have a much better understanding of the game of cricket format here bowling to batting to field placings. So Pup as to deal with that, so that evens out a lot of debates, with the pup has more technology better bats, and paddings , and having a helmet argument.

      The dark horse in this who really impresses me is former aussy captain and coach Bobby SImpson (1381 runs). He is a 50’s 60’s and 70’s player in OZ. He never had the coaching like he 80’s or 90’s but got better coaching than Bradman, making his test debut 9 years after Bradman’s last.

      And Bob Simpson made all these runs with out helmets and modern day pads, and gloves, and fitness regimes, and lighter more aero-dynamic bats. He made his 1381 runs in 1964. Was Wisden cricketer of the year in 1965, was a handy leg spin bowler too.
      He was a highly fit player for those times, and had an excellent technique .

      He retired in 1968, then cam back around 1977 during the WSC years, and stayed on until 78.

      So this is a man who got the bulk of his cricket and tuition from the 1940’s junior days for him, to the 50’s and 60’s senior.

      So some of his stats still stack up today. And he made a triple century 311 in 1964. And his highest first class score is 359 still today one fo the highest scores ever.

      And the fact that he came back and played fialry well got a century and some fifties and this in his early 40’s to years out of the game, is nothing short of a remarkable. And his stats in his career int he 50’s and 60’s still stack up today, so Bobby SImpson was ahead of his time if you ask me, and it showed when he was aussy coach too. He was very fit as a player and took big pride in his fielding, and his aussy sides were always such good fielders, and pretty fit most of them as well.

      So Bob Simpson has to be right up there with Bradman, if Pup and Punter are. Very hard to separate Pup, Punter, and Bobby SImpson. Maybe Pup has the wood, but what’s so impressive about Bob SImpson is this. He made seriously big runs, at a time when no helmets were still in place, and lots of bouncer, and a more modern time than Bradman but only 10 years, and SImpson made the same amount of runs in 14 tests in a calendar year and very comparable to the modern day players who all of them except punter who holds the record but played 15. For me Bob SImpson and Micheal Clarke are equal 2 but based on stats, and the time in which he made his runs the 50’s and 60’s , and no helmets etc. Bob Simpson was ahead of his time. So Bobby Simpson 2 and Pup 3 for mine, but nothing in it, and Ponting 4, Border 5, Greg Chappell steve waugh 7. in that ranking order.

      And what makes Bob SImpson even more impressive and why I am giving him no 2 rank just ahead of Pup is , Bob Simpson was an opener and had to face the new ball, fresh new ball no helmet , pitch at it’s fastest and most grassy in the opening 15 overs and hour of play.

      Also Bob SImpson was part of the best opening partnership statistically in OZ 1. Simpson-Lawry, 62 innings, 59.93 first wicket average. So Bob SImpson to me was very much ahead of his time, and it showed in his attitudes to fielding too, and his competitive edge which he pulled over to his coaching career as aussy head coach.

      • November 24th 2012 @ 11:22pm
        Bayman said | November 24th 2012 @ 11:22pm | ! Report

        Johnno,

        You happily say that bowlers in Bradman’s time did not have as much variety as those of today. How then was it necessary, just last year, for Craig McDermott to remind our Test quicks that if they wanted some swing they better pitch it further up – a fact known and understood by every schoolboy cricketer of the 30s, 40s 50s, 60s and 70s. And probably then some.

        Just after the Second World War Australia probably had five or six leg-spinners that would be first picked today if they were still around. Today we have none worthy of the name.

        More variety today. I don’t think so, Johnno.

        You also say that Bob Simpson never had the coaching like the 80s or 90s players. But then he never needed it. Bob Simpson has forgotten more about cricket than any modern coach will ever know. He got far better coaching than the current players. He got to sit down and talk cricket with those who were his betters and his equals – and even his inferiors – after play without the ice bath and the warm down taking priority.

        Because it’s modern, Johnno, doesn’t make it better. It just means that now there’s a whole tribe of people protecting their careers and empires and telling us it’s all very necessary.

    • Columnist

      November 24th 2012 @ 3:27am
      David Lord said | November 24th 2012 @ 3:27am | ! Report

      The Don and daylight.

      • November 25th 2012 @ 12:04am
        Jake said | November 25th 2012 @ 12:04am | ! Report

        David

        Aren’t you going to suggest that Haddin is #2 after the Don……..?

    • November 24th 2012 @ 3:38am
      Kay said | November 24th 2012 @ 3:38am | ! Report

      He’s better than Bradman. As are Tendulkar, Lara, Ponting, Kallis, Dravid, Sir Viv, Sunny G etc.

      I don’t care what people say about uncovered pitches. The bowling back then was monotonous, and medium pace compared to today (by and large). Mystery spin was unheard of. It’s funny isn’t it, how we choose our greatest bowlers of all time from the past 30 years, but still insist on choosing Bradman from 70 years ago when considering greatest batsmen of all time.

      With video technology, and constant analysis of batting these days, including the stress and demands of Test (with no rest days!) , ODI, T20 and IPL, a truly great batsman needs to be constantly adapting his style and form, staying fit, focused, while facing the likes of Steyn and co.

      I still rate Tendulkar as the greatest ever, followed by King Viv. The numbers are extraordinary, the batting a treat to watch, with not a technical fault in sight. I am convinced Bradman’s cross batted technique would have been figured out in the subcontinent, by spin (kind of like the Poms are finding out now!)

      Time to get over Bradman guys, greatest of his time – yes undoubtedly, but not the greatest of all times…

      • November 24th 2012 @ 4:17pm
        Renegade said | November 24th 2012 @ 4:17pm | ! Report

        Average = 99.94.

        I don’t care what era that comes from…simply put – greatest ever!

      • November 28th 2012 @ 2:57pm
        Deccas said | November 28th 2012 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

        What seperates Bradman is how much better he was than anyone in his era. The likes of Ponsford and Barnes Niel Harvey and co still all averages in the high forties and low fifties. No player accept perhaps garfield sobers has stood so much higher than a field of very talented players and thats what makes him the greatest. The higher levels of professionalism means we will probably never see someone like that again.

        If Clarke can hold this kind of form for 2 to 5 years, which he really is capable of given his age he would be a clear second to the don. Otherwise its just a very good period of a very talanted player. Right now he is rubbing shoulders with Border and Waugh though, and that shouldnt be taken lightly

    • Roar Guru

      November 24th 2012 @ 4:48am
      ak said | November 24th 2012 @ 4:48am | ! Report

      I have never seen Bradman play. So it would be very tough for me to comment on him. And I am sure most like me never saw Bradman play. I also believed that Bradman would not have scored heavily in the present era considering that advanced technology would have figured him out and that an average of 99.94 would have been impossible for him. However in my reading I came across certain events involving Bradman. One was where he kept on asking the wicket-keeper to tell him as to where he should hit the next ball. And he scored runs by hitting the ball in that region. This continued for a while and then Bradman told the keeper to rather concentrate on his job. And it was a Test match. There was another incident involving Vinoo Mankad. Mankad at that time was in full form as an all-rounder. What happened was that Bradman hit the ball over mid-on for 2. Mankad pushed the man to deep mid-on and Bradman hit over his head for a four. Mankad pushed the player to long-on and Bradman hit him for a six. Later on Bradman said that he wanted to show Vinoo who the boss was. There is an another incident way back from 1976. Bradman was 68 then. Some of the top players from around the world had come together for some function. Some one asked Bradman to compare Larwood with Thompson and asked as to whether he would have been able to face him. Bradman did not say anything. Then he casually asked as to whether they would like to play some cricket with him. So the guys went to the ground. There Bradman hit Thommo crisply through the mid-wicket region and then remarked that it would teach him (Thommo) to keep a mid-wicket for him.

      Apart from these incidents, what was interesting was that I recently watched an interview of Vasu Paranjape wherein he was asked as to whether Sachin is greater than Bradman. The answer was a blunt no. He had also explained the same giving an interesting reason. Unfortunately I do not remember what exactly he said. But I clearly remember that his reasoning immediately changed my thoughts that Bradman would have found it difficult to maintain such an average in the modern era. And mind you this is from a person who has watched the batting of both Bradman and the modern-day players and someone who has watched Tendulkar from a young age.

    • Roar Guru

      November 24th 2012 @ 6:08am
      sheek said | November 24th 2012 @ 6:08am | ! Report

      ak,

      Yours is a rambling, confused response.

      You go to great lengths to confirm how there are very few people alive today who saw Bradman play, then conclude confidently that Bradman could not have maintained his average in the modern era.

      Bradman averaged 99.94.

      The next best three averages are – G.Pollock 60.97, G.Headley 60.83, H.Sutcliffe 60.73.

      Even Wally Hammond, a contemporary of Bradman & as good a batsman as any to play the game, averaged 58.45.

      What do these averages tell you?

      Bradman was 40% better than the next very best batsmen in the game. And is easily twice as good as most of the very best batsmen in the game.

      And you question his ability to score runs at the same fantastic output in the modern era?

      Bring Bradman back, give him a helmet & a bat with a 90% sweet spot, let him take strike on perfectly rolled pitches & beautifully manicured outfields. I reckon Bradman would average OVER one hundred easily.

      Today’s batsmen are spoilt brats whose batting averages are easily inflated by 10-15%.

      Clarke is enjoying a phenomenal run over two seasons. He is averaging around 52 right now, having climbed from high 48.

      Let’s see him maintain this for five years & his average climb above 60 before we even BEGIN to make a comparison with Bradman.

      Bradman maintained his phenomenal record over 20 years.

      “Is Michael Clarke as good as Greg Chappell or Ricky Ponting?”, is the question we should be asking. Bradman doesn’t even enter into the equation.

      With all due respect, these posts are silly & I’m just as silly responding to them.

      • November 24th 2012 @ 10:27am
        dasilva said | November 24th 2012 @ 10:27am | ! Report

        I’m not going to judge whether Bradman would have stil dominated the game if he played today. I didn’t see him play and I don’t know

        However even if for hypothetical sake that Kay is right and that modern batsman are simply better than earlier batsman (I’m not saying I agree with that assertion but I’m playing along for the sake of a debate)

        It shouldn’t change anythingo n the acheivements of Bradman

        It’s like saying Newton was an inferior scientist than every of modern day scientist because modern day scientist are closer to the truth and Newton’s knowledge is out of date and incomplete.

        “Which is more important – the way an achievement holds up on an ‘absolute’ scale against everything both before and after it, or the difference of itself and what came before?”

        I’m far more slanted towars the latter.

        Greatness isn’t something on an absolute scale but rather the impact you made and how well you succeeded in the time period relative to everyone else and how he revolutionised batsmanship by scoring riduculous amounts of runs that was unprecedented. Bradman dominated run scoring and his dominance was never replicated before or afterwards. He is the greatest batsman because of that and even if the idea that modern batsmanship is superior to batsmanship in the past (I’m not getting in that argument) shouldn’t change that.

        • Roar Guru

          November 24th 2012 @ 11:02am
          sheek said | November 24th 2012 @ 11:02am | ! Report

          dasilva,

          I’m happy to argue this because I believe it needs to be said – today’s batsmen are indulged and pampered.

          What is blatantly obvious to me doesn’t appear so obvious to others.

          # batsman of 2010 wears helmet to protect head & face & remove fear of physical injury

          # batsman of 1910 only wore cap or sunhat, & protected his head by skill & wit

          # batsman of 2010 has cutting-edge technology gloves, pads, protectors & guards to protect body

          # batsman of 1910 only had rudimentary protection from gloves, pads, protectors & guards

          # pitches of 2010 are rolled with latest scientific-enhanced rollers & other machines

          # pitches of 1910 were rolled by rudimentary rollers that didn’t always produce a level strip, but possible undulations

          # pitches in 2010 are always covered to protect it from the elements

          # pitches in 1910 were left uncovered & playing on a “sticky” wicket was basically unplayable

          # outfields in 2010 are beautifully manicured, allowing the ball to race to the boundary

          # outfields in 1910 were cut rough-hewn with possible potholes, all contributing to slow the ball up

          # bats in 2010 have a 90% sweet spot on the surface, allowing the ball to fly far even off a miss-hit

          # bats in 1910 had a sweet spot as small as 30%, making the batsman work harder & smarter

          # bats in 2010 have a thicker edge, dulling the snick that the ball comes off the bat

          # bats in 1910 had a smaller edge leading to more acute snicks off the bat

          # In 2010, Ponting and Clarke are both averaging 52 with the bat.

          # In 1910, Trumper & Hill each finished with a batting average of 39.

          Despite the 13 point difference, I would say all four batsmen are very similar in ability & skill. It’s just that the 2010 batsmen enjoy so many natural advantages that enhances their averages.

          They aren’t necessarily better, just fortunate to live in the time that they do.

          • November 24th 2012 @ 11:30am
            Johnno said | November 24th 2012 @ 11:30am | ! Report

            sheek. Batter’s have far more advantages in preperation, and technology today no question, and are physically fitter too. But what about the fact that bowlers today are physically fitter, have more variety, and are faster, and also have more analysis on the batsman there bowling too. That has to even it out somewhat. Coz with the no helmet factor, yes an issue but bowlers didn’t bowl as fast back then. None were bowling in the 150km mark or even 145 mark .

            Plenty of batters in the 1980’s and 90’s would never bother wear a helmet when guys like Mark or steve waugh or simon o’donnell would come on to bowl, but would put there helmet back on when a Craig Mcdermott type would come on to bowl. So modern batsmen could comfortably deal with 135km-138km with no helmet it seems. How fast did the bowlers bowl in the 40’s I don’t know.

            • Roar Guru

              November 24th 2012 @ 11:53am
              sheek said | November 24th 2012 @ 11:53am | ! Report

              Johnno,

              No doubt today’s bowlers are fitter & they need to be considering the many benefits enjoyed by today’s batsmen. The big difference is not in speed generated but in speed sustained.

              It seems raw speed hasn’t changed so much. What has changed is that today’s bowler’s can sustain their top speed for longer periods than say in the 1960s.

              There remains debate as to whether Shoaib Akhtar was conclusively faster than Jeff Thomson. When Thomson first did speed trials in 1975 he wasn’t considered quite as fast as one year earlier.

              There are those who argue that Frank Tyson was faster than Thomson. And from an earlier generation there were those who argued Harold Larwood was faster than Tyson.

              So it seems while pace hasn’t changed much, the ability to sustain pace for longer periods has certainly changed.

              • November 24th 2012 @ 12:23pm
                Johnno said | November 24th 2012 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

                Sheek that’s the thing. The sustained level of fitness is there. But yes ultimately the fear factor is way less now than back then. And we may even see that in rugby league to next year, it will go down a little knowing no shoulder charge ready to give you a bell ringer.

                Maybe back then yes the fear factor would still of been higher, but also back then people knew MASSIVELY far less, about brain damage, concussion, head trauma, call it what you want, back then. But also no multiple camera tv technology or slow mo’s , to assess at video sessions at training.
                Far more pampered now. Guys like Viv and Richie Richardson sheel are rare, 99% of batsman don’t feel more relaxed or as confident with out a helmet. And Richie Richardson towards the end of his career started to wear a helmet anyway.

                No the cricketers of today are far more pampered and safer than back then in the 40’s and 50’s, as speed of the top quicks hasn’t changed that much, and you only need 1 whack and it could be lights out or serious injury.

                Just ask ex PM a man who loved cricket Bob Hawke. I remember watching on TV, Hawkey cop one bulls eye in the eye. He was playing a social cricket match. And what made it worse was he was wearing glasses and his glasses shattered. Ouch, Hawkey was lucky he didn’t go blind in 1 or both eyes.

          • Roar Rookie

            November 24th 2012 @ 11:32am
            Neuen said | November 24th 2012 @ 11:32am | ! Report

            How long do you think Steve Waugh would have lasted in a era where the bowlers were not chained? You think he would have not been killed by Sylvester Clarke coming around the wicket with 6 snorters aimed at his eyeballs?

            • Roar Guru

              November 24th 2012 @ 12:00pm
              sheek said | November 24th 2012 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

              Neuen,

              I think it’s fair to say Steve Waugh’s “true” average is perhaps around 47-48, which is still exceptional.

              here’s the interesting thing about the Waugh twins.

              Steve analysed his game & realised what worked or didn’t work. He certainly became a better batsman by playing within his limitations, although he became a duller batsman to watch.

              Mark was a far better batsman than his final average suggests, probably closer to 44-46. But you can only rely on natural talent & flair so much. Unlike Steve, mark never bothered to tighten his game & his average suffered accordingly.

              Sylvester Clarke was frightening alright. But then so was Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall, Colin Croft, Joel Garner & Wayne Daniel.

              The period 1975-85 produced an arraying collection of truly talented & frightening fast bowlers from the Caribbean.

              • Roar Rookie

                November 24th 2012 @ 4:17pm
                Neuen said | November 24th 2012 @ 4:17pm | ! Report

                Sheek Steve was one of the cricketers I admired much and been a favorite of mine. But he did take some short stuff and struggled with it. He is as brave as you can get but during his period which he was playing he knew they could only fire 2 at you then its over. Back then those guys you all mentioned not to forget about Thompson and Lillee could fire a full over of short stuff at your head. I saw a picture of Graham Gooch who looked like he went 12 rounds with George Foreman.

                Sadly after that everyone complained about the Windies over rate and the bouncer rule as well as overrate laws were implemented which of course started the downward spiral of Windies cricket.. The generation of today and fans are robbed from the fine cricket the Windies did deliver and the entertainment with it.

                Also we are denied seeing the spectacle of extreme pace and them scaring the bejesus out of batsman. Lee and Akthar would have been feared like they are suppose to instead they bowled their shoulders out of their sockets only to see batsman from 1 to 11 stand and deliver without much fear. On a flat wicket with a old ball there is not much a bowler can do and it is visible today as the trend goes 10 to 15 overs couple of wickets then they have to wait till the new ball to for a chance again. The fair contest between bat and ball is sadly gone.

              • November 24th 2012 @ 4:33pm
                dasilva said | November 24th 2012 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

                Steve handled himself fine against Ambrose/Walsh in the 90’s and manage to handle Donald and Polllock quite well as well as Akram and younis. He average 50 in the 90’s which was an era where flat pitches hasn’t completely took over yet and there was still world class bowlers out there. There was only Lara, Tendulkar and Waugh who were averaging over 50 then and it wasn’t until the 00’s when the explosion of 50+ batsman took over where you have guys like Samaraweera with a 50+ average (does anyone consider him an all time great batsman?)

                Sure maybe batting was easier in the 90’s but he excelled when the balance between bat and ball was still there.

                You rate Waugh at number 6 Australian batsman but I would put him above ricky ponting.

            • November 24th 2012 @ 12:15pm
              Johnno said | November 24th 2012 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

              Dead meat Neuen. Tough to deal with no doubt about it.

          • November 24th 2012 @ 2:36pm
            Tom said | November 24th 2012 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

            Batsman of today also have boundary ropes bringing the field in by 4-5m

            • Roar Rookie

              November 24th 2012 @ 4:46pm
              Neuen said | November 24th 2012 @ 4:46pm | ! Report



              There is one where he made 90 after being hit time and again by Hayward. This is all fast bowlers who are restricted to bowling only 2 a over. Before the 82 they could bowl 6 at you.

      • Roar Guru

        November 24th 2012 @ 12:49pm
        ak said | November 24th 2012 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

        I think I mixed up with my second last line. I am actually saying that Bradman might have been able to maintain an average like that even today. And more importantly today’s greats would not have been able to average 99.94 had they been in Bradman’s era.

    • Roar Guru

      November 24th 2012 @ 12:06pm
      sheek said | November 24th 2012 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

      I sometimes try this exercise to demonstrate how futile it is attempting to bring Bradman back to the field.

      Let’s say that bradman’s batting average from the 1930s & 40s is over-inflated by 20% due to the fact that apart from Larwood & Bodyline in 1932/33, he was rarely challenged by pace at other times.

      So his average comes down to 80. So guess what?, he’s still 20 points better than the next three batsman – Pollock, Headley & Sutcliffe.

      Now use the same argument bring him back in the 2000s. let’s argue today’s conditions would restrict him by 20%.

      So he still has batting average of 80, which is more or less than 25 points more than Tendulkar, Kallis, Sangakkara, etc, etc, etc.

      If that doesn’t satisfy you, reduce his average by a third down to 67. Guess what?, he’s still way out in front!

      Bradman is so far ahead of anyone else to play the game as a batsman, let’s just accept that fact right here & now & stop trying to fight it.

      It is what it is!

      • November 24th 2012 @ 4:01pm
        dasilva said | November 24th 2012 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

        I’ll add that because batsman are overpampered today thanks to flat batting wicket

        Is it true then that bowlers today who dominate are therefore the strongest?

        Glenn McGrath average in the 20.53 throughout the 00’s (which is even better than his career record and his record in the 90’s when pitches haven’t completely gone flat yet) this was when batting was at the most easiest throughout the history of test cricket

        Is he therefore the greatest fast bowler of all time because he dominated the era where batting was the easiest.

        Is Mcgrath therefore a clearly better bowler than Lillee, Hadlee, Marshall because he dominate the most batting friendly era in test cricket ever

      • November 24th 2012 @ 8:45pm
        Kay said | November 24th 2012 @ 8:45pm | ! Report

        I don’t think anyone will read my argument here, because you all are approaching it as a fact and then trying to prove it with selective evidence.

        When we measure player value, do we do it by relative value (vs his peers at the time) or absolute value?

        If we do it by relative value, then there is an argument for Bradman being the greatest of all time. 99.94 completely dwarfs anything by any of his contemporaries.

        My issue, however, is with regarding him as the greatest of all time. Sure he played on uncovered pitches, but they weren’t really as uncovered as modern fans like to make them out to be. A comment made on Bradman that is fitting,

        “If there really is a blemish on his amazing record it is…the absence of a significant innings on one of those ‘sticky dogs’ of old, when the ball was hissing and cavorting under a hot sun following heavy rain. This is not to say he couldn’t have played one, but that on the big occasion, when the chance arose, he never did”

        Second, is the advances in sports and equipment these days, that make modern day athletes fitter, stronger and better than their historic counterparts. You can shut your eyes and say it isn’t happening, but look in sports all across the word, where world records after world records are being broken. Are you really going to argue a 100m sprinter who was 60% better than his peers is as good as Usain Bolt now?

        Third, the quality and variety of bowling faced now is far more varied, and requires far more skill to combat. Loose techniques like Bradman’s (and I do not say that lightly, just google how he batted, using a pivot technique), would have not fared well at all against mystery spin. Granted that technology may be a boon for today’s batsmen, given they can observe replays of bowlers, but that is misrepresenting a bigger truth, Bowlers use the replays more to understand and exploit weaknesses in a batsman’s technique, targeting weak areas again and again at again.

        Bowlers today are undoubtedly faster than those in Bradman’s era as well. For someone who said that Jeff Thompson was quicker than Akhtar, that may very well be true, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that Bradman did not face Thompson and faced 80mph trundlers, who never received the consistent training and coaching that today’s do. The helmet argument falls away here, you cannot make the comparison, because it is insulting to today’s players to suggest that they would not continue playing the game with the same mental rigour if they were hit on the head. Sir Viv here has an argument for being greater than Bradman. Even Sachin Tendulkar was helmet less in his debut game, and as a 16 year old had his nose smashed and bloodied by 90mph Waqar Younis. Looking at his record and Sir Viv’s, I don’t think it changed the fact they were destined for greatness. Scientists have proven how batting at 90mph is not marginally harder than batting at 80mph, let alone the 75mph Bradman faced. The human body’s reactions are strained at 90mph-100moh+, the ball appears as a blur, and no matter how much you practise, it is a physical limitation of the brain to react so fast.

        Sure boundaries are shorter now, but they weren’t in Vivian Richards heyday, Sure bats are thicker now, but again, they weren’t in Viv’s day. In fact, the Lara and Tendulkar of the 90s faced probably the toughest conditions, with heavy amounts of cricket, reverse swing (let’s not even go there with how Bradman would have coped!) . Notably, fielders are fitter and stronger now as well. How many 2s would’ve been 4s in the olden days? Just look at how fat and unfit they were. There were also rest days in Test cricket then, and cricket was only Test cricket, not ODI or T20, which require completely different skill sets.

        I think we all are living in past glory when it comes to the Don, greatest of his time, yes, but not the greatest of all time for me.

        I will end on this analogy; if at your local village green (against whom you play against one team again and again (England here)), which consists of 75mph bowlers, and flat flooted fielders, you continuously outsource all your teammates in games by almost twice, does that make you a great? To your team, YES! To an international cricketer…. – I’ll leave that one with you.

        • November 24th 2012 @ 9:13pm
          Johnno said | November 24th 2012 @ 9:13pm | ! Report

          Kay

          A very good clear summary you bring thank you.
          The fact is bowlers are fitter now than ever been . And most faster and certainly more variety,. And heaps more video analysis to combat opposition batsmen.

          The bad curator stuff, is overrated I agree with you. And fielders are worse back then, which helps batsmen like Viv.
          But Viv and all his in his time didn’t play much with ropes either. For me some stadnouts.

          Viv Richards, Javed Miandad as good as they came, a true street fighter, Bob Simpson, and Alan Border, and pure talent Kim Hughes, and Richie Richardson.

          Let’s focus on Alan Border as one example who I think is truly a remarkable cricketer.

          AB- all in the 1980’s the following.

          -Facing brutal west indies attacks int he peak of there powers right up to his retirement in 1993/4 ending in STH Africa him and Kepler Wessels in March 1994.

          -AB had to go on the subcontinent too in the 1980’s when India and Pakistan were truly rough places to play. Everything goes wrong, . Delayed flights, Dehli Belly, fans mobbing you everywhere and keeping you up late all night at the same time too. Crooked umpires in both countries cheating like mad, to please some bookie , or please the fans fearing for his own life.

          -Tough curries to eat. this is the 1980’s remember , were talking times guys who the most cosmopolitan food they had ever eaten was spag bol .

          -Rebel tours as well, hurting the playing talent and team morale.

          NZ with Hadlee in his prime , and a talented NZ team.

          -Hostile caribeen tours as well, at places like Sabina park, and players getting smashed on the pitch, and also getting smashed off it no discipline back then int he caribeen made AB’S life tough.

          No wonder he was nicknamed captain grumpy can’t blame AB.

          -yet AB guided Australia to the 1987 world cup win, having to beat India in India and Pakistan in Pakistan , to win the cup and a much more fancied England team.

          -Went to 1989 ashes , with a tough as they come attitude no socialising with the palms. Won the Ashes back,.

          -Had to take over as well during the Kim Hughes saga, aussy cricket was a mess when AB came in.

          -SO he had to steer the ship during these times. Plus play some tough test cricket vs STH Africa at the end of his career.

          -And no great spinners like Warney or even Stuey Mcgill.

          -AB had it tough as they come and had to deal with a lot of tough stuff, Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting (for most of captaincy and playing career) didn’t have to deal with.

          -So he has to seriously be looked at as one of the all time greats. As does Javed Miandad, Bob SImpson. Viv was still great, no helmet just added to that swagger, he did make runs vs Lille and Thommo. But like punter Viv did benefit from having a massively talented batting and amazing bowling line up.

          -AB rarely had such luxuries , only at the last summer did he get a truly peaking Shane Warne.

          • November 24th 2012 @ 10:54pm
            Bayman said | November 24th 2012 @ 10:54pm | ! Report

            Kay, Johnno,

            I guess I could go on and on about how wrong you both are and try to explain it in such a manner that you would understand but it’s late, and I’m tired. So I’ll just say, “You’re wrong” and leave it at that.

            The bottom line, if I have to explain then, clearly, you could never understand.

            • November 24th 2012 @ 11:01pm
              Johnno said | November 24th 2012 @ 11:01pm | ! Report

              Bayman elaborate mate if you have time. Or tomorrow or some the trim you fresh love to hear your opinions why Kay and me have got it wrong.

              • November 25th 2012 @ 12:40am
                Bayman said | November 25th 2012 @ 12:40am | ! Report

                Johnno,

                It’s been a long day at the cricket in Adelaide followed by a long dinner – and a glass or two of a pretty good red – but I’ll at least make a start……..

                Kay makes a comment about pitches not being as ‘uncovered as modern fans like to make them out to be” then immediately talks of an apparent weakness of Bradman’s on a ‘sticky’. It appears to have escaped Kay’s logic that a sticky occurs precisely because, usually, the pitch is uncovered. It gets wet and soft and gooey then the sun starts to dry it and the pitch becomes ‘sticky’. This could not happen with a covered wicket.

                It was stated as a possible weakness in Bradman’s skill set though largely in comparison with Jack Hobbs who was a genius on a ‘sticky’ wicket. Bradman, of course, never faced as many ‘stickies’ as Hobbs so perhaps this is not surprising.

                However, given today’s players have never seen one I can only imagine the carnage if they suddenly were confronted with such a track. They can’t play a swinging ball, let alone a ball jumping out of a mine field.

                Oh, and on those uncovered wickets – they were as uncovered as uncovered gets. That is, no covers at all so I have no idea what the hell Kay is talking about. Indeed, in the 60s/70s in English county cricket when covers were used they only covered the bowlers run ups – not the wicket. The authorities didn’t want a bowler slipping and hurting himself but the poor old batsman had to bat on a quagmire.

                Kay also blithely suggests that modern athletes are clearly fitter, stronger and better than those of Bradman’s day then “proves” that statement by saying 100 metre runners were not as fast as Usain Bolt. Given that many Olympic sports are measured by time, height or distance this is not so surprising.

                Cricket, however, is best measured by skill for which there is no absolute measure which can be compared. The assumption is that because Usain Bolt holds the world 100 metres record now then all previous sprinters were inferior – and by association all previous cricketers must also be inferior.

                Yet Peter Siddle, just last year, had to be told by Craig McDermott to pitch the ball further up if he wanted it to swing. Any kid of the past 100 years knew that to be true. Why not Peter Siddle? He’s a Test player for God’s sake.

                A hundred batsmen today all lunge onto the front foot because they been told to do it by incompetent coaches. The great players through history have invariably been back foot players yet this skill is not only being ignored it is being lost. Through incompetence.

                It was good enough for Bradman to average 99.94 but not good enough for the modern gurus who average something slightly less!

                Kay also suggests today’s bowlers have more variety and skill than those of yesterday. How he makes that massive assumption is completely beyond me. Presumably, it is based on the premise that since Usain Bolt is quicker than anyone previously then so must modern bowlers be better than anyone previously.

                Forgive me if I fail to see the advantages of Siddle and Hilfenhaus over McKenzie and Davidson – or Lindwall and Miller. I must have missed something.

                Kay also suggests that bowlers of Bradman’s era were not as fast as those today and not as well trained or coached. I can only say that Bradman often had to face the same bowlers for five Test matches – not two or three like today’s fitness freaks. Cummins, finely tuned machine that he is, has played one Test in a year and a half. Pattinson can generally manage two before straining something, Watson can’t manage any. All of our quicks in recent years have missed significant game time (Siddle, Hilfenhaus, Starc, Hazlewood, Tait, Johnson…..need I go on?).

                As for coaching – how does Kay explain Johnson who has manifestly failed to implement anything his coaches may have told him (Yes, I am assuming they mentioned something about landing the ball in the same suburb as the batsman).

                Kay also mentions bats were not ‘thicker’ in Viv Richards’ day. Er, actually, Kay, they were – and by a factor. Are they even more thick today? Absolutely, and it is a huge advantage.

                Then, of course, there is Kay’s argument about the modern fielders. It is fair to say that fielding standards today are better than in days gone by. However, in Bradman’s case, as with all great players, it matters less than for most.

                The skill of Bradman was to hit to the gaps. Move a fieldsman and Bradman hit to where he had been. A friend of mine played Test cricket for New Zealand and one day played in a match opposed to Everton Weekes, the great West Indian. At lunch he was told by Weekes that he had batted quite well but should have been, at least, 24 more than he had scored to date.

                Weekes asked what he was looking at just before he took guard and my mate replied, “I look where the fieldsmen are”. “No man, no man” said Weekes, “Look at the gaps”. In the second dig my mate got 90 odd and during the innings Weekes strolled past and said, “That’s better, man”.

                So fieldsmen can be as athletic as they like but guys like Bradman simply don’t care. It’s irrelevant to them. Hit the gaps and it doesn’t matter how fit the fieldsman is. He’s simply out of play. That’s the skill.

                And no passage of time, or Olympic records, will alter the fact that in sports where success is not measured in time, height or distance improvement is not guaranteed simply because time has passed. It is a false premise.

                We might be able to say modern cricketers are fitter – by some measurable scale – but we cannot say they are definitely better. In truth, we probably cannot even say they are fitter given how many of them now sit on the sidelines for extended periods. Fitter, perhaps, by some scientific method of measurement – but not match fitter (otherwise Cummins, Watson and, now, Pattinson would still be available).

                As for Kay’s statement that One Day and T20 cricket somehow mean Bradman must be less of a player – he only played Test cricket – I can only say what Keith Miller said the Richie Benaud after the younger man expressed disappointment at not being able to bowl to Bradman in a first class match. “Everybody gets a lucky break in life” said Miller, “Not having to bowl to Bradman was yours”.

              • November 25th 2012 @ 1:19am
                dasilva said | November 25th 2012 @ 1:19am | ! Report

                Thanks Bayman that’s an informative post.

        • November 25th 2012 @ 12:11am
          dasilva said | November 25th 2012 @ 12:11am | ! Report

          I think your uncovered wicket has some validity

          http://www.chasingthedon.com/The%20Curious%20Case%20of%20the%20Don%20and%20the%20Sticky%20Wicket.doc

          This person did an analysis on Don Bradman performance on sticky wickets. Determine that bradman played 11 matches on rain affected matches and 41 matches where it was unaffected by rain

          The result was he average 20.29 when it rained and 119.9 when it didn’t rain and he only scored one half century on the “sticky wicket”

          Although saying this, this probably leads credence to George Headley being a serious contender to the greatest batsman rather than diminishing Bradman achievement and it still does show that Bradman average would have been much higher without playing on sticky wickets. He wasn’t great on sticky wickets but if we compare apples with apples then you can say that Bradman average 120 on uncovered pitches compared to the modern greats who play 100% of matches on uncovered wickets who only average in the mid 50’s to low 60’s

          If your argument as that Trumper, Headley etc were a better batsman than bradman and used that argument than that would be valid argument but it isn’t really an argument when comparing with modern batsman

          In terms of mystery spin
          I’m sorry but the only mystery spin that wasn’t invented around bradman time was the doosra. The carrom ball was invented by Iverson who played first class cricket around Bradman’s time, O’reilly bowled the googly and top spinner. Charlie Grimmett invented the flipper.

          It’s true that the best spin bowlers were Australian and he didn’t face the in test cricket but it’s not like Bradman struggled in first class cricket. He would have face all the “mystery spin” in domestic cricket

          Another thing, what makes it obvious that bowlers were faster today than in the past. Now that may be true but there isn’t any evidence. What evidence do you have that Tyson and Larwood isn’t express pace? Saying Bowlers are obviously faster now than in the statement without any justification. The fact that the express pace such as lee and akhtar and thompson aren’t exactly contenders to the greatest bowlers of all time. Really you only have to be bowling in Mcgrath pace if you were accurate or in the 140’s to be serious contenders to be a world class bowler. In the 150’s there really isn’t evidence that those bowlers dominate world cricket when there are other skills such as accuracy, movement of the pitch, swing etc that are more important.

          I can accept the increase fitness (in terms of stamina although for some reason not in injury prevention) and superior fielding in modern cricket but when you counter balance with inferior bats, no helmets (in terms of comparing with batsman in the 90’s) and the fact that Bradman average 120 on uncovered pitches which is a fairer comparison than the 99.97.

          • November 25th 2012 @ 12:27am
            dasilva said | November 25th 2012 @ 12:27am | ! Report

            Sorry I meant 120 on non-rain affected pitches rather than uncovered

          • November 25th 2012 @ 1:53am
            dasilva said | November 25th 2012 @ 1:53am | ! Report

            I’ll just continue on about the whole “mystery spin”. Mystery spin was basically PR by Shane Warne to psyche out opposing batsman

            By creating the myth that leg spinning is this magical art and saying he invented deliveries that don’t exist (you know the zooters etc). He can create an image that he is a magician to opposition batsman and win the mental games before he even delivers a ball. Warne may have the slider but really that was a poor substitute for the flipper that he stopped bowling due to injuries.

            Warne was just a classical leg spinner. Perhaps the greatest leg spinner of all time and his greatness was his execution of the basics that has been around since the days of O’reilly, Grimmett etc rather than innovating or creating new deliveries.

            The only bowler I can really consider “mystery spin” is muralitharan who is basically one of a kind bowler because due to his double jointed wrist he is essentially a wrist spinning off-spinner and his doosra (although invented by Saqlain mustaq) was certainly unique (by the way, Bradman was a big defender of Muralitharan and his bowling action and he considered Hair no balling him “”the worst example of umpiring that [he had] witnessed, and against everything the game stands for.” http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/12/04/1101923389044.html?oneclick=true )

            However I think Bradman would adapt to Murali uniqueness and it’s not like Murali’s record is pretty similar to Warne. There’s no reason to think that Bradman would struggle against modern spinners if he didn’t struggle against the spinners of his time.

            • November 25th 2012 @ 9:54am
              Kay said | November 25th 2012 @ 9:54am | ! Report

              To Bayman,

              Thanks for your post – even though I disagree with you, still an informative post!

              I can understand the whole confusion over the uncovered/sticky wickets. My point is that Bradman hardly played on them, and when he did, his average suffered. But given that he played so few games on them, it’s not fair to give him the advantage of having played on sticky wickets as being a reason for him being better than today’s players.

              Secondly, I think I should clarify my view of cricket’s eras. It is essentially pre 1970s, and post 1970s for me. Post 1970s is when all of the truly fast bowling emerged, when the worlds greatest spinners emerged, when more teams started playing competitive test cricket, when technology developed to assist umpires in making correct decisions, and now allowing them to review (reducing that benefit of doubt batsmen once latched on to). Craig McDermott is a player of modern times for me, he does not fit into Bradmans time or any time near that, so I am a bit puzzled by your comment on his advice to Siddle.

              With regards to the 100m analogy, fine, it’s athletics, but I’d happily mention any other sport to you in which athletes (both by nature of skill and fitness ) have progressed further.

              Football : Messi and Ronaldo are now both being considered by experts to be better than Maradona and Pele
              Golf: Tiger Woods (whatever his off field escapades ) is unparalleled
              Tennis: Roger Federer, – it would be a joke to mention Fred Perry in the same sentence as him
              F1: Schumacher, or Senna
              basketball : it’s still Michael Jordan,but there are competitors

              And many many other sports!

              Now for my final point, why is it when we pick best ever bowlers, we pick them from the last 30 years but when it comes to batsmen we’re adamant on choosing players who wouldn’t even survive one ball in the modern game?

              Let me refresh your memory, you conveniently quote Hilfenhaus, Siddle etc of the modern day but forget these titans,

              Warne, Murali, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Brett Lee, Denis Lillee, Jeff Thompson, Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose, Glen McGrath, Shoaib Akhtar, Brett Lee, Dale Steyn, Alan Domald, Abdul Qadir, Anil Kumble,

              With regards to speed, it is the subjective, but anyone present during the emergence of fast bowling in the 70s, including those born in the 20s and earlier at that time, will tell you of how fast bowling was redefined by the Aussie quicks and West Indians.

              And I haven’t even factored in the emergence of the greatest leg spinner ever, Warne, or the reverse swinging duo of Wasim and Waqar. Granted, today, at this very point in time, bowling attacks aren’t at their best, but to infer from that the bowling in the last 30 years was also like that is an insult to the greats.

              Go on, I challenge you, come up with a list of bowlers from per 1970s who you think would rival that.

              Funnily enough, Sir VIv, Sachin and Lara all faced some of those bowlers at their peaks and still performed.

              Bradman would have been a sitting duck I am afraid.

              On ODI cricket and T20 cricket… I take a different view point, Bradman, (as all the batsmen in his time) would have been so exposed in today’s era, having to shuffle between country’s and adapting to different styles of play! It was a blessing for Bradman he played in the 40s, when he had only the Poms to play and pummel, again and agaiin and again.

              I have covered off every point you raised against my argument here. Can you at least do the same with your next reply please – you missed out many of my old points earlier? Namely I would like to see your arguments against…

              1, Relative greatness vs Absolute greatness
              2. Your view on post 1970 and on 1970 bowling attacks – speed, reverse swing, and quality of spinners
              3. Your view on playing a single opposition again and again, with rest days in Tests that allow for the recovery of bowlers!
              4. Your view on technology exploiting weaknesses in batsmen in the modern game
              5. Your (hopefully revised ) view on how sports performance has increased in every sport, yet cricket remains an exception.

              I am open to changing my mind, but I have thought a lot about this. If your persuade me otherwise, maybe I will change my mind!

              • November 25th 2012 @ 10:28am
                Jason said | November 25th 2012 @ 10:28am | ! Report

                Kay – I think you immediately lose the debate when your list of bowling “titans” includes Brett Lee. Twice.

                But if you want a list of some bowlers pre 1970 (which seems to be a magical date after which world bowlers became fitter, stronger, faster and better), then you might think about:

                Lindwall, Davidson, McKenzie, Miller, Ian Johnson, Benaud, Grimmett, O’Reilly, Trumble, Mailey, Turner and Spofforth from Australia; Snow, Trueman, Bedser, Statham, Tyson, Underwood, Laker, Verity, Barnes, Lohmann from England; Peter Pollock, Adcock; Tayfield from Saf; Wes Hall, Gibbs, Valentine, Ramadhin for West Indies,

              • November 26th 2012 @ 2:00am
                Bayman said | November 26th 2012 @ 2:00am | ! Report

                Kay,

                From your rather lengthy and, may I say, uninformed comment I can only say you must be a relative cricketing youngster whose interest and knowledge of the game began sometime in the 1970s (or even later).

                On the first point: Bradman played on relatively few stickies but he played all the time on uncovered wickets. Today, incidentally, and for the past several decades, no player has played on either a sticky or an uncovered wicket.

                As for him being better than today’s players because he played on stickies I can only say – I never said that so your sugestion that I did is a little mischievous.

                On the second point: Fast bowling did not emerge post 1970s. I would point you at Jason’s comment as an introduction to pre 1970s bowlers but, just for fun, I’ll let you work out who are the quicks and who are the spinners. As for not understanding the connection between McDermott and Siddle I can only ask, “Who’s fault is that?” But for you, a clue. Modern bowlers, and certainly modern Australia bowlers, spent several years not knowing shit from clay. It took McDermott to explain to Siddle how to get the ball to swing. Any schoolboy in Bradman’s era, and up to the 1970s, understood this simple skill. Siddle, however, did not. So much for superior modern knowledge and skill.

                On your third point (other sports) let me say this – those who think Messi and Ronaldo are superior to Pele and Maradona never saw the latter two play. Perhaps you should spend some time assessing the relative strengths of their opponents. The two modern greats are, indeed, great players and deserve the recognition they get. However, it is not an uncommon thing for current scribes to imagine that surely nobody could ever have been better. It comes from not ever having seen the greats of the past.

                You assume they must be better today because Usain Bolt has recently run faster than anyone else in history (according to the clock). Fooball is not a game that can be measured by time, height or distance.

                As for the rest, let’s see – Golf: The unparalleled Tiger Woods still has not won as many majors as Jack Nicklaus.

                Tennis: Roger Federer. Still to win two Grand Slams like Rod Laver (that is, the Australian, French, Wimbledon and the US in one calendar year – twice). Great player though; although you mentioned Fred Perry, not me! Why you mentioned him I have no idea.

                Formula 1: Senna drove when the driver still made a significant difference, Schumacher had the best car (but was still pretty good). He hasn’t had the best car for some time and doesn’t win anymore. Vettel is a very good driver wth the best car – and he wins a lot. The cars are better – the drivers may not be. When was the last time you saw a serious F1 crash which removed a driver from the electoral roll? The cars are definitely safer – and the drivers know it. Pre 1970s and driver mistakes were often fatal – which added its own unique dynamic to the sport.

                Basketball: Jordan was great in his time. So was Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. So was Kareem. So now is…….pick a name.

                Finally, your killer argument that when picking great bowlers we pick them from the last thirty years. Might I respectfully suggest this is because those doing the picking only saw those bowlers in the flesh. Bradman, however, has that small matter of 99.94 over twenty years getting in the way of modern batsmen.

                As for me quoting Hilfenhaus and Siddle – I did not. The fact you said I did doesn’t mean I did just like the fact you said modern players are better doesn’t mean they are.

                Fast bowling was not redefined by the Australian and West Indies quicks of the post 1970s. I grant you that the Windies played four genuine quicks (without a spinner) but that did not redefine fast bowling. Clive Lloyd may, however, have changed the accepted view of what a bowling attack might look like – but then he never had a class spinner.

                Lindwall, Miller, Tyson, Statham, Constantine, Hall, Griffith, Heine, Adcock, Pollock et al were all very quick, thank you very much, long before Lillee and Thommo – or Roberts and Holding – or Pattinson and Cummins. They also played a lot more games (by any measure).

                On the issue of what I may, or may not, have inferred I can only say I’m not quite sure of the point you are trying to make so I’m not sure if I inferred something or not. Perhaps you are just putting words in my mouth.

                Bradman a “sitting duck”? Don’t embarrass yourself – I’ll say no more.

                As for Bradman being exposed in the modern era I can only wonder what are you thinking – or drinking? Bradman played, and excelled, against Bedser. Do you really think guys like Hilfy or Siddle or Anderson would trouble him. Perhaps you think Walsh and Ambrose would be a problem.

                Patrick Patterson once suggested to DGB in Adelaide that had he bowled to Bradman the great average may have suffered. Bradman smiled and replied, “I don’t think so Patrick – you could not even get Merv Hughes out”. Merv had made 70 odd.

                You claim to have covered off every point I made in my previous post. Not true as it turns out. You have, however, made some pretty wild claims with no evidence to back it up other than you think so.

                On my missing your earlier points I can only say I wasn’t aware you had made any. Wild guesses, tick. Gut feelings, tick. Uninformed opinions, tick. Points, sfa.

                However, since you highlighted some issues;
                1, Relative greatness vs absolute greatness. What the f*ck is that? Cricket, unlike athletics, has no absolute greatness unless we talk of Bradman’s average (99.94) or Thommo being timed at 160kph. These absolutes, however, do not measure talent just results.

                Tait was quick – but he was crap. Two overs and he was lookng for somewhere to lie down. Shane Watson can bat like Bradman in a T20 match but in a Test he just looks like Shane Watson.

                Was Hutton better than Compton? Ponsford better than McCabe? Warne better than O’Reilly? On that last one you say “Yes” and Bradman said “No”.

                Thommo was quicker than Lillee, and Lindwall, and Miller, and Davidson. But was he better? In case you’re wondering, “No, he was not”.

                2, Pre 1970 vs Post 1970. Several, who saw both, would agree with Bradman that O’Reilly was better than Warne. They might also say that Laker was better than Swann, Grimmett better than MacGill, Benaud better than Sleep/Holland/Hohns, Ramadhin and Valentine better than….any Windies spinner since the post 1970s.

                On swing, and reverse swing, in those days it was simply called outswing and inswing. It is not the fault of players of the 1920s,30s,40s, 50s, 60s that modern batsmen cannot play a swinging ball. It might, however, be something to do with modern ‘techniques’ (and I use that word advisedly).

                3, Playing the same opposition – with rest days for bowlers. Did I miss something or could this argument support the notion that Bradman was better than the moderns. He faced fresh bowlers after a day off. Your point – not mine (but largely irrelevant I would think).

                4. Technology highlighting weakness. It also highlights bowling weakness. We saw in the current Test (Adelaide) what South Africa made of the available technology to highlight weakness. The result was 480 plus in a day. Vastly over-rated I’d say.

                You can have all the computing power in the world but it doesn’t help if the bowler cannot bowl the right line or length and the skipper is a plodder who cannot set a field. Bradman would have had a field day.

                5. Sports performance has increased etc. This can easily be measured in, for example, track and field. What’s that Olympic motto, “Faster, higher, further”.

                Not so easy, however, in skill based sports. By your reckoning Warner and Cowan are better than Lawry and Simpson for no other reason than they are playing today. You may be surprised to find one or two who would happily argue against you.

                Pattinson and Siddle must be better than Lillee and Thomson and certainly better than Lindwall and Miller. Again, there may be some argument.

                Players, on average, may well be fitter today – but are they better? Are they even as match fit as those who went before (see Cummins, Pattinson etc.)? Most fast bowlers today cannot swing the ball consistently and with control – but they could pre-war and post-war. I could at high school as could several of the bowlers I played with and against. So why can’t they now.

                Neil Hawke could swing the ball, Alan Connelly, Alan Davidson, Gary Gilmour, Fred Trueman, Alec Bedser, Garry Sobers. They could do it.

                James Anderson was briefly considered a world-beater because he was doing what every third bowler was doing decades ago. The problem was that modern batsmen just had not seen that for awhile and their techniques let them down. He wasn’t so great – they were crap.

                I presume it’s never occurred to you that modern run rates, and batsmen’s averages, are generally better (except for you know who) because the bats are better, the grounds are smaller, the tracks are flatter and the bowlers are just average. Batsmen still get out though through mistakes and poor shot selection. Just like they’ve always done. Even Bradman got out – seventy times at Test level. It’s just that he averaged 99.94 before heading off.

                Finally as the most recent legspinner to be promoted to Test level I presume, by your reckoning, that Imran Tahir is the greatest leggie of all time. Nah, I didn’t think so either.

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