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Joined April 2020

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Interested in stadium politics, competition programming, sporting administration, cricket history and trivia

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Thanks Clay,

That’s a solid side, with plenty of batting depth, and no era providing a weak link, although another specialist bowler might have strengthened it.

But just to liven up a quiet long weekend, couldn’t you have chosen Kumble (264 wkts) as your 1990s representative, ahead of Tendulkar ? 😁

The All Time XI for India

Your Eminence,

Farnes and Verity played their last Tests in 1939, aged 28 and 34 respectively, then died in the war. Each would have played a few more Ashes series.

Jimmy the GOAT? - or the perils of aggregate totals

Hi Sheek,

That’s a pretty solid top 33. For next time you might consider also (in batting order)-

Gooch, MacLaren, Fry, Shrewsbury, Cowdrey, Ranji, Gower, FS Jackson, AG Steel, Flintoff, Evans, Briggs, Bedser, Richardson, Statham.

Jimmy the GOAT? - or the perils of aggregate totals

Hi Micko,

How did G Chappell, Ponting and S Smith go against Bodyline ?

The answer is that because it never happened, such comparisons are impossible. None of them ever dealt with Bodyline’s unlimited bouncers, unrestricted leg-side field placings, absence of helmets, and poor quality of body protection.

Jimmy the GOAT? - or the perils of aggregate totals

Hi Tufanoo,

The problem with these criticisms of Bradman’s stats is that averages are a zero-sum game. If poor fieldsmen who dropped catches and allowed boundaries warrant lowering his average by say one-third, from 99 to 66, then-

* the average of every other batsman should also be dropped proportionately eg Headley and Sutcliffe from 60 to 40, and Ponsford and McCabe from 48 to 32
* the average of every bowler should also be lowered similarly eg Larwood from 30 to 20, and O’Reilly from 25 to 16.

Unless of course the overall standard of all inter-war Test cricket was that much lower than both pre-WWI and post-WWII, in which case-

* why was Armstrong not far more successful in 1921, than he had been in 1901
* how could Compton be just as successful in 1955, as he had been in 1937.

There would be plenty of other equally-relevant examples.

Jimmy the GOAT? - or the perils of aggregate totals

Hi TB,

“Great” is an overused term. I think that to be truly great, one needs to be- literally- exceptional. Trumper, SF Barnes and Bradman, for example.

Jimmy the GOAT? - or the perils of aggregate totals

Hi Wiki,

Perhaps just go to Broad’s Cricinfo page, identify the matches in which he took 5WI, go to those games’ scorecards, and then analyse the interval scores for each day’s play, to see whether 5 of the wickets that fell during any one session were taken by him.

Jimmy the GOAT? - or the perils of aggregate totals

Hi Dwanye,

A different world back then-

First-class games- Rhodes 1,110; Anderson 296
First-class wickets- Rhodes 4,204; Anderson 1,114
First-class runs- Rhodes 39,969; Anderson 2,039

Jimmy the GOAT? - or the perils of aggregate totals

Thanks Mike,

Very persuasive. Ranking the best 10 sides out of the 12 was very difficult, with so many sides containing so many match-winners. And you’ve made Iqbal Qasim quite unhappy ! 😁

The 12 Teams of the Month: Which World Cricket XI would triumph?

Hi Rowdy,

Here you go-

https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/has-july-produced-the-most-prolific-test-bowlers-1225938

The 12 Teams of the Month: Which World Cricket XI would triumph?

Botham had identical, and often superior, raw figures to Anderson, as well as being a genuine batsman and regularly 1 of 5 bowlers in a side-

Average- Botham 28.40, Anderson 26.52
Wickets per match- Botham 3.75, Anderson 3.74
Strike-rate- Botham 56.96, Anderson 56.97
Balls per match- Botham 213.87, Anderson 213.25
10WM- Botham once every 25 games, Anderson once every 63
5WI- Botham once every 3.8 games, Anderson once every 5.8

Jimmy the GOAT? - or the perils of aggregate totals

ECB on X- “simply the greatest.

Sky Sports- “James Anderson one of England’s greatest sportspeople as he continues to star in his 40s, says Michael Atherton.”

Or to borrow a line from a recent children’s animated movie- “When everyone’s special, no-one’s special.”

I hate to appear churlish, but Anderson is just one of many great bowlers. While his longevity is unique and should be celebrated, many others were just as good without receiving the same opportunity.

Jimmy the GOAT? - or the perils of aggregate totals

Hi DaveJ,

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, just cutting and pasting my comments from an earlier article-

While career longevity is an achievement, “most prolific” does not mean “the greatest.” Here’s a few pro-rata rankings of seven elite English medium-pacers-

Runs per wicket- Lohmann 10.75, Barnes 16.43, Bedser 24.89, Tate 26.16, Anderson 26.52, Broad 27.68, Botham 28.40

Balls per wicket- Lohmann 34, Barnes 41, Broad 55, Botham 56, Anderson 56, Bedser 67, Tate 80

Wickets per match- Barnes 7.00, Lohmann 6.22, Bedser 4.63, Tate 3.97, Botham 3.75, Anderson 3.74, Broad 3.62

Balls per match- Tate 321, Bedser 312, Barnes 291, Botham 213, Anderson 213, Lohmann 212, Broad 201

Matches per 10WM- Lohmann 3.6, Barnes 3.8, Bedser 10.2, Botham 25.5, Tate 39.0, Broad 55.6, Anderson 62.3

Matches per 5WI- Barnes 1.1, Lohmann 2.0, Bedser 3.4, Botham 3.7, Tate 5.5, Anderson 5.8, Broad 8.3

Test career- Anderson 22 years, Broad 17, Botham 16, Barnes 14 (ended by WWI), Tate 12, Lohmann 11 (ended by illness), Bedser 10 (delayed by WWII)

First-class career duration- Barnes 33 years (and interrupted by WWI), Anderson 23, Tate 22 (and interrupted by WWI), Botham 20, Broad 19, Bedser 16 (and interrupted by WWII), Lohmann 14 (and ended by illness)

Balls per year (first-class and List A)- Tate 6,839, Bedser 6,632, Lohmann 5,123, Botham 4,322, Anderson 3,113, Broad 3,033, Barnes ? (most seasons played league cricket only)

And that’s after disregarding faster bowlers such as Trueman, Snow and Richardson.

Jimmy the GOAT? - or the perils of aggregate totals

Hi TB,

Here’s the number of Test cricketers born by month, up to Jul 2020, courtesy of Cricinfo-

298 – December
297 – October
266 – March
259 – September
252 – November
248 – June
242 – February
242 – August
232 – May
231 – July
225 – April
219 – January

The 12 Teams of the Month: Which World Cricket XI would triumph?

Hi Micko,

For the December team, I’m very comfortable with a middle-order of 3. Don Bradman 4. Greg Chappell 5. Frank Worrell (c) 6. Clive Lloyd.

While Williamson might have an overall career average of 54.98, it’s worth noting that-

* he averages just 36.95 v Aus, 36.85 v Eng, and 37.86 v Ind
* his figures are bolstered by averaging 82.20 v Ban, 78.60 v Zim, 78.17 v SL, and 60.62 v WI.

The 12 Teams of the Month: Which World Cricket XI would triumph?

And neither of us can prove the other wrong ! In my fantasy 12-team, 11-round competition, Bumrah would be in the December squad and get plenty of cricket.

The 12 Teams of the Month: Which World Cricket XI would triumph?

Hi Micko,

I’m very happy to recognise the very best cricketers of all time, regardless of how long ago they played. I don’t “prefer” older players and “dismiss” more modern ones. I just compare them, as objectively as I possibly can.

12% of all Test cricketers played before WWI, and 23% before WWII. Plenty of them would have had the talent and temperament to have succeeded in the current era.

The 12 Teams of the Month: Which World Cricket XI would triumph?

Hi JN,

From the Wikipedia page on Lohmann-

“After the 1892 season had ended, a dreadful shock came when it was announced that Lohmann had contracted tuberculosis. In an effort to improve his health, he sailed during the 1892/1893 winter to Cape Town. Although at first it was hoped that he might return even when the 1893 season began, for two years his health did not at first improve and he could not play at all for Surrey in 1893 or 1894. In fact, he was not well enough to play any cricket until the 1894/1895 Currie Cup final where he turned out for Western Province.”

“Lohmann emigrated to the British Cape Colony permanently in 1897 and played a full season of first-class cricket for Western Province. In five matches on matting pitches during March 1897 he took 34 wickets for 12.26 runs each, but it was clear throughout that year that his health was unlikely to recover, and he was able to play only one further first-class match for “A Bailey’s Transvaal XI”.

Lohmann did come back to England in 1901 to manage the second South African touring team (and the first whose matches were recognised as first-class). However, his health was clearly never going to recover completely, and even after returning to Cape Town with the onset of autumn in England, Lohmann’s condition only became more critical. On 1 December 1901, the tuberculosis he had fought against for nine years finally claimed his life at age 36. He was buried at Matjiesfontein.”

The 12 Teams of the Month: Which World Cricket XI would triumph?

The 12 Teams of the Month: Which World Cricket XI would triumph?

Hi JN,

Funnily enough my original July team included Gooch at 4 in place of McCabe, before I subsequently changed my mind. Perhaps you’d play both, with Gooch opening with Barry Richards, and Gavaskar missing out ?

It’s not surprising I rated July’s team the strongest of the 12, given the number of great eligible players who didn’t make it. Including RSA’s Makhaya Ntini and Clive Rice.

The 12 Teams of the Month: Which World Cricket XI would triumph?

Hi JN,

I’m happy to defend S Pollock’s inclusion in July’s team, ahead of Anderson and Bedser. For his batting, as well as his third-change bowling behind Lillee and Hadlee. RSA’s certainly produced its share of all-rounders.

Steyn’s inclusion in June’s team certainly wouldn’t weaken it, and over the course of a full tournament he’d play when conditions suited. But I have a soft spot for Lohmann and Davidson, for team balance.

Interestingly Lohmann has a strong RSA connection. After contracting tuberculosis he spent every English winter there from the age of 27 onwards, and emigrated for good at 31, playing for WP for two seasons before dying aged just 36.

The 12 Teams of the Month: Which World Cricket XI would triumph?

Hi Cadfael,

My May-born team, and my article ranking all 12 sides, are now available for scrutiny.

Team of the Month: an April-born World Cricket XI

Hi matth,

My May-born team, and my article ranking all 12 sides, are now available for scrutiny.

Team of the Month: an April-born World Cricket XI

Hi JN,

My May-born team, and my article ranking all 12 sides, are now available for scrutiny.

Team of the Month: an April-born World Cricket XI

Hi Vamsi,

My May-born team, and my article ranking all 12 sides, are now available for scrutiny.

Team of the Month: an April-born World Cricket XI

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