2nd best, after Bradman ?

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TennisPlayerAndy

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If it was easier in the Don's era, as is being suggested, then there must be whole lot of other blokes who averaged 99.94 or close to it such as:

Jack Hobbs who averaged 56.95. Or Len Hutton who averaged 56.67. Or Wally Hammond who averaged 58.46. Or Herbert Sutcliffe who averaged 60.73. Or George Headley who averaged 60.83.

Close enough I guess. Only 40 odd runs less, everytime they went out to bat.
 

beta_condition

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You can't compare eras but you can compare how far above one guy is to number two in his own era, this is why Bradman will always be the GOAT of course.

As for Smith v Ponting, hard to say at this point, we'll probably know more in 4-5 years but it will be close, one thing is for sure we'd be completely f’ed without Smith right now.
Sutcliffe averaged 70 until his Ponting like decline

People talk about the advantages batsmen have these days which are many true but the amount of anyalsis that goes into working out where a batter scores runs/struggles is a science now not a gut feel. With the hundreds of hours of Smith footage and they still can't work out a weakness says a lot.
 

Park cricketer

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Saying someone is the best of an amateur era is not denigrating him. It wasn't his fault that he was born in an era when the sport was played in an amateur fashion. But like in all fields with time, humans make massive leaps in their abilities/strengths due to development in sciences and other technical nuances, that's pure evolution. Humans evolve with time and the maximum ability that can be extracted out of a human keeps on increasing until it plateaus at a certain threshold.

Jesse Owens was undoubtedly the best sprinter in the 1930s but we don't add a prefix everytime while referring to Usain Bolt as "the best after Owens". This doesn't mean that Owens won't be any good in present era, he was the best in the 1930s with the prevailing technological advancements then, but with much improvements in sports sciences, diets and nutrition plus better running gear, humans have started running faster which is only natural. Only in cricket we fail to differentiate between the amateur and the professional era and feel the need to add a prefix "best after Bradman" everytime because a cricket player's record unlike in sprinting, is highly dependent on his fellow competitors. When the competition is low, you have a better dominant record and when the quality of your competitors rises, it becomes more difficult to dominate your peers. It's incorrect to refer to say Steve Smith as the best after Bradman because we will never know that Smith will not be better than Bradman had Bradman played in the present era and by the same way, we cannot also make assumptions and predict that Bradman would be found out in the present pro era. Everything that we make will be pure conjecture and that's why I always divide cricket into amateur and modern eras and consider Bradman as the best of amateur era, but don't feel the need to consider him everytime while discussing about modern players after the sport turned professional.
 

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Saying someone is the best of an amateur era is not denigrating him. It wasn't his fault that he was born in an era when the sport was played in an amateur fashion. But like in all fields with time, humans make massive leaps in their abilities/strengths due to development in sciences and other technical nuances, that's pure evolution. Humans evolve with time and the maximum ability that can be extracted out of a human keeps on increasing until it plateaus at a certain threshold.

Jesse Owens was undoubtedly the best sprinter in the 1930s but we don't add a prefix everytime while referring to Usain Bolt as "the best after Owens". This doesn't mean that Owens won't be any good in present era, he was the best in the 1930s with the prevailing technological advancements then, but with much improvements in sports sciences, diets and nutrition plus better running gear, humans have started running faster which is only natural. Only in cricket we fail to differentiate between the amateur and the professional era and feel the need to add a prefix "best after Bradman" everytime because a cricket player's record unlike in sprinting, is highly dependent on his fellow competitors. When the competition is low, you have a better dominant record and when the quality of your competitors rises, it becomes more difficult to dominate your peers. It's incorrect to refer to say Steve Smith as the best after Bradman because we will never know that Smith will not be better than Bradman had Bradman played in the present era and by the same way, we cannot also make assumptions and predict that Bradman would be found out in the present pro era. Everything that we make will be pure conjecture and that's why I always divide cricket into amateur and modern eras and consider Bradman as the best of amateur era, but don't feel the need to consider him everytime while discussing about modern players after the sport turned professional.
Forget about Amateur/Professional although valid. What about Pre Body Protection V Body Protection. Today's players have no where near the fear factor of the pre 1980ish era or mandatory Helmet era. I agree that the 2nd after Bradman stuff is Boorish. The sports systems of today turn out better players overall. Bradman will always be revered because his average is just insane. Averages and stats do not tell the whole story however and the true sportsman knows this but you just can't get past that 99.94 Average. In Baseball it took juiced up players to beat Babe Ruth's Homerun records MCGuire and Bonds were huge late in their careers and will always have the asterik next to their names. To the true cricket fan it will always be the when and how and where you make your runs that count. Yep you can reflect on averages at the end of the career but the dog in the fight will always be more important. Smith is a very good player and so was Lara Richards The Chappell Brothers (not Trevor)Tendulker etc etc.
 

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If you judge strictly by averages then kumar sangakkara is the 2nd best ever (counting only batsman who have made 10,000+ runs). 12,400 runs at an average of 57.40.
Sanga was a top class batsmen but his record was significantly padded by him filling his boots against the minnows.
Also helped by those postage stamps they play on in SL.

Tendulkar is basically the poster child for the guy who damaged his legacy by playing for too long.
I don't believe that players can damage their legacy - playing on at a lower level doesn't erase what they achieved. But I do think that a lot of younger fans have their opinions about a player coloured when they saw so much of their decline and little if any of their peak. Tendulkar and Ponting both get this from a lot of people under 30, I think.

Best after Bradman, even harder to say but going on reputation alone possibly Trumper.
I'd agree with that. Impossible to judge some of those early greats, but Trumper's reputation amongst those who saw him play would indicate he was at least as far above his contemporaries as many of the other names being bandied about. Deserves to be in the discussion.

Best since the Don it's not at that stage yet but clearly the best test batsmen of this era.
Not sure about 'clearly'. A case can definitely be made for Kohli, although personally I'd have Smith ahead.

Bradman also had many years of Test cricket taken away due to WWII, and also battled health issues along the way.
His Test record post-war (when he was 38+) is actually superior to what he did pre-war. Does make you wonder what we were robbed of.
 

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Speaking of being robbed, Sir Donald himself always claimed the only batsman he saw who had the ability to match his own numbers was Barry Richards. Apartheid certainly robbed us of a rare talent.
 

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I wasn't saying that Kallis was a less valuable player - it'd be difficult to argue that, considering how selfish Steve Waugh was at times - merely that he wasn't in the same caliber with the bat as the other three due to his desire to meander along at his desired pace. By the same token, he was a good all rounder anyway, and we he Australian most of the people who spent the majority of the time arguing his inadequacy compared to the others would have possessed nothing but praise for his contributions.

However, I rate Graeme Smith as a better player than Kallis. To average 50 as both a captain and an opening bat, over a 10 year period, without being able to play the ball through cover or mid off at all is nothing short of an astounding achievement. He was unquestioned as the best captain of his generation, IMO, because what Clarke did through being a stunning technical player who was classic to watch he did through sheer force of will.
Absolutely - though I should have explained a bit better regarding that contrary school of thought - it was put into words by someone in the wake of his retirement: Kalisz actually batted for the team rather than himself, as he was a player completely capable of upping the ante when necessary.

Basically the article acknowledged that he batted slowly at times but it wasn’t for himself but for completely the opposite reason.

And Smith was an absolutely remarkable player and mentally probably sits alongside Waugh and Warne and Lara as the best I’ve seen in that department.
 

PhatBoy

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Searched for Larwood's videos.



All I see is blokes without protective gearing, trying in vain to play an entirely novel form of bowling when they have never played balls above their waists their entire lives. Of course they would struggle. It's like legalising beamers all of a sudden and picturing batsmen getting hurt and swaying out of the way to save their heads.

Imagine de Grandhomme pictured in a grainy black and white photo with a cigar. With his vintage look, he would have been touted as the meanest fast bowler ever if he were born in that era.
Haven’t they studied footage of Larwood and worked out that he bowled at about 140 clicks?

I don’t see how anyone can look at anyone from a different era and just dismiss it as being inferior because of the age it was played in. Would 20 year old Bradman, transplanted from his era, to now, be able to shine? Of course not.

Would 12 year old Bradman, growing up playing modern senior lower grade cricket, before graduating through the system and reaching elite cricket, have been a world beater by the time he was 20? Absolutely.
 

Park cricketer

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Haven’t they studied footage of Larwood and worked out that he bowled at about 140 clicks?

I don’t see how anyone can look at anyone from a different era and just dismiss it as being inferior because of the age it was played in. Would 20 year old Bradman, transplanted from his era, to now, be able to shine? Of course not.

Would 12 year old Bradman, growing up playing modern senior lower grade cricket, before graduating through the system and reaching elite cricket, have been a world beater by the time he was 20? Absolutely.
Sure, but would he have been the undoubted GOAT?

Anything we project will be pure conjecture. That he would have been good in any era is beyond speculation, but that's as far as my speculation goes.
 

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Park cricketer

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Yes I have absolutely no doubt that he would.

Freak talent translates across any era
You're assuming that the level of his competition would remain the same if he were to be born in the present modern era as it was during the 1930s when a lot of cricketers were frankly amateurs, a lot of whom played cricket and fought in world wars.

You're assuming that the average quality level of his peers/competitors never increased over a century after every cricket turned a pro sport with numerous advancements in sports sciences, nutrition, not to forget about the unbelievable technical and video analysis that's prevalent these days. That's a pretty big assumption to make.
 

PhatBoy

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You're assuming that the level of his competition would remain the same if he were to be born in the present modern era as it was during the 1930s when a lot of cricketers were frankly amateurs, a lot of whom played cricket and fought in world wars.

You're assuming that the average quality level of his peers/competitors never increased over a century after every cricket turned a pro sport with numerous advancements in sports sciences, nutrition, not to forget about the unbelievable technical and video analysis that's prevalent these days. That's a pretty big assumption to make.
He gets to benefit from every single one of those advances as well.

So I don’t believe it is at all.

It’s called relativity.

Do I think Joe Louis would beat Lennox Lewis or Vladimir Klitschko if he was airlifted from his prime to fight one of them? No.

If he was born and raised in the same era as them and exposed to the advances in training and sports science and scheduling?

Of course he could.

You can’t be statistically twice as good as most of your rivals and NOT be blessed with almost divine levels of natural ability. Hell, even the cricket stump hitting of the cricket ball training method would be impossible 95 per cent of elite players to master, both then and now.

Imagine a golfer who was averaging scores of double under par what their rivals were posting, in the 30s and 40s, and trying to make an argument that they wouldn’t be similarly dominant now given the access to new technology and course analysis etc.
As it is, Jack Nicklaus is the benchmark for major wins with what, 18? Tiger, Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer, Gene sarazen, Gary Player etc all fall in there somewhere behind.
Ben Hogan won 9, and his career roughly spanned the same sort of time frame as Bradman’s cricket career.

Hypothetically, imagine Hogan won about 28-29 majors, and was shooting scores of -20, -25 to win them.
The figures are mind blowing.

Could anyone seriously challenge his status as being the best if he were to ply his trade as a modern player? I doubt it.

People would cite the advances in technology and course design etc. but you could turn around and ask how the hell he achieved such things with wooden drivers, unweighted putters, s**t golf balls on underprepared courses, and the argument would be over.

I can’t see how anything other than the same applies to Bradman.
 

The Passenger

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He gets to benefit from every single one of those advances as well.

So I don’t believe it is at all.

It’s called relativity.

Do I think Joe Louis would beat Lennox Lewis or Vladimir Klitschko if he was airlifted from his prime to fight one of them? No.

If he was born and raised in the same era as them and exposed to the advances in training and sports science and scheduling?

Of course he could.

You can’t be statistically twice as good as most of your rivals and NOT be blessed with almost divine levels of natural ability. Hell, even the cricket stump hitting of the cricket ball training method would be impossible 95 per cent of elite players to master, both then and now.

Imagine a golfer who was averaging scores of double under par what their rivals were posting, in the 30s and 40s, and trying to make an argument that they wouldn’t be similarly dominant now given the access to new technology and course analysis etc.
As it is, Jack Nicklaus is the benchmark for major wins with what, 18? Tiger, Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer, Gene sarazen, Gary Player etc all fall in there somewhere behind.
Ben Hogan won 9, and his career roughly spanned the same sort of time frame as Bradman’s cricket career.

Hypothetically, imagine Hogan won about 28-29 majors, and was shooting scores of -20, -25 to win them.
The figures are mind blowing.

Could anyone seriously challenge his status as being the best if he were to ply his trade as a modern player? I doubt it.

People would cite the advances in technology and course design etc. but you could turn around and ask how the hell he achieved such things with wooden drivers, unweighted putters, s**t golf balls on underprepared courses, and the argument would be over.

I can’t see how anything other than the same applies to Bradman.
Well said. The talent levels don't change greatly throughout eras but the techniques and tactics do.

If you do the reverse you couldn't expect Sachin Tendulkar to be the same player he was in the 1990's if he was born in 1910. How could he be? He wouldn't have access to the advanced training, nutrition etc that he would have (and did) over half a century later.
 

Blue1980

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Sutcliffe averaged 70 until his Ponting like decline

People talk about the advantages batsmen have these days which are many true but the amount of anyalsis that goes into working out where a batter scores runs/struggles is a science now not a gut feel. With the hundreds of hours of Smith footage and they still can't work out a weakness says a lot.
More analysis of bowlers now too, so swings and roundabouts.

Thing is averages for top bats and bowlers back in Bradmans era weren’t much different to now, apart from him being a massive outlier.
 

Park cricketer

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He gets to benefit from every single one of those advances as well.

So I don’t believe it is at all.

It’s called relativity.

Do I think Joe Louis would beat Lennox Lewis or Vladimir Klitschko if he was airlifted from his prime to fight one of them? No.

If he was born and raised in the same era as them and exposed to the advances in training and sports science and scheduling?

Of course he could.

You can’t be statistically twice as good as most of your rivals and NOT be blessed with almost divine levels of natural ability. Hell, even the cricket stump hitting of the cricket ball training method would be impossible 95 per cent of elite players to master, both then and now.

Imagine a golfer who was averaging scores of double under par what their rivals were posting, in the 30s and 40s, and trying to make an argument that they wouldn’t be similarly dominant now given the access to new technology and course analysis etc.
As it is, Jack Nicklaus is the benchmark for major wins with what, 18? Tiger, Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer, Gene sarazen, Gary Player etc all fall in there somewhere behind.
Ben Hogan won 9, and his career roughly spanned the same sort of time frame as Bradman’s cricket career.

Hypothetically, imagine Hogan won about 28-29 majors, and was shooting scores of -20, -25 to win them.
The figures are mind blowing.

Could anyone seriously challenge his status as being the best if he were to ply his trade as a modern player? I doubt it.

People would cite the advances in technology and course design etc. but you could turn around and ask how the hell he achieved such things with wooden drivers, unweighted putters, s**t golf balls on underprepared courses, and the argument would be over.

I can’t see how anything other than the same applies to Bradman.
There is relativity and there is broad conjecture. Projections almost always never work in a uniform line. Otherwise all long term economic forecasts would turn out true and Japan which was one of the best performing economies in the 70s wouldn't have crashed only a decade later.

Relativity is not even uniform across a decade. Take Federer's career for example. He won 16 out of his 20 grand slams before Nadal and Djokovic turned 25, destroying and swatting away his opponents with an air of invincibility. There was Federer and then there was everyone else. If he had retired then, people would be making arguments about how Nadal and Djokovic might be good and greats in their own right but not even close to being near Federer's quality. When the level of competition isn't constant even across a decade, how can one assume it would remain a constant across a century. Again, that would be a huge assumption.

I reiterate that I would always consider amateur and professional eras of cricket as separate and Bradman was undoubtedly the best in the amateur era. Would he have been a great if he were born in the modern era? No doubt about it. Would he have still been irrefutably the GOAT batsman dominating his peers in similar fashion, I'm not so sure.
 

Blue1980

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You're assuming that the level of his competition would remain the same if he were to be born in the present modern era as it was during the 1930s when a lot of cricketers were frankly amateurs, a lot of whom played cricket and fought in world wars.

You're assuming that the average quality level of his peers/competitors never increased over a century after every cricket turned a pro sport with numerous advancements in sports sciences, nutrition, not to forget about the unbelievable technical and video analysis that's prevalent these days. That's a pretty big assumption to make.
Thing is it wasn’t Bradman was a pro playing against a bunch of pub cricketers. It’s not like he got greater training etc that no one else was privy to.

The video analysis works both ways, he would of been able to work on things in his own game and bowlers as well, as modern batsmen do.

Even if he averaged 15 less for example because of greater professionalism/analysis, that’s still miles clear of anyone else.
 

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You're assuming that the level of his competition would remain the same if he were to be born in the present modern era as it was during the 1930s when a lot of cricketers were frankly amateurs, a lot of whom played cricket and fought in world wars.

You're assuming that the average quality level of his peers/competitors never increased over a century after every cricket turned a pro sport with numerous advancements in sports sciences, nutrition, not to forget about the unbelievable technical and video analysis that's prevalent these days. That's a pretty big assumption to make.
It may even out, But it works both ways. You can only vs the best who's put up infront of you. He still dominated. He still averaged 100 against the best competition in the world, which was unreal. Untill someone averages 70/80 for their career it's not going to be a discussion IMO
 

Park cricketer

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I just think that the sport was played in a drastically different fashion that any attempts to compare across eras will be futile, and that's not Bradman's fault. Cricket was orthodox and archaic then, and bowling outside the off stump was deemed the "right" way to bowl at a batsman. Forget about bodyline bowling, even bowling a leg stump line was deemed unsportsmanlike by cricketers then and similarly was the opinion for a batsman scoring on the legside. Let's not forget that Larwood got vilified and ostracized in his own country (and quite unfairly too) for adopting the bodyline tactic at the behest of his captain and didn't play for England afterwards. The lbw laws were different and cricket was played only seriously between two countries.

Cricket was entirely a different sport to what's being played now when a bowler like Mitchell Johnson could intimidate the English team into submission (and what magnificent bowling it was!) through his bodyline bowling but without the fear of ostracism in international cricket. Bradman was by far the best of the vintage era, somewhat like Babe Ruth or Jesse Owens. But I don't feel the need to shoehorn his name everytime the best of modern cricketers are being discussed. Let's agree to disagree here.
 

The Passenger

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There is relativity and there is broad conjecture. Projections almost always never work in a uniform line. Otherwise all long term economic forecasts would turn out true and Japan which was one of the best performing economies in the 70s wouldn't have crashed only a decade later.

Relativity is not even uniform across a decade. Take Federer's career for example. He won 16 out of his 20 grand slams before Nadal and Djokovic turned 25, destroying and swatting away his opponents with an air of invincibility. There was Federer and then there was everyone else. If he had retired then, people would be making arguments about how Nadal and Djokovic might be good and greats in their own right but not even close to being near Federer's quality. When the level of competition isn't constant even across a decade, how can one assume it would remain a constant across a century. Again, that would be a huge assumption.

I reiterate that I would always consider amateur and professional eras of cricket as separate and Bradman was undoubtedly the best in the amateur era. Would he have been a great if he were born in the modern era? No doubt about it. Would he have still been irrefutably the GOAT batsman dominating his peers in similar fashion, I'm not so sure.
Granted, but if Bradman batted through a period that was considered weak for bowling and thus inflating his average, then surely it stands to reason that others would have also averaged well in excess of the 60 that batsmen usually max out at...

The comparison of Bradman v the rest and Federer v Nadal v Djokovic v the rest is not quite right, although it does seem a solid argument at first. The Fed/Nadal/Djok argument would be more akin to comparing the Australian team of the 1990 & 2000's v West Indies 1970's and 80's v Australia 1948 where your reasoning would hold weight. You could definitely make an argument that one team or the other faced weaker opposition and thus slightly inflated their performances.

But when it comes to comparing individuals in cricket, there are verifiable and quantifiable numbers to know that the difficult in scoring or taking wickets has - more or less - been equal through each period since WWI.
 

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Interesting though I wonder if a generation of young men killed in WW1 made a difference. Of course it would have. We could argue all day about the quality and differences of everything...bats wickets grounds players bowlers etc etc. My aunty watched Bradman bat 3 times he made a Blob 4 and a Blob. Historically Bradman will always be regarded as the best like Babe Ruth in US Baseball...it's not who is best that is moot...it's the whole discussion. Easy to favour Smith as of now at no2 because he is the now and he just made 144.
Only if good cricketers were killed in WW1 at a rate greater than the average individual - which seems a ludicrous premise.
 

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I just think that the sport was played in a drastically different fashion that any attempts to compare across eras will be futile, and that's not Bradman's fault. Cricket was orthodox and archaic then, and bowling outside the off stump was deemed the "right" way to bowl at a batsman. Forget about bodyline bowling, even bowling a leg stump line was deemed unsportsmanlike by cricketers then and similarly was the opinion for a batsman scoring on the legside. Let's not forget that Larwood got vilified and ostracized in his own country (and quite unfairly too) for adopting the bodyline tactic at the behest of his captain and didn't play for England afterwards. The lbw laws were different and cricket was played only seriously between two countries.

Cricket was entirely a different sport to what's being played now when a bowler like Mitchell Johnson could intimidate the English team into submission (and what magnificent bowling it was!) through his bodyline bowling but without the fear of ostracism in international cricket. Bradman was by far the best of the vintage era, somewhat like Babe Ruth or Jesse Owens. But I don't feel the need to shoehorn his name everytime the best of modern cricketers are being discussed. Let's agree to disagree here.
Think the scoring down legside was not taboo by Bradmans time, Ranji developed the leg glance and profited off it decades before (although not sure if he got acceptance for the shot in his time).
 
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Richard Pryor

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Well said. The talent levels don't change greatly throughout eras but the techniques and tactics do.

If you do the reverse you couldn't expect Sachin Tendulkar to be the same player he was in the 1990's if he was born in 1910. How could he be? He wouldn't have access to the advanced training, nutrition etc that he would have (and did) over half a century later.
Going off Inzy I'm not sure advanced nutrition is necessary for bats.
 
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