Norm Smith Medallist
- May 1, 2016
- AFL Club
Here is my issue with what you're saying, and what you've been saying in here. See, this particular argument isn't a new one; it's been around almost precisely as long as Sachin Tendulkar's retirement from international cricket. It's near impossible to deny a batting average of 99.94, so the point attacked is a) the quality of opposition, and b) the amateur nature of cricket back then. Some - like you - have also tried to negate the argument that batting on uncovered pitches was harder than batting is now, or that the lack of protective gear was any impediment.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.
If what you're arguing is that you want to break cricket's amateur phase and its professional phase in two, it depends on why you're doing it. If you're doing it because it makes sense for a wide variety of reasons, that's one thing. If you're using it to denigrade Bradman in pursuit of glorifying Tendulkar, my back's right up.