2nd best, after Bradman ?

Gethelred

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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.
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.

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.
 

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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.
I don’t think they would. If Nadal and Djokovic played without Federer both would easily surpass all his marks and be regarded as better. Many analysists already think they are.
 

DAlembert

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Only if good cricketers were killed in WW1 at a rate greater than the average individual - which seems a ludicrous premise.
What about all the potential fathers of famous sportsman cannot be quantified but hardly a ludicrous premise. There were 800000 killed and many more injured. Only has to be a very small percentage to be meaningful.
 

DAlembert

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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.
Agree with most of this except "Could anyone seriously challenge his status as being the best if he were to ply his trade as a modern player? I doubt it." I think you could doubt that he would ave 99.94 in the modern game. I would certainly not doubt that he would be a good player today. The cricketer who comes along and Averages over 90 won't he be something to behold. The word freak is overused but Bradman certainly fits in the category as does Gary Ablett Snr.
 

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Can anyone here name one other player in any era who was/is statistically 40% better than their next best contemporary over an entire career - or even remotely close to this?

I know that in 150 years of baseball records there is nothing approaching this level of seperation from best to next best.
There is none I can think of.

I mean even if Bradman was curtailed by 20%, that’s still an average of 80, way more than anyone else still.

The argument that he isn’t clearly in a league of his own is ridiculous.
 

iluvparis

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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.
This - it is the relative difference that is telling, and something Park Cricketer doesn't seem to get. The Fed v Nadal v Djoker reference may be reasonable if Fed had won 45 grand slams compared to Nadal and Djokers numbers...but he hasn't.
 

iluvparis

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What about all the potential fathers of famous sportsman cannot be quantified but hardly a ludicrous premise. There were 800000 killed and many more injured. Only has to be a very small percentage to be meaningful.
You don't understand -its another point all about relativities. If good cricketers didn't get killed at a higher rate than average over the war then the average level of cricket ability in the population would not have changed due to deaths in the war.
 

iluvparis

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Can anyone here name one other player in any era who was/is statistically 40% better than their next best contemporary over an entire career - or even remotely close to this?

I know that in 150 years of baseball records there is nothing approaching this level of seperation from best to next best.
Wayne Gretzky would be the only other athlete I know of that comes close
 

Park cricketer

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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.

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.
Umm, not sure where I've brought up Tendulkar in any of my posts. In fact, I've mentioned that it's unfair on Steve Smith to be constantly referred to as the "best after Bradman" when he can make a credible claim to being the best of the modern era. You don't always refer to Usain Bolt as the "best after Owens", why should it be any different in cricket. I get that Bradman is a huge national hero in Australia and making a case against him almost amounts to sacrilege, but I bet a lot more Aussies would be atleast slightly more skeptical if Bradman was a non Australian. The thing is making any case against Bradman being the GOAT has become a huge taboo subject in cricket that any semblance of an argument in favour of modern era is shot down, citing personal bias and other things.

I'm not denigrating Bradman in any way when mentioning that he was the best of the vintage era of cricket. But to deny that cricket was played in an amateur fashion then is daft because the level of cricket that's being played now is several levels above what was being played then. To state that the current Koenigsegg cars are faster than the Healey Elliott cars of 1940s isn't an insult in any way to the latter because in the prevailing technology then, the Healey Elliott cars were clearly the fastest in the world. Not sure why you think it's an attack on Australia's icon, if anything, I'm only making a case for a current day Australian over a vintage era one.
 

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Gethelred

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Umm, not sure where I've brought up Tendulkar in any of my posts. In fact, I've mentioned that it's unfair on Steve Smith to be constantly referred to as the "best after Bradman" when he can make a credible claim to being the best of the modern era. You don't always refer to Usain Bolt as the "best after Owens", why should it be any different in cricket. I get that Bradman is a huge national hero in Australia and making a case against him almost amounts to sacrilege, but I bet a lot more Aussies would be atleast slightly more skeptical if Bradman was a non Australian. The thing is making any case against Bradman being the GOAT has become a huge taboo subject in cricket that any semblance of an argument in favour of modern era is shot down, citing personal bias and other things.

I'm not denigrating Bradman in any way when mentioning that he was the best of the vintage era of cricket. But to deny that cricket was played in an amateur fashion then is daft because the level of cricket that's being played now is several levels above what was being played then. To state that the current Koenigsegg cars are faster than the Healey Elliott cars of 1940s isn't an insult in any way to the latter because in the prevailing technology then, the Healey Elliott cars were clearly the fastest in the world. Not sure why you think it's an attack on Australia's icon, if anything, I'm only making a case for a current day Australian over a vintage era one.
My issue is that I've seen your arguments before, and they were cultivated with the specific purpose of labelling Tendulkar the best ever, despite Bradman eclipsing his achievements with the bat considerably. If I find those arguments fallacious then, so too do I find them to be so now.

If you're interesting in having the discussion above in good faith, as I said in the post you quoted, that is one thing; there is certainly a discussion to be had that the amateur era and professional era could be separated as far as the achievements of the players in each. I'd probably be inclined to argue against such a distinction, as cricket is a sport that is as defined by its history and by its contexts as it is each individual game, but the inverse is certainly a position worth taking. However, most who carry your arguments do so with a conclusion in mind, and that is the root of my objections.
 

Park cricketer

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This - it is the relative difference that is telling, and something Park Cricketer doesn't seem to get. The Fed v Nadal v Djoker reference may be reasonable if Fed had won 45 grand slams compared to Nadal and Djokers numbers...but he hasn't.
But Federer was what, 4 years older than Nadal. If the level of competition could vary so much within a ten year period of pro tennis era, then how do people assume that the level of competition would have remained near similar levels when cricket was played in an amateur fashion to now when cricket is being played in a highly competitive manner almost a century later?
 

Park cricketer

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My issue is that I've seen your arguments before, and they were cultivated with the specific purpose of labelling Tendulkar the best ever, despite Bradman eclipsing his achievements with the bat considerably. If I find those arguments fallacious then, so too do I find them to be so now.

If you're interesting in having the discussion above in good faith, as I said in the post you quoted, that is one thing; there is certainly a discussion to be had that the amateur era and professional era could be separated as far as the achievements of the players in each. I'd probably be inclined to argue against such a distinction, as cricket is a sport that is as defined by its history and by its contexts as it is each individual game, but the inverse is certainly a position worth taking. However, most who carry your arguments do so with a conclusion in mind, and that is the root of my objections.
I can equally point out that you're letting your personal bias for Bradman cloud your judgement in differentiating the amateur and pro eras of cricket.

My point is not about individual choices. A lot of people rate Lara as better than Tendulkar and I never contest that. At the very top, there are different pluses and minuses for everyone that there is little to differentiate the cream of the crop and in the end, it comes to personal biases, nostalgia reasons and who we enjoyed more watching during their careers. In fact, I've mentioned in this very thread just a few posts above that if Steven Smith maintains his prolific form, he could very well end up as the best ever batsman in modern cricket. Differentiating two eras of a sport has nothing to do with personal biases and chauvinism and more to do with the fact that the differences in the game between the two eras are so much that any comparison across eras would be pure conjecture on our part.
 

Gethelred

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I can equally point out that you're letting your personal bias for Bradman cloud your judgement in differentiating the amateur and pro eras of cricket.

My point is not about individual choices. A lot of people rate Lara as better than Tendulkar and I never contest that. At the very top, there are different pluses and minuses for everyone that there is little to differentiate the cream of the crop and in the end, it comes to personal biases, nostalgia reasons and who we enjoyed more watching during their careers. In fact, I've mentioned in this very thread just a few posts above that if Steven Smith maintains his prolific form, he could very well end up as the best ever batsman in modern cricket. Differentiating two eras of a sport has nothing to do with personal biases and chauvinism and more to do with the fact that the differences in the game between the two eras are so much that any comparison across eras would be pure conjecture on our part.
I am one of those people, because even though Tendulkar's technique was prettier and his longevity terrific, if Lara was motivated and you got him in that mood you could bowl whatever you wanted but you couldn't stop him scoring or get him out. Smith is similar to this.

Otherwise, a good post.
 

Park cricketer

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I am one of those people, because even though Tendulkar's technique was prettier and his longevity terrific, if Lara was motivated and you got him in that mood you could bowl whatever you wanted but you couldn't stop him scoring or get him out. Smith is similar to this.

Otherwise, a good post.
I agree. Tendulkar was more orthodox with almost a textbook style technique who was taught at a very early age not to lose his shape while batting, but it also meant that he didn't open up and attack as often. Lara was much more flamboyant and his attacking best was devastating to the opposition, but because he was more attacking, it also meant that he could sometimes give away his wicket.

I'm reminded of McGrath's description of both batsman on being asked who was more difficult to dismiss. He said both were equally difficult to dismiss but because Lara was more attacking than Tendulkar, it meant that he also gave a few more chances to the bowler at the start of his innings whereas Tendulkar would usually be tight in his technique and didn't attempt too many shots when he started his innings. But he also said that Lara once he got set would be more devastating and hard to stop whereas Tendulkar wouldn't hurt you as much. In short, Tendulkar was more consistent while Lara was more devastating.

Although I've always thought as Smith being more similar to Tendulkar while Kohli being similar to Ponting. It's really difficult to find one in a similar mould to Lara, but maybe De Villiers at his best would qualify.
 

PhatBoy

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I agree. Tendulkar was more orthodox with almost a textbook style technique who was taught at a very early age not to lose his shape while batting, but it also meant that he didn't open up and attack as often. Lara was much more flamboyant and his attacking best was devastating to the opposition, but because he was more attacking, it also meant that he could sometimes give away his wicket.

I'm reminded of McGrath's description of both batsman on being asked who was more difficult to dismiss. He said both were equally difficult to dismiss but because Lara was more attacking than Tendulkar, it meant that he also gave a few more chances to the bowler at the start of his innings whereas Tendulkar would usually be tight in his technique and didn't attempt too many shots when he started his innings. But he also said that Lara once he got set would be more devastating and hard to stop whereas Tendulkar wouldn't hurt you as much. In short, Tendulkar was more consistent while Lara was more devastating.

Although I've always thought as Smith being more similar to Tendulkar while Kohli being similar to Ponting. It's really difficult to find one in a similar mould to Lara, but maybe De Villiers at his best would qualify.
I’m biased due to my man crush on Lara but I’ve always rated ABDV as the best of his generation for that exact reason - he’s the guy that like Lara has been most capable of playing innings that no one else could.
 

Park cricketer

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I’m biased due to my man crush on Lara but I’ve always rated ABDV as the best of his generation for that exact reason - he’s the guy that like Lara has been most capable of playing innings that no one else could.
He could play like Lara and he could play like Dravid too, if he wished. De Villiers had an insane amount of talent, probably better than anyone else have had in the game but he didn't have as much hunger as he should have had imo, which is why I rate him a bit lower. I mean, he scored just 22 centuries and retired at a relatively younger age when his compatriots like Amla and Kallis had more hunger than him even if they might not have been as naturally talented as de Villiers was. I wouldn't brand him as a total sell out but I guess he got lured a bit by the T20 cash cow to have a better post retirement life which he is entitled to.
 

PhatBoy

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He could play like Lara and he could play like Dravid too, if he wished. De Villiers had an insane amount of talent, probably better than anyone else have had in the game but he didn't have as much hunger as he should have had imo, which is why I rate him a bit lower. I mean, he scored just 22 centuries and retired at a relatively younger age when his compatriots like Amla and Kallis had more hunger than him even if they might not have been as naturally talented as de Villiers was. I wouldn't brand him as a total sell out but I guess he got lured a bit by the T20 cash cow to have a better post retirement life which he is entitled to.
He played that way because of those around him usually though imo. In a team that had a lot of guys who could play the anchor role, he took the initiative regularly and a 70 from AB was often more effective than a tonne from the other guys.

And as you say when the situation called for it he could graft like the best of them.

That knock he played in PE last summer was ******* amazing. Back foot smashed Cummins for six over cover.
 
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beta_condition

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Smith needs 515 runs from his next 12 innings to equal the fastest to 7000 Test Runs. 131 innings is the current record.... Bradman was 4 runs short of 7000 runs only played 80 innings.
 
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iluvparis

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But Federer was what, 4 years older than Nadal. If the level of competition could vary so much within a ten year period of pro tennis era, then how do people assume that the level of competition would have remained near similar levels when cricket was played in an amateur fashion to now when cricket is being played in a highly competitive manner almost a century later?
AGAIN you keep missing the point - it's not a relevant point because Fed's record is in no way superior to that of anyone else that played the game to make the comparison a valid one.
 

DAlembert

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You don't understand -its another point all about relativities. If good cricketers didn't get killed at a higher rate than average over the war then the average level of cricket ability in the population would not have changed due to deaths in the war.
I think you need to explain your use of the word "Relativities" and in what context you are using it. You have made assumptions that may or may not be true and therefor as an argument it is invalid. You are right I do not understand what you are saying.
 

IHurley

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There is none I can think of.

I mean even if Bradman was curtailed by 20%, that’s still an average of 80, way more than anyone else still.

The argument that he isn’t clearly in a league of his own is ridiculous.
Heather Mckay? Undefeated for 20 years. I think she only gave up a handful of games (not matches, games) in that time too.

Yes I know that cricket =/= squash in terms of competition etc but single player dominance of the Bradmanesque kind isn't unique to him.
 

DAlembert

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Heather Mckay? Undefeated for 20 years. I think she only gave up a handful of games (not matches, games) in that time too.

Yes I know that cricket =/= squash in terms of competition etc but single player dominance of the Bradmanesque kind isn't unique to him.
Walter Lindrum Billiards is another that springs to mind.
 
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