Monday, May 18, 2009

Sin of Omission

Oh dear. It was such a worthy venture. Get one of the most reknown cricket journos to come up with his top all time 100 cricketers, and then publish the list, with associated write-ups in a new book, to be publshed in an Ashes year.

So far so good.

But then poor old CMJ dropped an absolute clanger. Check out my post below, when I assumed certain names in the top 10 - mainly because they were obvious choices who weren't in the 11-100 already listed. I was right on each one, except Anil Kumble.

Anil Kumble does not make the list of the top 100 cricketers of all time.

You have to assume it's an oversight. There can be no logical reason why CMJ left out the fourth highest wicket taker of all time. No other bowler who took more than 300 wickets (apart from Bob Willis) isn't in there.

Trouble is, the omission tends to devalue the whole exercise.

For what it's worth, here's the top 10, with some TRSM observations: -

Bradman - is there any other sport where one person has been 50% better, statistically, than anyone else?

WG Grace - Top ten, yes, but rather an odd choice for second place. Presumably CMJ thought he had to toss the gin-swillers a bone.

Sobers - Obvious. Unlike any other all-rounder, would probably get into the top 100 on either his batting or bowling alone.

Warne -If not the best bowler ever, then certainly the most important. From the late seventies to the mid nineties, seeing a leg spinner playing club cricket was a rarity. These days, almost every side has at least one youngster doing it.

Hobbs -You can't argue with 197 centuries - on uncovered wickets, with pads made of cardboard and a 200 year old bat.

Richards - The only batsman I can remember in my lifetime who genuinely scared you when he walked out to bat.

SF Barnes - Something of a wildcard pick, but 189 wickets in 27 tests tells the story. A member of the ILP - something you don't read in many of the history books!

Hammond - Obvious, but I wonder if he's in the top ten through force of habit and the power of reminiscence rather than any deep analysis. Ahead of Hutton, Lara, Gavaskar?

Tendulkar - No arguements here - and he's done it all under the most extraordinary scrutiny and managed to maintain his sanity.

Gilchrist - No arguements here either. Worth noting that he and Warne were the only two of the top ten to play together in the same team. They were also joined by the guy at No. 12 (McGrath), which explains a lot.


David Barry said...

SF Barnes is a pretty standard pick as the greatest bowler of all time.

WG Grace is certainly a reasonable choice at #2 if you want to include the pre-Test era, when he was at his peak. His batting then was almost as far ahead of his peers as Bradman's was, and Grace could bowl as well.

I think I'd rather have Kumble outside than top 100 than inside the top ten. For a long time he was ineffective outside of India.

Mark said...

Kumble may have been ineffective outside India, but it's hard to argue with 600 plus test wickets. I'll accept he might not be a top 10 pick - but not to put him in the top 100 is a remarkable omission.

Hayden should be there too - and Rodney Marsh.

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