Hi all ,
There have a been a good many posts of late comparing Warne to the
Indian trio and qadir , and the posters in particular Joshua and
Raja J , have exercised a considerable difference of opinion.
Joshua presented for his argument a Table of averages etc , and
commented that is "easy" to compare warne to qadir right now with
warne being atleast on the same level as Qadir , and that Warne is
comparable to the Indian trio of Pras , Bedi and Chandra. One of
his points is that while the Indian trio averaged about 29 , and
Qadir ~32 , Warne has his entry marked at ~24 .
Well , its all fine to put forth a table of numbers , but let us
look at the performances of the trio comparing one of them , say,
chandrashekar with warne , on the basis of the batting lineups
year tests opp batting-lineup wickets runs average
64 4 Eng edrich,cowdrey,barrington 9 341 37.88
65 2 Aus Lawry,simpson,redpath 9 162 18
65 2 NZ Congdon,Reid,Dowling 8 292 36.5
67 3 WI Hunte,Kanhai,Lloyd,sobers 18 472 26.2
67 3 Eng edrich,boycott,barrington
Graveney,Oliviera,Amiss 16 405 25.3
69 2 Aus Lawry,stackpole,Ian Chapell
Walters,Redpath 1 174 174
71 3 Eng Boycott,Edrich,Amiss
Oliviera , Knott 13 379 29.1
73 2 Eng Amiss,Knott,Boycott 2 88 44
74 4 WI Fredricks,Greenidge,Richards
Kallicharan , Lloyd 14 579 41.3
76 3 NZ Turner,Congdon 11 294 26.7
76 4 WI Fredricks,Rowe,Lloyd
Kallicharan,Richards 21 656 31.2
77 5 Eng Amiss,Randall,Knott 19 537 28.2
78 3 Pak Majid ,Muddasar,Zaheer
Miandad,Asif Iqbal,Imran 8 385 48.1
79 4 WI Kallicharan,Gomes,Bacchus 12 431 35.9
79 1 Eng Boycott,Gooch,Gower,Randall
botham 1 113 113
If you look at the table above , you'll notice that i have
included chandra's performances only against the Great
Batting lineups , and left out , say , performances against
teams with 1 or 2 good batsmen . Just look at his performance-
45 out of 58 tests taking two thirds of his wickets against
the great batting lineups , some probably the greatest of all
time ! . If you bother so muchas to calculate his average from
the table above , you'll probably find them in the mid-30's.
The same holds for Pras and Bedi . Each time they set
out to bowl , the odds were that they were confronting the
great batting lineups.
Consider now the current spinners choosing , say , Warne and
Kumble for analysis . The only quality spin players they have
faced are Malik ,Haynes,R'son,Lara,Tendulkar,Gooch,Cronje,Crowe
-none of whom have shown any particular problems against them.
Take Warne - When warne toured NZ , he confornted crowe in only
1 test out of 3 (crowe scored 73 ,0) ; again crowe played
reasonably when NZ toured Aus in 93-94. During the WI tour of
Aus in 92' Warne did not get either Lara or Haynes Even once
(of course , Haynes didnt last long enough to face warne and
warne didnt have much of a go in Adelaide and Perth).When Warne
faced Tendulkar,warne was still a rookie , and in his infancy.
The African attack he priced out included other than cronje ,
only wessels among the better players of spin ; and Malik***ed him.
Kumble ran thro' the Eng batting in 93' without much ado.Even
Rajesh Chauhan tormented them ! Kumble's performances against
SA , though not in the same league as Warne , was against a
fairly ordinary Batting lineup . This brings us to the point .
In my view , the quality of a batsman , averaging over the
top order of all current teams , has gone way down compared
to the 70's and 80's . Each of the current teams in fray have
either none or just a single or two good Batsmen . Not one of
them can be compared to the quality of Batting Qadir or Chandra
had to contend with .
Let me offer a couple of reasons for the late 20's-early 30's
averages of the Indian trio . The Indian bowling setup of the
70's meant that the spin trio were in action right thro' after
the handful of overs sent down by the shine-removers Abid,solkar
and Gavaskar , against the aforementioned might battign lineups.
Every time . Also 3 great bwlers in a side meant that wickets
had to be shared - in particular , even the spin-playing-weknesses
would be equally well exploited by all the 3 . Moreover the
performances of chandra tapered off severly in the last 2-3 years.
The closing years of a career with its (possible) deteriorated
performances is quite some way from both Warne and Kumble , and
is yet to seep down into the matrix of averages.
Regarding Qadir and Warne(Kumble)...In 83' against India , Imran
got the wickets , yet the batting order that Qadir faced read
Gavaskar , Srikanth ,Amarnath,Vengsarkar,Vishvanath,Patel,shastri
and Kapil dev . He ran into essentially the same batting lineup
in 87' . Had Qadir played the Banaglore test , he would have wrought
more havoc among the Indians than Qasim and Tauseef together could
do. When he shook the WI batting apart in 87' , it was not against
a bunch of kids but against Greenidge ,Haynes,R'son,Richards,Gomes
and Dujon!Even the then English team had a different look from the
current one , having in it Gooch,Gower,Lamb,Randall and Botham .
Again , the Aussie Vanguard read Yallop, Hughes,Greg Chapell and
Border . Would today's spinners have run thro' these mighty lineups ?
Would they frequently rip apart the Pak lineup of Majid Khan ,Muddasar
Zahher Abbas , Miandad , Asif Iqbal , Wasim Raja and Imran Khan ?
Regularly run thro' them ? Averaged 20-25 ?
Lets look at the stats again . Pras,Bedi,Chandra,Qadir average
in the late 20's-early 30's . Compare them with Warne ~24 and
Kumble 24.3 ! Ahem...! Raju ~28 , better than Pras !! And Tim
May ~34 better than Venkat ! Its striking to find that the
spin 4 greats fall in a totally different average-zone from the
In my view , any comparison of greats on stats in their present
form will only be inconclusive . While a wicket is wicket be it
of a great player or a tail ender , simply going by stats while
making comparisons will not yield any even somewhat reliable
results . The stats are woven with innumerable factors , that
are less understood , and often intricate and intangible .Stats
cannot be viewed in isolation from these concomitant factors,
that must be juxtaposed with it . In short , stats are not
context free but context sensitive.
.None of which is to discredit/traduce Warne and Kumble . Warne
is indeed the best spinner in business today , and has some of
those qualities of a great . Personally , i think he will do
well in India on the spinning tracks . He might get thrashed
every once a while , but that is quite natural in any contest .
A little help from the wicket makes a great bowler unplayable,
yet the same bowler may be made to look pedestrian under slightly
mutated conditions . None of which takes away any greatness from
the bowlers or the Batsmen in question . The point i am making
is that rather than classify and settle the greatness of players
by means of stats , it might be insightful to use the stats to
understand the playing conditions in different eras , quality
of wickets , and numerous other factors...
CS dept .,Purdue university.