It’s time for a BOGOF on TFT. Today we have two articles in one. The first, by Media Penguin, considers a fan favourite with limited red ball experience. The second, by Jack Mendel, considers a player with more red ball experience than than the whole England T20 team put together. Over to you fellas …
T20 artiste Jos Butter has pencilled in a £200,000 engagement in Bangladesh this winter when everyone else remotely connected with English cricket will have their minds elsewhere.
There is still a chance he could be picked for Australia but he has not furthered his cause by failing to make (at the time of writing) even a half century in the championship. He has played the last few games for Lancashire, rather bizarrely in place of club skipper Steven Croft.
The tongues clacking in the Red Rose suite in the match against table-toppers Essex reckoned the selectors have leaned on Lancs to give Buttler some game time. It would explain why he keeps getting picked – there appears to be no other reason.
I witnessed Buttler narrowly fail to get a fifty a couple of weeks back and then fall for 13 in the first innings last week. I emailed the BBC radio commentary team predicting his demise within half an hour – he obliged with a slash after about 14 minutes.
Look the guy has talent – for scoops, ramps and sideflips but the mentality required for concentrated innings building appears to have been left out of his cricketing make-up. I don’t even think a few sessions on the inner chimp with Hameed would make any difference.
If Buttler had his sights set on a seat to Australia he would have knuckled down to some county cricket at the start of the season instead of shovelling IPL cash into his back pocket.
In fact the ECB should have insisted on it but seem to be allowing the ‘stars’ some leeway when it comes to piling up the rupees.
Buttler won a couple of games in the T20 – not that it helped Lancs miserable effort this season. Players like Buttler probably won’t even need to be associated with a county team down the line – which would be no bad thing is you ask me.
James Anderson’s home-away imbalance doesn’t prevent him from being a great, but it might stop him from being the greatest.
His achievement will no doubt generate a plethora of think pieces saying he’s either unquestionably the best ever or moaning at how overrated he is. The reality, however, is that he’s somewhere in the middle of great and overrated.
His dominance at home makes him, probably, the best quick there’s been in English conditions. But his stats abroad means his overall career requires a caveat.
Taking 500 wickets is no mean feat. It puts him in an elite club synonymous with being ‘great’. The question is whether he deserves to be at the top, even if he does eventually take more test wickets than any other seamer in history?
The simple answer is no. Currently the Burnley quick is perched at sixth in the all time ‘most wickets’ rankings, and third in terms of seam bowlers – only Glenn McGrath (563) and Courtney Walsh (519) have claimed more test scalps. But passing those two doesn’t mean that he’s better than them.
Anderson is extremely good in England. He’s taken 19 of 23 five-wicket-halls at home, and taken 66% of his wickets at home (329 out of 501).
But away from home he simply isn’t world class. Anderson has just 34% of his wickets – 171 out of 501 on foreign soil. Even his averages are miles apart: 24 at home, and 33 away.
In this respect, he’s not as good as his closest rivals, or those he’s gone past in the ‘Most Wickets’ list. McGrath’s home-away record is far superior to Anderson’s with 51% of scalps at home and 49% away (with a significantly better average too).
Meanwhile, Courtney Walsh actually took more wickets away from home (290/519) than in the Caribbean. The likes of Kapil Dev, Sir Richard Hadlee, Shaun Pollock and others also had more even home-away records than Anderson.
The statistics prove that all these bowlers were more adaptable. They excelled on different pitches and overcame conditions that didn’t necessarily help their bowling.
Maybe Anderson is a better swing bowler than some of these greats. But in other respects he’s clearly not on the same level.
Anderson is most certainly an English great. He’s probably the greatest English bowler in English conditions ever. Indeed he’s probably one of the best swing bowlers ever.
But regardless of where he ends up on the ‘most wickets’ list, he’ll never be the greatest seam bowler of all time.