On Steve Smith, Aussie pitches et al

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On Steve Smith, Aussie pitches et al

Postby raja » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:11 am

Am not sure whether we already have a thread dedicated to Steve Smith, but if we don't this piece should be reason enough to do so.
I didn't want to post this in the Baggy thread - Smith deserves separate dissection. :grin:

Just to be clear, while this piece, on the face of it, is Smith-focussed, I see it more as an indictment of Aussie pitches.

https://cricketblog2.blogspot.in/2018/0 ... h-all.html

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Re: On Steve Smith, Aussie pitches et al

Postby raja » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:33 am

The tweet in this post is from Vijay Arumugam - our Vijay.
Another of those BBC TMS guys who moved to our forum and posts every now and then (though he hasn't been here in a while).
Extremely knowledgeable.
Lives in Sydney, I met him when I'd visited Sydney a few years ago.
We had a lot of fun, discussing Ashes from 1882 till now, trying to remember every single English captain's name on an Ashes tour. :-)
Was good to remember Norman Yardley. :-)

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Re: On Steve Smith, Aussie pitches et al

Postby Boycs » Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:42 am

I think my initial reaction would be that even ATG average less in bowler friendly conditions than they do in batsmen friendly ones, and if smith is still cracking off runs at 55.00+ in the former then perhaps it’s safe to call him an ATG. reading the line (I paraphrase) “smith toured England where he hit two hundreds including a double..... but they were on the flatter pitches” made me hear in my head the old comedy sketch

“what did the Romans ever do for us? All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?“

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Re: On Steve Smith, Aussie pitches et al

Postby raja » Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:51 am

It's straightforward.
Instead of looking at a player's performance against a team, look at it in different conditions.

There were 2 flat pitches on the last tour to England. He got hundreds.
The other 3 pitches were not quite as flat. He failed.

Now look at his 23 hundreds and see how many of them were on wickets that assisted swing. How many runs did he get against decent swing bowlers on these wickets?

If he averages even 45 in these conditions (against a career average of 63 now), it would be creditable.

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Re: On Steve Smith, Aussie pitches et al

Postby Paddles » Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:53 am

Boycs wrote:I think my initial reaction would be that even ATG average less in bowler friendly conditions than they do in batsmen friendly ones, and if smith is still cracking off runs at 55.00+ in the former then perhaps it’s safe to call him an ATG. reading the line (I paraphrase) “smith toured England where he hit two hundreds including a double..... but they were on the flatter pitches” made me hear in my head the old comedy sketch

“what did the Romans ever do for us? All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?“


Life of Brian - Monty Python are fairly good.
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Re: On Steve Smith, Aussie pitches et al

Postby Paddles » Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:06 am

raja wrote:It's straightforward.
Instead of looking at a player's performance against a team, look at it in different conditions.

There were 2 flat pitches on the last tour to England. He got hundreds.
The other 3 pitches were not quite as flat. He failed.

Now look at his 23 hundreds and see how many of them were on wickets that assisted swing. How many runs did he get against decent swing bowlers on these wickets?

If he averages even 45 in these conditions (against a career average of 63 now), it would be creditable.


He definitely faced some swinging ball at Lords in his double. Cricinfo confirms that. I'm not saying a lot. But some.

Here's the problem with G Boycott's arguments, if he means swing so savage that no top order batsman makes a 100, how does this discredit Smith? This is like discrediting ABDV for not scoring a hundred on his last tour to India where even Indian batsmen were falling like flies.

To be fair, I was a believer in Smith as soon as made all those runs in India. I would love for a left arm swing bowler, like say Boult, cos him lbw trouble in swinging conditions, but would that now if occuring be Smith's lack of, or a credit to say Boult's skill?

If G Boycott's standard is facing Jimmy Anderson with the ball bending like boomerang that even Broad is hooping it, who makes runs is Boycs point. And does a fighting scrapping Watling century (at 6) in such conditions make him the best bat in the world? Doubtful.

Smith has made runs in England (and in India) which beats Kohli. Would KW beat Smith if both were Australian playing all those Australian home tests? Quite possibly. But Smith scored far more in India. And KW's not Australian. So its pointless.

So it appears Smith #1, Root and Kohli can argue England vs Straya for #2, and KW doesn't count cos NZ don't play enough tests to matter.

Its time for the big 3 nations to either separate their records or asterisk them. Of course I don't expect them to be fond of the latter. So as a non Big 3 based fan, I adopt the former. I don't believe that Anderson is a better bowler than Steyn but I acknowledge that the big 3 are playing different careers to SL, NZ and even SA with their 4 and 5 test series getting used to players, more cricket keeping them in form but with greater physical demands on their body in a shorter space of time. Cricket is now big 3 chalk and small cheese, with only Safrica in an in between area.
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Re: On Steve Smith, Aussie pitches et al

Postby Boycs » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:47 am

Yeah I agree with paddles on this one. “Inability to make runs in England” doesn’t mean he averages 45+ in England compared to 70+ at Home.

A Hobbesian ability to make runs in shitty or alien conditions isn’t a prerequisite for ATG status. Hobbs was a freak even amongst other ATGs.

Even Greg Chappel, or Gavaskar, would have made fewer runs in harder conditions and more runs on flat tracks. It’s just that the range of their averages across such conditions are an enchelon higher than those of the “average” player.

Someone who averages 60 at home and 35 away, yes that’s more like it.

I think the big testers for a non English batsman who want to make the ATG list is how you go in the subcontinent and how you go in England. And for an English batsman these days it’s india and Australia. This is due to opposition strength as well as conditions.

The West Indies are not the most alien of conditions and their attacks are pretty average. New Zealand has a decent attack at home but as much as I like them they are not earth shattering at the moment and English players in particular will find NZ conditions more like Home than they would find Aussie pitches.

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Re: On Steve Smith, Aussie pitches et al

Postby Paddles » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:23 pm

Boycs wrote:Yeah I agree with paddles on this one. “Inability to make runs in England” doesn’t mean he averages 45+ in England compared to 70+ at Home.

A Hobbesian ability to make runs in shitty or alien conditions isn’t a prerequisite for ATG status. Hobbs was a freak even amongst other ATGs.

Even Greg Chappel, or Gavaskar, would have made fewer runs in harder conditions and more runs on flat tracks. It’s just that the range of their averages across such conditions are an enchelon higher than those of the “average” player.

Someone who averages 60 at home and 35 away, yes that’s more like it.

I think the big testers for a non English batsman who want to make the ATG list is how you go in the subcontinent and how you go in England. And for an English batsman these days it’s india and Australia. This is due to opposition strength as well as conditions.

The West Indies are not the most alien of conditions and their attacks are pretty average. New Zealand has a decent attack at home but as much as I like them they are not earth shattering at the moment and English players in particular will find NZ conditions more like Home than they would find Aussie pitches.


More or less agreed. Just don't sell the current Safrican attack short is my only comment. And 35 aint enough for me - a lil more than 40+ is more ideal.
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Re: On Steve Smith, Aussie pitches et al

Postby Boycs » Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:33 pm

I’d put SA on the right side of the good v emerging test team divide personally, with England India and Australia

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Re: On Steve Smith, Aussie pitches et al

Postby Paddles » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:36 am

Boycs wrote:I’d put SA on the right side of the good v emerging test team divide personally, with England India and Australia


I think Safrica even with quotas, when fit are the best personally.

England has been fairly lucky facing them injured. Straya lost at home to 'em.
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Re: On Steve Smith, Aussie pitches et al

Postby Boycs » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:38 am

Exploiting injured opposition is one of our valid tactics :)

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Re: On Steve Smith, Aussie pitches et al

Postby Paddles » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:41 am

Boycs wrote:Exploiting injured opposition is one of our valid tactics :)


Oh for sure. But given England has failed to put NZ away home or away last - and Aus and SA* have both - I think England is in danger of being perceived just as a home town team like India is widely criticised for.

England has to win in NZ to claim status. No pressure.

*SA got lucky with weather
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Re: On Steve Smith, Aussie pitches et al

Postby Boycs » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:18 am

Okay. Upcoming NZ tour. Who wins? Tell me your thoughts.

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Re: On Steve Smith, Aussie pitches et al

Postby Paddles » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:00 am

Boycs wrote:Okay. Upcoming NZ tour. Who wins? Tell me your thoughts.


Its too far out for me to call yet. This aint like Ind touring Safrica or Eng touring Aus for me.

Plenty of possible injuries and possibly uncertain teams.

Also - the second test is in Christchurch, that's lower South Island, in April, that's quite likely to rain out. Rugby starts in March here.

The first test is late March under lights - this could play into England's hands. But NZ may have Boult and favourable bowling times. Who knows?

I think the two teams at full strength (Eng with Stokes) are fairly evenly matched right now for the likely conditions. And NZ is unlikely to offer up home favourable conditions - that would playing Eng on a turner in say for example, Hamilton.

England at worst have a knack of escaping NZ teams with a drawn series when losing more sessions. Alternatively, NZ often fails to ko the advantage.

I think it will likely be a competitive series. Unless NZ produces turning pitches for you guys (assuming Crane isn't the new SK Warne prototype) as I think NZ possibly has a clear edge on England in spin play right now. But Crane aint bowled in Sydney yet.

Given the liklihood of the somewhat unpredictable nature in advance of a day night shootout at Eden Park where either Boult or Anderson may be heroes followed by a rain out in Chch, meaning 1-0 for either team- the t20 tri series is looking like the season highlight down here in NZ.
Law 31.6 - benefit of the doubt for an dismissal appeal goes to the batsman
A third umpire call for a run out or stumping is a referral, not a review.