Monday, January 31, 2005

Boring...and no Dravid?

The results of a rather interesting experiment came out today. It was the vote for the most boring batsmen in cricket. Sadly (though predictably), a few of the names were only familiar from old, dusty scoreboards and not much real time experience.

I remember watching Bruce Edgar ages back. He is the worst in ODI history for batsmen to have crossed 1,000 runs. Well, those were soon after the days of Gavaskar's legendary 36 not out, and though I found Edgar as ugly as, say, Mark Taylor or Allan Border, I don't remember him as being particularly slow and boring. Obviously my memory is not serving me right in this case.

And then there are people like Mike Brearley, Bob Taylor, Bill Woodfull, et al mentioned.
Now, and while I can see why my opinion doesn't make a lot of sense in terms of practicality, I want to know why boring batsmen from the current era were not included. Is it, one, because we don't want to name them? Or, two, we don't want to go the extra step of changing the yardstick to make it more in tune with the current state of the game?

I think 'one' has its merits. But I think 'two' is a more interesting topic for discussion. When we look at boring batsmen, why are we unwilling to check 'boring' only by one standard? A Test batsman who scores at a strike rate of, say, 50 or so, is as boring as a batsman who scored at 30 or so fifty years back. Right? Ditto in the one-day scenario. If Gavaskar was boring in 1975, there are loads who are as boring, scoring a century off 150 balls or so.

Names that come to mind straightaway would be Shivnarine Chanderpaul (more ugly than boring, I agree), Mark Richardson, Jimmy Adams, Aakash Chopra.... Rahul Dravid, of course, is a serious qualifier...but he is a different topic of discussion altogether. So many others, though, come to mind.

But we don't look at them because we maintain the same standards down the years. A basic problem with being stuck with statistics than 'real' experience. But that's the way it is.