Glenn McGrath was quicker than you thought…

Super logical post here, at ESPNcricinfo, about Glenn McGrath being quicker than the 130-something-ish KMPH he was supposed to be.

But just because the speed gun cannot measure nip does not mean humans don’t perceive it. Plenty of batsmen would attest to the fact that they perceived McGrath’s nip all right, even if it didn’t register on the speed gun. So now we know that McGrath was indeed fast, just not in a way that could be measured by a speed gun. This also explains why bouncers are usually slower on the speed gun compared to other types of deliveries covering less ground vertically.

Allan Donald, Stop Being So Damn Modest

The interview is here, click.

Dale Steyn is not

Without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest bowler South Africa has ever had.

You are the shadow of a doubt. Because you were better. Marginally better, but better.

I think that he had a spell – a duel with Paul Collingwood – in Cape Town. It was a Test match I commented on, a Test match in which England were in trouble. Steyn went past the outside edge probably four times an over in which he bowled at 148-150kph without any luck. I think it was one of those spells where you deserve a six-for or a seven-for. But it didn’t quite work out. England managed to draw the game right at the death, being nine-down. That was probably one of the best spells I’ve seen without any results.

It is probably one of the best, but not the best. Because the best was yours, with Atherton batting. And you got him out fair and square, and would have won the Saffers the match if not for an umpiring error.

An appreciation: the greatest (extended) bowling unit of all time

Actions. Effect. Impact. A quick appreciation. Some from recordings, some from the memory of matches seen when young.

a. Andy Roberts – His middle name should be efficiency. Such an intelligent bowler, working on the batsman all the time, knowing all the batsman’s weaknesses, and having enough skills to execute the downfall. The West Indian pace attack was not all about brute strength. It never would be, when you had bowlers like Roberts and Marshall. Here’s some Roberts (and the others of the fearsome foursome), via youtube. (Click here)

b. Malcolm Marshall – a lovely, smooth bowling action like his should be watched on slow motion, like Holding’s, correct? Very incorrect. Malcolm Marshall is best in real time, because only in real time will you be able to understand the impossibly, unbelievably quick-arm release. Here’s a youtube video to compare the slow motion vs real time versions (Click here).

c. Colin Croft – Has there been an uglier bowling action? And doesn’t is seem even uglier because you invariably have him with the Rolls-Royce purr of Holding, the clinical deconstruction of a batsman of Roberts or the easy, loose limbed lope of Joel Garner. This here was brute strength. Here’s the brute. (Click here).

d. Curtly Ambrose – Curtly Elconn Lynwall Ambrose remains my favourite quick bowler, even after all these years. So much so that I remember to have wished Sachin and Azhar to be quiet and not hit shots for the while that Amby was bowling. (Not that he needed my wishes, nobody could hit Amby). Apart from Amby, the only other bowling action which seemed tuned for thousands and thousands of repetitions was that of McGrath. And Amby was about 5-10 mph quicker. Doesn’t the bowling action remind one of the King Cobra raising its hood, pausing for a nanosecond, and the bearing down on its prey? Here’s some Amby from Youtube (click here).

e. Patrick Patterson – And here’s THE brute. 1987, West Indies vs India. The first match after Gavaskar’s retirement… And India is trampled over by Patterson. All out for 75. I remember every delivery in that innings. And this was when he used to really raise his front leg up chest level before delivery. Could not find clips of that… this was probably when he was already a bit on the wane. Here’s Patto. (Click here).

f. Ian Bishop – Petered out talent. And what a talent he was. I remember thinking what a lovely action he has… and then later being told that while flowing and elegant, it was an open-and-close action, with the top half of his body being side-on, and the bottom half front-on… and that’s what resulted in the injuries. But this guy, he could have been a great. (Click here).

g. Michael Holding – Smooth? Yes. Violent? Yes. He must have been an immensely fit man to have bowled the way he had… the effortless, hang-loose coiling and uncoiling of his body just before the final hurl, was incredible to say the least. In contrast to Marshall, Holding should be watched in slow motion. Again and again. (click here)

h. Joel Garner – A loose lope. Then the extension, and then the delivery. The delivery action was just a way to make the best use of his best gifts… He never needed to be fast, I guess. (click here)

i. Courtney Walsh – A guy I used to know bowled with a near replica of Walsh’s bowling action. And he used to bowl leg spin. Enough said, I guess. All of the above bowling actions have a chance (however little) of being replicated. But not this one. (Click here).

Quick Steyn

Dale Steyn.

He says ‘kill’ very often. (click here for article)

‘So I ran straight down the wicket. I remember Mark Boucher batting; I almost killed him.

‘Morne almost killed a couple in the nets today. I’m glad he’s in my team.

Good, aggressive guy, this guy, Steyn. In a nice, Allan Donald way. He will peter out by 30, when the speed will give way, and as a not-towering guy, he will never get the loop and bounce. But till then, I hope he continues to put up a show.

Good times for quick bowling the world over.