Originally Posted by Richard
I'd happily acknowledge Barnes as the best bowler there's ever been, myself. And certainly conceivably one of England's best three cricketers.
However, his case is undoubtedly less unequivocal than those of the great batsmen of the '30s and '50s. There are still plenty who argue that his case to be a great bowler, never mind the best there's ever been, is not concrete. The sad reality is that Barnes spent the vast majority of his career playing Minor Counties cricket. If I could change one thing about cricket history, it'd be that someone made Barnes welcome playing First-Class county cricket for 25 years. Because I've precious little doubt that if that'd been done, no-one would doubt he was the best there's ever been.
Richard, there were some threads last year in which it was asked whether we actually knew what it was Barnes bowled.
At the NY test in Sydney, Benaud was on in a tea break and was talking abotu the 53(?) tour to England. Anyway, he mentioned SF bowled the first over of one of the tour matches, at whatever age he was then, and what a thrill it was for Richie to have met him, etc.
Benaud made mention that Barnes bowled medium-fast to fast-medium seamers, and described as almost a prototype Alewc Bedser. Meant to post this when I heard it but forgot. May clarify some things.