Originally Posted by SJS
Thats not correct.
Its true he used his fingers to impart leg spin and not really the wrist as is done by leg spinners but that does not mean he bowled like Iverson. Ralph Barker's account is slightly misleading in this regard.
A regular leg spinner uses the wrist to get most of the turn. In fact the wrist turned at 45 to 60 degrees to the arm as you can see in these pictures of Warne and Grimmett below below
So they get most of the effort on the ball from the wrist movement at the time of release. Hence the term wrist spinner.
Barnes was different from these leg spinners in that he did not bend his wrist at all. His wrist was firm in line with his bowling arm as would be for a medium pacer, He just used his very long fingers to snap almost violently at the time of release. The fact that he did not turn his wrist at all is what made the ball spin viciously in the air "without losing the integrity of the seam position". The seam continued in the direction in which it was pointing as it would do for a seamer. This is why his deliveries could first swing in the air, and then after pitching, break away like a leg break making him near impossible to play.
He could control the swing and extent of break off the wicket by merely adjusting the direction in which the seam was poniting. Thats why he was not a wrist spinner but a swerve and break bowler and he bowled at fairly high speeds and released the ball from a very high point - again something regular leg spinners dont do. His arm was very erect during delivery and the wrist was not bent. There arent many pictures of Barnes available but you can get an idea from this sequence.
Very impressive, SJS. He truly was a remarkable man, and it's no surprise that he was a mystery. He even had time to have a shave between images 2 and 3. He might also have been the inspiration for the 'statue ball' much beloved by at least one of his modern-day twirly compatriots, because by image 4, his moustache had grown back.