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  1. #16
    Hall of Fame Member Furball's Avatar
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    Reading those descriptions, the best way I can imagine how Barnes might have bowled is to picture Warne's Ball of the Century, replace the drift with swing and up the pace to something similar to someone like Hoggard would bowl.

  2. #17
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Which, admittedly, doesn't seem very likely.

    Mind, if we were not so fortunate that the start of Bradman's career coincided almost exactly with the dawn of the newsreel era, we might, to my mind, also write-off what made him so special (ie, just to keep playing the right shot ball after ball) as not-very-likely.

    If newsreels and film footage were so widespread in Barnes' day as they were in Bradman's, maybe people would have as little doubt about his hedgemony as they do of Bradman's.
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    International Captain Migara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GingerFurball View Post
    Reading those descriptions, the best way I can imagine how Barnes might have bowled is to picture Warne's Ball of the Century, replace the drift with swing and up the pace to something similar to someone like Hoggard would bowl.
    I am not sure how a bowler should get inswing and leg cut together. in an inswinger the seam is tilted like "/" towards RHB. That is the angle of the seam for the off break. If we suspect that Barnes was able to put so much of backspin on that ball, so it will swing in and then break away, it will not produce spin close to that of a wrist spinner.

    The other possibility is he kept the seam as "\", putting heavy overspin on the ball. At this position, the ball will drift, but haven't heard of swinging with the forward spin. but if you send it quick, it will not drift.

    I think that he bowled a finger spun leg break with a seamers action, and with some pace, and a quick inswinger. additionally he might have possessed the orthadox outawinger, and a off cutter, which tended ro drift away from RHB, and can be easily done with seamers action.

    The "swere" that batsmen were rescribing i would think as exaggerated drift, which only best of spinners had. Bishan Bedi and Dilip Doshi had the exaggerated drift with their bowling.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Burgey's Avatar
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    Benaud described him as something of a precursor to Alec Bedser. He mentioned this on the TV here this summer when interviewed about his all time XI, in the context o fhaving met Barnes when he was asked to come and bowl either the first over or first ball of a tour match v the Aussies in the early 50s. I gather from his comments he may have had a bit of a chat with him, but can't be certain.
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  5. #20
    Hall of Fame Member aussie's Avatar
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    Yea solid post from SJS.

    I have always personally understood Barne's bowling to fast leg-breaks, bowling in the bill O'Reilly style but with an approach to the crease of an Alec Bedser.

  6. #21
    Cricketer Of The Year zaremba's Avatar
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    From Ralph Barker's 10 Great Bowlers:

    When he began his first-class career in the mid-1890s "he was a tearaway fast bowler".

    In 1901 when he returned to first-class cricket: "In seven seasons of league cricket Barnes had developed into a fast-medium bowler of rare control and ability. Tall, lean and upright, he had a bouncy run-up of moderate length, beginning with a few short steps, then accelerating into big, swinging strides that developed into leaps before he delivered the ball. As he leapt into his last stride, the ball held out waist high, he began the unusually long, loose, circular swing of the arm from which he got most of his pace. He did not put much body weight into his action, nor did he get any significant power from the bend of his back. But he made full use of the impetus he gathered during his run-up to the wicket, his actual delivery was a model of co-ordination, and his arm was as high as it could possibly be.

    "In his early days as a fast bowler, Barnes had been shown how to bowl the fast off-break. But he had realised that a fast leg-break would be even more difficult to play. His idea was to deliver the leg-break from the same height and with the same trajectory as the off-break digging it in instead of tossing it up in the manner of the orthodox leg-spinner, and he worked on it and found he could bowl it just as accurately as the off-break. For both balls he gripped the ball in three fingers, the second finger over the top, the first and third spread on either side, so that the manner of delivery was the same; both leg-break and off-break were whipped down from the full extent of his reach, whether he was imparting off spin, mainly with the third finger, or leg spin, mainly with the third. Thus batsmen were in doubt what to expect until the ball actually left the hand, and were not always certain even then.

    "Barnes had long, powerful fingers with which he worked the ball in a manner unusual for a pace bowler. Indeed there is a body of confident opinion that the muscular structure of his wrist and forearm must have been freakish, enabling him to bowl the leg-break as his natural ball. Some reversal of the natural muscular structure would be confirmed if Barnes could be shown to have had difficulty in bowling the off-break; and this may very well have been so. In answer to a criticism of Plum Warner's that he hardly ever used the off-break he promptly bowled him with one, but the story goes some way to confirming the theory. It may well be, though, that the answer lies purely and simply in finger strength.

    "In addition to movement off the wicket, Barnes moved the ball a great deal in the air. But whereas the swing bowler moves off the wicket in the same direction as through the air, Barnes, as a swerve bowler - a man who always spun the ball - was apt to make the ball swing one way and break the other... He seems to have been physically incapable of delivering the ball without imparting spin, and as long as the ball was spinning there was always the chance that it might move one way in the air, bite as it pitched, and come back the other.

    "Spin, bounce and nip off the pitch, allied to a late and disconcerting swerve, projected at every pace from fast to slow-medium, made Barnes at the age of twenty eight the complete bowler. Undeniably, though, the fast leg-break, rare if not actually unique, pitching on the leg stump and hitting the off, or finding the outside edge, was his best ball."

    Before leaving for his first tour of Australia "he described his speed in [an] interview as 'medium to fast'. In fact, when he got to Australia, he found it paid him best on Australian wickets to bowl as fast as he could while still retaining control. He was not the tearaway bowler that he had been in his early twenties, but he was still fast enough to be able to make them bump when he shortened his length."

    On the 1906/7 tour to Australia "Barnes had lost some of his pace since his earlier visit to Australia, but the Australians believed he was even more effective, and he was still bowling virtually as fast as he could."

    Barker describes his performance in Melbourne in December 1911 in detail. In the course of this he notes that Barnes "was no longer fast, and Smith at the wicket was able to stand up for him although he had stood back for Foster, but he still put every ounce of his energy into each ball. Apart from occasional variations of pace, that was how he always bowled in Australia...

    "Barnes' third over was bowled to Clem Hill, then the best left-handed batsman in the world. No two balls in the over were alike. There was the fast leg-break (an off-break to Hill), the in-swinger, the top-spinner, and the one going away. Finger-spin, seam, swerve - the permutations were inexhaustible. Hill hardly got his bat on any of them. This was the softening-up process, and now Barnes was poised for the kill. He chose to try a ball that he rarely bowled effectively - the break-back, the ball that, to the right-hander, whipped back off the pitch from the off. It was aimed just on or outside Hill's leg stump and appeared to be swinging even further down the leg side, so that Hill prepared to push it away. But as the ball pitched it spun back, and before Hill could get his bat across to it his off stump had gone."

  7. #22
    International Captain Migara's Avatar
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    For both balls he gripped the ball in three fingers, the second finger over the top, the first and third spread on either side, so that the manner of delivery was the same; both leg-break and off-break were whipped down from the full extent of his reach, whether he was imparting off spin, mainly with the third finger, or leg spin, mainly with the third.
    Great post zaremba.

    The above extract makes belive me that he was the first to use finger flick (carrom ball), not Iverson. There were players who used third finger to impart off spin (Ex. Bruce Yardly). And if you try you could find that leg breaks can be bowled with three finger grip, either as a carrom ball or as a wrist spinner (I used to bowl three finger leg-break, as a change up delivery). I think that Barnes hadd all of them in his armoury. But swing with spin, is difficult to believe because it defies physics.

  8. #23
    SJS
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    Quote Originally Posted by Migara View Post
    Great post zaremba.

    The above extract makes belive me that he was the first to use finger flick (carrom ball), not Iverson. .
    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.






  9. #24
    SJS
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    Frank Woolley in his book, 'King of The Game' writes thumbnail sketches of players he has seen. Woolley played his first Test match in 1909 and his last in 1930. He played first class cricket right upto 1938, so he had seen almost all the great players of almost two generations and played as an England colleague of Barnes watching from the best possible place to see a master bowler at work - the slips. He covers players from Trumper to Bradman. At the very end of the thumbnails he writes of SF Barnes. Here is what he writes.

    S F BARNES

    On the principal of the finest plums being kept to the last, the reader finds the greatest bowler of them all at the end of my little thumbnail gallery.

    Syd Barnes must be tired of hearing and reading of himself being described as the greatest of all bowlers. To be sure that is a tall order. But I expect he has got over the monotony! From the time he was discovered by Mr AC Maclaren, who took him, a quite unknown bowler to Australia in 1901-02 on the last tour that was run before the management of our International cricket devolved on the Board of Control. Barnes never looked back. As showing the strength of Australian cricket at that time, England won only one Test, Australia four, although Barnes had 19 wickets for 17.00 each.....

    The correct pitching of the fast leg break by Barnes was perhaps the factor that first attracted Mr MacLaren.

    But that one was far from being the only shot in Syd's well-filled locker. He had a beautiful enduring action, one of the most graceful I saw in a bowler so hostile and so capable. His almost natural leg spin caused the ball to swerve in towards the batsman; that itself inducing "playing inside," which to any good length ball pitching on middle and leg is fatal when that ball is as likely as not to straighten, if not turn towards the off, on pitching.

    Add to this deadly characteristic the attacking temprament of the bowler, who, as I saw frequently from the slips, hid his intentions from the batsman, and the devastation which Barnes could, and did, spread in the ranks of thoroughly accomplished batsmen stands explained.

    Barnes had more perfect control of the ball than any other bowler of my time.

    Bowling both leg and off breaks, both in and out swerves, maintaining length and pitching a yorker almost at will, Barnes was a modest estimate of four or five bowlers in one.


    If a slip fielder stays awake he can tell better than anyone on the field how and why the batsman was out. From my vantage point I have never noticed in the case of any other bowler, so many batsmen so utterly lost as were many who were bowled, as Clem Hill used to say, "base over turkey" by Barnes.

    With my doughty partner in several tight corners for Kent, Arthur Fielder, Barnes helped to win the second Test of the 1907-08 tour, under Mr AO Jones, at Melbourne, by one wicket, Barnes 38 and Fielder 18 not out; but Syd goes down to posterity as the greatest of all bowlers.

    It is said that the third pays for all. Barnes visited Australia three times. On each of the first two visits Australia won 4-1, but on his third visit England won 4, Australia 1.

    His Test bowling figures in Australia and the total result of 15 Tests on his three tours there are, in my opinion, a monument to the strength of Australian batting in 1901-12*. His figures were :-

    Code:
    YEAR	OVERS	MAIDENS	RUNS	WKTS	AVG
    
    1901-02	138.2	23	323	19	17
    1907-08	273.2	74	626	24	26.08
    1911-12	297	64	778	34	22.88
    
    OVERALL	708.4	171	1727	77	21.98


    *Note : When mentioning Barnes's remarkable figures against Australia, Woolley does not praise Barnes but the Australian batting for not letting Barnes have far more striking figures as he would have had against most oppositions.

    English cricket, now in sore straits for the lack of Barnes class bowling, would revive like magic if a bowler of anything like his ability was to arrive on the scene*. We can only hope for the best .....

    Note * :- Written in 1936.

  10. #25
    International Captain Migara's Avatar
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    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".
    We have seen this many times from modern spinners. For example Anil Kumble's top spinner is a violently spun ball with seam up right. But it defies physics how a forward spun ball instead of back spin, produce swing. It produces drift and dip, but I am not sure about the swing. Any further details on this?

  11. #26
    Cricketer Of The Year zaremba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Migara View Post
    We have seen this many times from modern spinners. For example Anil Kumble's top spinner is a violently spun ball with seam up right. But it defies physics how a forward spun ball instead of back spin, produce swing. It produces drift and dip, but I am not sure about the swing. Any further details on this?
    I'm no physicist but I can't see why it would make any difference to the swing of the ball whether the ball is back-spun or forward-spun. In swing bowling the purpose of spin is to keep the seam at a constant angle during the flight of the ball. This would equally well be achieved by forward spin as back-spin. (Of course, the effect off the pitch would be different: the top-spun ball would tend to bounce more and come off the wicket more quickly).

    From what's been written I rather suspect that one thing which Barnes didn't have is what we would today call "swing". Swerve bowling was something rather different - it arises as a natural counterpart to spin, and acts in the opposite direction, and this seems to fit with the descriptions of Barnes' bowling.

    However I realise that there is an alternative theory, referred to by SJS, which is that effectively he was having the best of both worlds and both swinging and spinning the ball. And I suppose that if he was spinning the ball he would also be adding to the swing with some swerve. Ie swing + swerve in one direction, then spin in the other.

  12. #27
    Cricketer Of The Year zaremba's Avatar
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    SJS those photos are excellent. The one of Barnes rocking back in his delivery stride is awesome. The eyes!

  13. #28
    SJS
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    Quote Originally Posted by Migara View Post
    We have seen this many times from modern spinners. For example Anil Kumble's top spinner is a violently spun ball with seam up right. But it defies physics how a forward spun ball instead of back spin, produce swing. It produces drift and dip, but I am not sure about the swing. Any further details on this?
    Movement in the air of a cricket ball can be caused both with spin as well as by the very position of the seam. The finest explanation of the phenomenon of movement in the air that I have ever come across is in Bradman's Art of Cricket, easily the finest cricket coaching book. The write up is pretty long running into six-seven large pages. I will try and scan them to put them here.

  14. #29
    Cricketer Of The Year zaremba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS View Post
    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.
    Awesome pictures, SJS, thanks for posting these. But it's difficult to see from them exactly what he was bowling.




    This is a very odd grip indeed. And it looks entirely different to the grip shown in the (posed) 4th photo below.



    This is my favourite of these photos. Look at the intensity of his eyes!

    What's interesting here is that his wrist is looking rather cocked - you can imagine he is going to snap the wrist in delivery after all. In fact it reminds me of a leg-spinner's googly grip. But we know it can't be because that's one ball which it's commonly recognised that he didn't bowl.




    A staged photo, but useful because he does look as though he's actually about to bowl the ball, albeit, one imagines, not at full pace. Unfortunately I can't make out what he's doing as far as grip etc is concerned. What you can see, however, is how wonderfully high his action is. If that's as high as he managed to get when bowling in match conditions, it's as high a delivery point as could possibly be imagined.




    Staged, and posed. So of less interest than the others perhaps. However once again is it possible to discern a suggestion of a cocking/snapping of the wrist? I reckon basically he's bowling here a finger-spun leg-cutter. We can't see the seam so I'd imagine he's pointing it straight down the pitch - with the likely result that the movement he's likely to produce is going to be in-swerve in the air and leg-cut off the pitch.

    But perhaps I'm reading too much into one photo....


    Anyhow many thanks for posting these photos SJS.

    Z
    Last edited by zaremba; 09-03-2009 at 04:09 AM.

  15. #30
    SJS
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    You will notice some cocking of the wrist in many bowlers including medium pacers and real fast bowlers. some of them use that to whip the ball with the wrist at the time of delivery to get additional bite. The difference is that in the case of the leg spinner (see Warne and Grimmett) the wrist is cocked inwards while they will cock the wrist away.

    Here is a picture of medium pacer Bill Johnston where you can see the wrist cocked away.
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