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Thread: SF Barnes

  1. #376
    International Captain watson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the big bambino View Post
    I've read that Barnes could bowl the doosra with a straight arm.

    Sounds like hogwash to me. I mean I've never seen it done.
    Next we'll be saying that Barnes could win a one-legged butt kicking contest with both arms tied behind his back. So let's not exaggerate Barnes into something he was not, because every bowler has his limitations.

    I doubt very much that Barnes bowled the 'doosra' like Murali or Saqlain because he didn't need to. His unique grip on the ball enabled his third finger to flick the ball anti-clockwise thus creating leg-spin, or flick the ball clockwise thus creating off-spin. Barnes did assist the spin by twisting the wrist so he looked like he was unscrewing a light-bulb, but this is very different to a bowler like Murali or Saqlain who flexed their wrists enormously when creating the 'doosra' effect.
    Sunil Gavaskar – Len Hutton – Don Bradman – Garry Sobers – Viv Richards – Keith Miller – Imran Khan – Jock Cameron – Richie Benaud – Malcolm Marshall – Bill O’Reilly

  2. #377
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    My apologies to anyone who took my post seriously. I was just having a little dig at Migara. Obviously it backfired. So joke's on me. That'll learn me to leave comedy to the professionals.

  3. #378
    International Captain Maximas's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like Barnes was the only bowler of his time to use the magnus effect properly through seam placement. Perhaps every other spinner was bowling with the scrambled seam and couldn't get the drift/dip.
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  4. #379
    International Captain watson's Avatar
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    I quite like the following anecdote recorded by Ian Peebles in his book 'Batter's Castles'. It must have occured in 1933 since Barnes was 60 years old at the time of the story.


    Walter Robins was playing for Sir Julien Cahn's team, a very strong side against Staffordshire at Stoke, and was amongst those shot out for less than 80 by the youthful sixty-year-old Barnes. The position was indeed parlous when they came in to bat again, well behind, and Sir Julien took desperate counsel of Walter, who recommended one and all having a bash. To this suggestion Sir J. replied that he better lead the way, so that Walter in due course took middle and leg and waited his first experience of Barnes with the new ball. It was quite something in fact, Walter recalls it as one of the most beautiful overs he has ever seen bowled. The first was the out-swinger, which just missed off-stump. The second was the in-dipper, and the defender pulled his umbilicus smartly out of the way as it shot over leg-stump. The next was the leg-break and, just to keep things symmetrical, this missed the off-stump again; a yorker, an off-break and then the last ball of the over, another leg-break. Trying to smother it, the batsman just snicked it and almost before it arrived in the wicketkeeper's gloves all present appealed. To their astonishment ; and that of the striker, the Umpire said "Not Out", and Walter lived to fight another day or at least another over. Be it said for Sir Julien, who liked to win, that on seeing his advisor in such a tangle he laughed until he cried.
    What pleases about the anecdote is that RWV Robins played for England as an allrounder from 1929 to 1937 and therefore would have been at the height of his powers when Barnes bowled to him. Robins was no mug with the bat and had a Test match average of 26.6 with 1 Test century and 4 half-centuries. He was also a good leg-spinner.

    Consequently, if Barnes at aged 60 could baffle a competent and current Test match batsman like Robins, then he must have been quite a handful in his youth when at full tilt.
    Last edited by watson; 20-04-2013 at 08:46 AM.


  5. #380
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    David Frith interviews SF Barnes, aged 94.

    Was Barnes the greatest bowler of all time?

    David Frith speaks to former England bowler Sydney Barnes whose 49 wickets against South Africa in 1913-14 is still the record for most wickets in a series

    David Frith


    "What do you want?" A nice greeting, I must say, to a pilgrim who had just driven for three hours all the way up to Cannock, Staffordshire. It was not as if my visit was unscheduled. Sydney Barnes had agreed to it by telephone. He was now 94, and still ferociously sharp mentally. And here I was, looking up into that gaunt face framed in the doorway, and wondering if I was ever going to be invited in.

    Maybe he was playing games, teasing, provoking? The history books tell of how difficult he could be to captains, committees and opponents. Now he even refused to sign a book because I had only a ballpoint pen. His copperplate handwriting with a fountain pen - or was it a quill? - was renowned. "I'm not going into the office for you just to get my pen," he croaked. It was a Saturday, so the council office in Stafford where he worked part-time would be locked anyway.

    He took some warming up. Then the stories began to flow, though I can't recall a real smile throughout that awesome session in the living room - a faintly evil grimace, yes.

    Animatedly he talked me through his first morning spell against Australia at Melbourne in the 1911-12 Ashes series: bowled Bardsley with his first ball, had Kelleway lbw, bowled Hill, then had Armstrong caught by his Warwickshire wicketkeeper Tiger Smith: 4 for 1 in seven legendary overs. Having Minnett later caught by Hobbs gave him 5 for 6, all quality wickets, and England were on their way to sweeping the series after the first Test had been lost. That'd show that vain captain, JWHT Douglas, that Barnes and not he should use the new ball with Frank Foster.

    Barnes revealed that the man who brought a bottle of whisky to him in his room the night before, after word had circulated that he was sick, was none other than the Australian veteran, little Syd Gregory, who was not playing. It made all the difference next day. "SF" was fiery as ever, shocking Australia with that 11-over spell, later flopping to the turf when he was barracked for slow field arrangement, resuming only when it stopped.

    Did he cut the ball like Underwood? "Cut it!" He glared, and again I wondered if he might hurl something at me. "I spun the ball!" Those long, gnarled fingers gyrated around imaginary leather. He bowled a brisk medium, but applied spin, with excruciating accuracy. No wonder he was regarded as the greatest bowler of all by most thoughtful judges. His bag of 49 wickets in South Africa in 1913-14 is still a series record. And he missed the fifth Test! The official reasons were hazy, but Barnes now explained: they wouldn't pay for his wife's accommodation. That marked the end of his erratic Test career: 189 wickets at 16.43 in 27 Tests. He was 40. Had he played as many Tests as Shane Warne (as yet unborn when we met), Barnes might have finished with around 1000, though covered pitches would have cut him back a little (my view, not his).

    Like most old-timers, he had a distant look in his eyes as he recalled long-ago incidents and events: England's one-wicket victory which he pulled off with Arthur Fielder at the MCG in 1908, and his feigned injury when the fee offered for playing in the Lord's centenary match in 1914 was reckoned inadequate. Money drove him beyond most other considerations.

    He went from league club to league club because the pay in county cricket fell short. He had as little respect for committees as for opposing batsmen. This theme saturated his reminiscences. Years later the great South African offspinner Hugh Tayfield passed on to me some extreme advice that Barnes had given him: "Don't take any notice of anything anybody ever tells you!"

    It was slightly demanding as well as pleasurable to be in Barnes's company. A nonagenarian he might have been, yet his brooding countenance gave a vivid taste of what it must have been like to be an opposing batsman. He wasn't all malevolence: as I was leaving, he relented and signed my book.



    This article was first published in the August issue of The Wisden Cricketer.

    David Frith, author and historian, was the founder editor of Wisden Cricket Monthly
    Last edited by watson; 20-04-2013 at 08:32 PM.

  6. #381
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    Peter Gibbs talks to SF Barnes;

    A chill wind beyond the boundary

    Peter Gibbs


    ....."Would you mind signing these scorecards for some of the junior members?" SF frowned at me, then at the batch of cards. "Have you a pen?" Encouraged, I produced one. "A biro? Never touch them. An Oxford man should have a fountain pen." Even into his nineties, SF's skill as an inscriber of legal documents was still in demand. Seven years earlier he had presented a handwritten scroll to the Queen to commemorate her visit to Stafford. Giving him a biro was like asking Yehudi Menuhin to play the ukulele. I found a proper pen and, after he had signed the cards, he returned them with enough of a smile for me to brave further reproaches.

    "The bowlers might like to roll this pitch up and take it with them?" I ventured. "They need all the help they can get. Cricket's a batters' game. Always has been." Anyone perusing SF's figures might think otherwise. His 719 first-class wickets (189 in Tests) were captured at an average of 17.09. His 1441 wickets for Staffordshire cost less than half that, and his 4069 league victims barely six runs apiece.

    "Even so, an ideal pitch for cutters?" I persisted. "Possibly. I was a spinner, not a cutter." His expression had clouded again at my apparent confusion. There was no classification in my MCC coaching manual for a fast-medium spin bowler, though I had heard how he made the ball swerve in the air before bouncing and breaking sharply either way. The patented Barnes Ball was the legbreak delivered at pace and without rotation of the wrist. It was at its most potent on the matting tracks of South Africa when, at the age of 40, he took 49 wickets in four games, still a record for a Test series. Fielders at mid-off and mid-on reported hearing the snap of his fingers as he bowled, the batsmen unable to read which way the ball would break. In that respect he was the Ramadhin or Muralitharan of his day. But whereas they were spinners using a front-on action and freakish articulation of the arm, SF's spin was derived purely from the twist exerted by his fingers rather than through leverage of the wrist or elbow. In his opinion the cutter, delivered when the bowler drags his fingers down the side of the ball, was a much inferior cousin....

    Wisden - A chill wind beyond the boundary
    Last edited by watson; 20-04-2013 at 08:55 PM.

  7. #382
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    Great finds, watson.
    ATG World XI
    1. J.B Hobbs 2. H. Sutcliffe 3. D.G Bradman 4. W.R Hammond 5. G.S Sobers 6. M.J Procter 7. A.C Gilchrist 8. M.D Marshall 9. S.K Warne 10. M. Muralitharan 11. G.D McGrath

  8. #383
    International Captain watson's Avatar
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    Thanks Coronis. While I'm on a roll;

    Sydney Barnes - cricket's living legend
    In the June 1963 issue of The Cricketer, John Arlott paid tribute to Sydney Barnes

    ......More than six feet tall - he is still dominatingly erect at ninety - with high, wide, rugged shoulders, deep chest, long arms and strong legs, he was perfectly built to be a bowler. There was virtually no cricket in his family, and he was never coached. But he had a natural aptitude - and avidity - for the game, and, by application and determination, he made himself into a right-arm fast-medium bowler with the accuracy, spin and resource of a slow bowler, whose high delivery gave him a lift off the pitch that rapped the knuckles of the unwary and forced even the best batsmen to play him at an awkward height.

    His usual pace was about that of Alec Bedser, with a faster ball and a slower one, in well-concealed reserve, and the ability to bowl a yorker. He himself is content that he was essentially a spin bowler, that his movement through the air was, in modern technical language, swerve - obtained by spin - rather than `swing', which derives from the 'seam-up' method. Certainly he made the ball move both ways through the air, and-with a first and second-finger application rather similar to that of Ramadhin - he bowled both the offbreak and the legbreak. Indeed, he could bowl the googly at about slow-medium pace and where, in exceptional conditions, the pitch dictated it, he could be a fine slow bowler.

    This is such technical equipment as no one in the history of the game has excelled. Barnes added to it a sustained hostility and remarkable stamina, which were reflected in constant, unrelenting probing for a batsman's weakness and then attacking it by surprise, each ball fitting into a tactical pattern.....

    Simply to see him bowl - and he was over sixty on the only occasion I ever watched him in action - was to make the instant impression of majesty, hostility and control. This was, without doubt, a born bowler, who lived to bowl.

    No batsman even dared to claim that he was Barnes's master. Asked which of them he found most difficult he answers `Victor Trumper'. Who next? `No one else ever troubled me.'

    No cricketer who played with or against him has any doubt that Sydney Barnes was the greatest bowler the world has ever seen. Had Warwickshire, in 1896, or Lancashire, in 1903, thought differently and kept him in county cricket, the history of the game would be markedly different - and richer.

    Sydney Barnes - cricket's living legend | Cricket Features | The Cricketer | ESPN Cricinfo
    Since John Arlott made the observation that Barnes usually bowled at about the pace of Alec Bedser I thought I'd include some good footage of Beder in action from his 1946 tour of Australia. It fortunate that the footage also contains Doug Wright bowling one of his leg-spinners because Barnes has also been desribed as bowling as Wright's pace as well;

    THE ASHES - BRISBANE. AUSTRALIA aka THE FIRST TEST - British Pathé

    I don't think that I would describe Bedser as 'fast-medium' like Arlott, but of course so much of cricket parlance in open to subjective interpretation.

    (It should be noted that at first glance the overall comments of Arlott seem to contradict the preceding articles a little bit. However, if you think about them further, they do not.)
    Last edited by watson; 20-04-2013 at 11:16 PM.

  9. #384
    International Captain watson's Avatar
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    Anyway, in summary;

    1. Barnes bowled at about the pace of Alec Bedser or Doug Wright. That is, he generally bowled at medium or fast-medium pace. He would vary his pace depending on the conditions and state of the pitch.

    2. Barnes was a finger-spinner who spun the ball like he was 'unscrewing a light-bulb'. That is, in order to bowl a leg-spinner he would 'flick' his third finger up-wards against the ball, while at the same time his middle and index fingers would pull-down. A similar method would be used to bowl the off-spnner, but in 'reverse'.

    3. Barnes unique method of spinning the ball also allowed him to swing the ball at the same time.

    4. Barnes was a very accurate bowler who relied on an immacualte length to claim wickets.

    5. Barnes was an aggressive and attacking bowler who generally aimed at the stumps.

    6. Barnes was an 'up-right' bowler who used his height to achieve extra bounce. He did not have a 'round-arm' action.

  10. #385
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    And here's the subjective bit;

    1. Does Barnes make an acceptable ATG first change bowler after Marsall and Lillee (for example) have finished their opening spells - Yes.

    2. Is Barnes an ATG spin bowler who can successfully partner Warne or Murali - Yes

    3. Does Barnes deserve his place in any ATG team - Yes

  11. #386
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    Quote Originally Posted by watson View Post
    And here's the subjective bit;

    1. Does Barnes make an acceptable ATG first change bowler after Marsall and Lillee (for example) have finished their opening spells - Yes.

    2. Is Barnes an ATG spin bowler who can successfully partner Warne or Murali - Yes

    3. Does Barnes deserve his place in any ATG team - Yes
    Barnes is my twelfth man. I straight up think Marshall, Hadlee and Murali were better bowlers and I'm not picking a team without Imran in it. He's close but he just misses out, regardless of what he actually bowled.
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  12. #387
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prince EWS View Post
    Barnes is my twelfth man. I straight up think Marshall, Hadlee and Murali were better bowlers and I'm not picking a team without Imran in it. He's close but he just misses out, regardless of what he actually bowled.
    Marshall, Hadlee, Murali, Imran - You would have to be pretty daft or blinkered to argue against the inclusion of any of those bowlers.

  13. #388
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    No real shock there. Barnes was medium to fast medium. As you'd expect for someone sharing the new ball. Frankly it is a confirmation of modern generational prejudice bcos we didin't see him we can't credit someone spinning the ball at pace. Must have been all down to the pitches or the old reporters were silly old duffers who couldn't be trusted. Jokes on us instead.

    So yeah go and pick your atg xi and leave him out. Let me pick an all time staffordshire xi and watch him put your team of champions through the heavy wash cycle. Bad start for the atg xi tour: Beaten by staffordshire.

  14. #389
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    Quote Originally Posted by the big bambino View Post
    Bad start for the atg xi tour: Beaten by staffordshire.
    On that note, did Bradman, Headley or Hammond ever face Barnes? Hammond must have surely.
    If you were that old, and that kind, and the very last of your kind, you couldn't just stand back and watch children cry.

  15. #390
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    Quote Originally Posted by harsh.skm View Post
    On that note, did Bradman, Headley or Hammond ever face Barnes? Hammond must have surely.
    Not in a First Class match - Barnes only played in a handful of those after the Great War

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