As regards the question of bowling long hops and full tosses, it is well recorded that Grimmett and O'reilly were very accurate with the former particularly miserly with every single ball he bowled. Mailey, on the other hand, seemed to make a virtue of bowling untidily, even by intention at times. Where Grimmett and O'reilly believed purely in line and length and putting shackles round the batsman's feet, Mailey was totally enamoured with precocious spin at the cost of length which, kind of, averaged a good length with the full tosses and long hops thrown in. For the other two bowling was very serious business, for Mailey it was fun and games as with everything else in life. He spun the ball like mad, tossed it up in the air and then waited for the batsman to make a fool of himself. If in the process a fairly large number failed to land on a good length that was part of the fun. In those days of suspicion of leg spin bowling even these could result in the batsmen losing their head and getting out.
Here are views of first hand accounts of revered writers and cricketers who saw all three play and who hold very high opinions of all.
He tossed up his spin to the batsman slow and alluringly; never have I seen on a cricket field such undisguised temptation as was presented by Mailey's bowling. It was almost immoral. He once clean bowled Hobbs with a slow full toss after the master and Sutcliffe had put on 283 together. Mailey needed to double up his body to express the humour of it.
No bowler has spun te ball with more than Mailey's twist, fingers and right forearm and leverage. He lacked the accuracy of Grimmett but Mailey bowled his spin with the lavishness of a millionaire, Grimmett bowled it like a miser - as ray Robinson once put it.
Terribly expensive, no doubt, according to the skinflint economy of our seamsters of 1963. It is doubtful, in fact, if Mailey would get a place in modern first class cricket matches in this country. The fact that he played cricket for fun would, in itself, keep his claims and talents under sever and suspicious scrutiny.
He bowled any amount of full tosses. 'If ever I bowl a maiden.' he once told me, 'it's the batsman's fault not mine.'
- Cardus from Full Score, Cardus on the Ashes and Close of Play
Mailey and Grimmett had (only) one point in common. Each was a bosey bowler. Their points of dissimilarity were so many . . .
In the post war (WW1) years he (Mailey) never looked on length as essential to success, claimimg that a ball spun viciously must do something different, and that even if it was a full toss or a long hop, it could cause the batsman to fall into error.
Mailey was almost a profligate, and cared little about cost so long as he brought home the victims. Compared with him Grimmett was a miser, out for wickets at the smallest possible cost. He rarely bowled a loose ball.
There was a legend that Mailey did not care very much whether he bowled a full toss, a long-hop or a regular snorter. It was good publicity . . . it made batsmen careless . . .
When the Mailey full-toss came down from the skies the ball had been spun viciously by powerful fingers with a supple wrist to help them. That spin would make the ball drop; often it would dip at the last minute; sometime it would make a late change of course. Now and again it would not do the unexpected, but the wise batsman was the one who feared Mailey the Greek bringing such gifts. Arthur took good wickets with that ball. He knew its possibilities. And I haven't any doubt he bowled it deliberately, hoping for the best. It was the same with the long-hop, a ball that from a medium pacer would bring four runs without risk. Here again, the Mailey brain worked it out that a ball spun with all the power he possessed would almost certainly do something different. If it landed half way down the wicket, what matter? There was a;ways a chance that the batsman may mistime it . . .
- Johnny Moyes from Australian Bowlers and A Century of Cricketers
As a bowler of slow leg-breaks and googlies, Mailey was imaginative and experimental. He would invite a batsman's contempt with a wide, lull him with long-hops. then send him witlessly pondering to the pavillion with one that struck venomously from leg stump to the top of the off. Like PGH Fender he was never devoted to precision for its own dull sake. . . "Sometimes", he once remarked, "I am attacked by waves of accuracy; and I don't trust them."
- RC Robertson Glasgow from More Cricket Prints