Hedley debuted after the war.
Hedley debuted after the war.
Hutton | Hobbs | Bradman* | Richards^ | Tendulkar | Sobers5^ | Gilchrist+ | Khan3 | Marshall1 | Warne4^ | McGrath2
Sutcliffe | Gavaskar* | Headley | Chappell^ | Lara^ | Kallis5^ | Knott+ | Hadlee3 | Ambrose2 | Lillee1 | Muralitharan4
Greenidge | Richards^ | Ponting^ | Pollock | Hammond^ | Worrell5* | Waite+ | Akram3 | Steyn1 | Holding2 | O'Reilly4
Morris | Simpson^ | Sangakkara | Weekes^ | Border*^ | Walcott+ | Faulkner5 | Laker4 | Trueman1 | Garner3 | Donald2
Bernard Hollowood played with SF Barnes for Staffordshire. Here he is quoting his father Albert Hollowood (1970) who also played with SF Barnes during "Syd's golden years";
Incidently, Douglas Wright was a right-arm medium/leg-break bowler.“Oh yes, he could ‘em all, but he got his wickets with fast leg-breaks. Marvelous, absolutely marvellous, he was. Fast leg-breaks and always on a length.” Others, Barnes included, have claimed that he bowled every known ball except the googly – swingers, off breaks, top spinners, the lot. But undoubtably his chef d’oeuvre was the leg break. He took a long run, a bounding springy run, and as his arm came over in a perfect action, mid on and mid off could hear the snap of his long fingers as they rolled and squeezed the ball into its revolutionary parabola. There has been no one like him. O’Reilly could bend them from leg, but not with Barnes’s consistency or devil. Douglas Wright could bowl fastish leg breaks, but not on the length that destroys and goes on destroying.
(The Picador Book of Cricket, page 37-38)
So, in the main, Barnes was the English version of Bill O'Reilly, although Barnes could bowl quicker when he wanted to. However, he didn't want to most of the time according to the above eye-witness account because his 'chef d’oeuvre' was the 'fast leg-break' - spun using his third finger, not 'over-the-wrist' like Warne or Benaud.
It seems the eyewitness accounts are consistent in some ways and vary in others. All note, as we know, that Barnes could spin the ball prodigiously, and all also note that he could bowl fast and swing it if be wanted to as well. It seems the earlier in his career that you hear accounts of him, the faster he was.
I still don't consider him to be a "spinner" in the conventional sense - he was for most of his career considerably faster than O'Reilly or Wright - but as I've noted before his ability to combine pace with spin the way he did must make his value to a team very high.
As Watson says though, this has moved well beyond Pakistan so perhaps all this discussion could be moved to a general all-time XI discussion thread, assuming there is one?
And smalishah's avatar is the most classy one by far Jan certainly echoes the sentiments of CW
Yeah we don't crap in the first world; most of us would actually have no idea what that was emanating from Ajmal's backside. Why isn't it roses and rainbows like what happens here? PEWS's retort to Ganeshran on Daemon's picture depicting Ajmal's excreta
The first a strength of the Australian as emphatically used by Bradman in the argument as to which of the two was the greatest bowler of all time - he bowled the google which Barnes didn't. Barnes was very old when told about this (the missing googly in his armoury in comparison to the Australian ) and he famously answered "I never needed it"
The second difference was the Englishman's deadliest, most devilish and well nigh unplayable delivery. With the shiny new ball he would bowl his fast leg break with the seam held at right angles to his long fingers so that when the sharply revolving ball left his hand it travelled with the seam up right. This ball swung in to the right handed batsmen, starting its flight from around the off stump line it pitched on leg stump and as the batsman squared up to play the down-the-leg line it cut/spun viciously in the opposite direction heading for the top of off stump.
Till today it is considered the most difficult ball imaginable for a batsman to cope with. Only Bedser in the immediate post war years bowled anything similar and he had Bradman, no less, in quite a spot of bother as well recorded elsewhere.
Barnes is the only bowler known to have had such a delivery that was a leg break and yet maintained the seam's integrity in a manner to swing the ball in. That alone is a feat at which the mind boggles. The fact that the spin on the ball was so vicious that after landing on the good length spot on the leg stump line it broke back towards the off is nearly fantastical. His fingers must have been made of steel and his action which ensured the seam travelled right must have been honed to perfection. The fact that he was bowling with awesome control so late into life that international players 30 years his juniors were gaping with dropped jaws is nothing to be scoffed at.
Of course the South Africans were easier opposition but people tend to forget that his figures have to be seen in the context of those of his illustrious contemporaries from both England and Australia.
More importantly, just look at his figures in the Ashes series.
In just 19 Tests, Barnes took the fifer 12 times against the Arch enemy and a total of 106 wickets at 21.58 each
It is okay to say, as Bradman did, that Oreilly was the greater bowler but it is certainly disrespectful to arguably (at least) the greatest bowler of all time and certainly the greatest of the first half century of the game to demean his stature by running down conditions, quality of opposition etc.
In an interview the other day, Boycott was spot on when he said, acknowledging Sachin's place amongst the game's greatest, that it would be disrespectful to some others if we were to declare that Sachin's was the greatest batsman of all time. All of us need to be more respectful of the history of the game and its legendary iconic players.
Bradman too, when suggesting that O'Reilly was the better of the two was talking of "who was the greatest bowler of all time" that alone shows respect towards the great Englishman. Lets at least emulate the Don in this respect.
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