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#16 Wilfrid1

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 07:31 PM

Yes, that's a great little program they have there.

I saw a lot of Bedi in the early '70s. He did well to keep his career average under 30. In the absence of any test class pace attack, Bedi used to get given the ball after a couple of overs in any conditions and just left to bowl that end for the rest of the innings. He used to bowl tirelessly, hours on end, regardless of the state of the wicket or match.

I never saw Chandra at his best, sadly.
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#17 Wilfrid1

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 08:01 PM

I think I posted this before, but this is a bowler. Note strike rate, and note 5 wickets ina match 24 times in 27 test matches. That is a matchwinner.
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#18 alexhills

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 08:47 PM

I think I posted this before, but this is a bowler. Note strike rate, and note 5 wickets ina match 24 times in 27 test matches. That is a matchwinner.

It's not really clear what Barnes was actually bowling, right? It sounds like a kind of fast spin that could move in any direction and in the air.... A bit scary, and one wonders why no one else seems to have ever bowled it successfully. The statistics are amazing, but without seeing film of him bowling its pretty hard to imagine what it was actually like.
He has taken up residence in the 'Grand Hotel Abyss' - a beautiful hotel, equipped with every comfort, on the edge of an abyss, of nothingness, of absurdity. And the daily contemplation of the abyss between excellent meals or artistic entertainments, can only heighten the enjoyment of the subtle comforts offered.

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#19 Wilfrid1

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 09:06 PM

He once said: "I never bowled a ball I didn't spin".

So, sharp movement in the air derived from swerve rather than spin, followed by sharp movement in the opposite direction off the pitch. Impeccable line and length. Ball coming down from about seven feet. Pace medium or above. And a bit of a strong personality.

I am not aware of any film of him - what a pity.

Edit: On no-one else bowling it, I don't think that's true. In the days when bowling didn't revolve around the new ball concept (there was only one ball per innings, and the outfield took the shine off pretty quickly), there were plenty of people moving the ball in the air by spinning it rather than by swinging it with the seam up - and at medium pace and above. Many nineteenth century bowlers surely fit that description. Fast bowlers, indeed, usually bowled a breakback - a fast spun off-cutter. And you can still observe slow spinners drifting the ball one way in the air, then making it turn the other way off the pitch. I believe Barnes's deadliest ball was the opposite of the break-back - swerving in, then spinning away - but similar principle I'm sure.

Witnesses say Barnes had huge and very strong hands. I think he was able to do what others could do, but faster and with great control.
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#20 Adam Lawrence

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 08:54 AM

People who saw Barnes characterise him as a leg spinner who bowled at a sharpish medium pace - about 75mph - with astounding accuracy. It isn't hard to imagine why he was so dangerous.
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#21 Adam Lawrence

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 09:39 AM

Only an ODI, but Marcus Trescothick may not view winning the toss and putting Pakistan in today as his best ever piece of captaincy. How the hell do you score 353 in fifty overs?
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#22 Wilfrid1

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 03:43 PM

As I said, Barnes's dangerous ball swerved into the right hander, then broke away off the pitch - same trajectory that a brisk leg spinner would achieve, but I think it's confusing to call Barnes a leg spinner. Absent qualification, it implies wrist spin and googlies, and that's not what he was doing.

My cricket archive is at my country retreat, so I haven't been able to go back to the authorities. He lived to be 94 years old, dying in 1967, so it's not as if he's hidden by the mists of time. Arlott published a good interview with him. There must be a bio, but I don't have it. Anyway, I'll try to find a good description of what he did with the ball, other than run through the opposition's batting in just about every test he played (and that meant Australia and South Africa - no soft options).
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If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#23 Wilfrid1

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 03:45 PM

UK members are welcome to club together and buy me this for Christmas:

Barnes's bio.
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#24 Adam Lawrence

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 03:45 PM

SF Barnes - His Life and Times, Andrew Searle, Empire Publications,
1997, ISBN 1-901746-00-3.

Review from rec.sport.cricket

This was obviously a labour of love. The author is clearly besotted with
Barnes, and the style ends up getting a bit breathless, along the lines
of "Barnes did brilliantly, but it was nothing compared to what was to
come later" on every other page. Still, it's usually true, as Barnes's
career consists of incredible amounts of incredible feats - and there
haven't been many people who've still been *professional* opening
bowlers at the age of 60.


The book makes the case that Barnes remains the best bowler ever to have
played the game, and the case is a strong one. Just before WW1, at the
age of 40, Barnes played seven Tests against South Africa and took ten
wickets in six of them. Victor Trumper was his bunny - no-one else
dismissed Trumper as often, and certainly not for single figures as
Barnes often did.


And nobody else has ever mastered how to bowl his most dangerous balls:
he bowled leg-spin at 75mph+, as well as conventional swing, swerve and
off-cutters.


But he is somewhat obscure, because he played very little Test and f-c
cricket for someone with that ability. It's often said that this was
because he was a difficult man, and that is certainly true - when the
storm tossed the ship taking Maclaren's team to Australia, Maclaren lent
courage to those afraid by saying "If we go down, at least that bugger
Barnes will go down with us."


And this was Maclaren, the captain, who had personally picked Barnes on
a hunch, not someone with a grudge against him.


But the main reason he didn't play Test cricket during the first decade
of the 20th century was that he was the victim of an extraordinary war
between The Hon. (later Lord) Martin Hawke and AC Maclaren, aided and
abetted by the monumental idiocy of Hawke, who may well be the stupidest
person ever to chair the England selectors - which is quite an accolade.


He only went on the 1901-2 tour because Hawke refused permission for
Hirst and Rhodes to go, because he felt that it would tire them out for
the 1902 season when Yorkshire would need them to defend the county
championship.


In his first two Tests, he took a five-fer and then a thirteen-fer, and
was injured in the third. He came back in the third Test in 1902 and
promptly got a six-fer. For reasons known only to Martin Hawke, he was
dropped for the next match. (It got worse. Thirteen players were
summoned to Old Trafford for the next Test. Hawke assumed that 12th man
was between his own Schofield Haigh and Fred Tate, and commanded that
Haigh be released for Yorkshire's vital match. Maclaren, furious because
he'd wanted to keep Haigh in case the pitch turned overnight, dropped
George Hirst and picked Tate instead, with fatal consequences for
England.)


After the 1902 series, AC Maclaren was sacked as captain, and since
Maclaren was the only one who had championed Barnes, and Barnes was not
playing County Championship cricket and getting anyone else on his side,
Hawke would have nothing to do with him.


Barnes wasn't playing county cricket because he wasn't prepared to put
up with the low wages for all that effort. As a professional in the
leagues, he played two one-day games every weekend, and he also played
Minor County Championship cricket for Staffordshire, two-day games in
midweek for further bunce. With bonuses for taking six wickets or
scoring 50 in the league games, Barnes could quite easily earn ten or
twelve pounds a week for four days' cricket: Lancashire could/would only
offer him about three pounds ten, ie a third of the money, for six days'
work as well as a huge amount of travelling and little help with the
expenses.


He did rather well at that level. In 1906, he set a Minor Counties
record with season figures of 373.1-100-932-119 (ave 7.83). No-one else
has beaten 105 before or since. The following season, in the North
Staffordshire League, his figures were 216.5-63-439-112 (ave 3.91). That
last represents a strike rate of 11.5, giving him a PI of about 6.4.


These performances were so outstanding that they got him back to the
notice of the selectors, and his Test career restarted in 1907-8. With
some fits and starts. He was left out for the first two tests against
Australia in 1909, because the authorities had been dim enough to make
Maclaren captain again while Hawke remained chairman of selectors, thus
guaranteeing that the side would be picked stupidly and Maclaren would
hate it. CG Macartney was not the only Australian to say later that this
selectorial idiocy, particularly with regard to Barnes, cost England the
series.


He still didn't play county championship cricket, but he became a
fixture in Gents v Players and other representative matches, so he did
play *some* f-c cricket. Enough that in 1913 (at the age of 40) and
again in 1928 (at the age of 55) he topped both the first-class and the
minor counties bowling averages, which no-one else has ever done.


Searle makes a good case that Barnes wasn't so much an awkward bugger
but imbued with the dignity of labour. This was a time when the working
class was beginning to assert itself: while Barnes was setting records
for Staffs in 1906, the courts made a landmark decision which gave trade
unions immunities which lasted for 80 years. By 1904, Barnes knew he was
very good, and he wasn't prepared to sell his skills for a pittance just
to get into the good books of men in blazers. He was a *professional*
cricketer, and played cricket on those terms. There's even a parallel
with Bradman, whose savaging of Arthur Mailey in a benefit game we
discussed not so long ago.


Barnes was bowling at Learie Constantine in a benefit game in the early
30s, and tying the swashbuckling star right down. The skipper, realising
that the crowd wanted to see Connie's big hitting, said "Chuck a few up
to him, Syd."


Barnes's response was to throw the ball to the ground, snatch his
sweater from the umpire, and, saying "I've got a reputation too, you
know," refuse to even finish the over. And obviously, at the age of 58,
he wasn't going to have it tarnished.
I got vision and the rest of the world wears bifocals.

#25 Wilfrid1

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 04:01 PM

Thank you, Adam.

he bowled leg-spin at 75mph+, as well as conventional swing, swerve and
off-cutters


Yes, that makes sense in the context of his other "stuff" (as we baseball fans call it).

Victor Trumper was his bunny - no-one else dismissed Trumper as often, and certainly not for single figures as Barnes often did.


I can remember one exchange from Arlott's interview. He asked him who was the best batsman he ever bowled to. "Victor Trumper". And who next? A pause. "No-one else ever gave me any trouble". Phew. Monstrous arrogance, were it not plainly true.

His treatment by England is extraordinary, but he is one of many fine cricketers to have been left out of the national team for bad reasons - from my cricket-watching days, I can immediately think of Boycott, Snow and Devon Malcolm. The context to his awkwardness (for any non-experts reading along) was the rigid distinction between amateurs and professionals in those days - separate entrances to the pavilion, separate dressing rooms, amateurs referred to as Mr and professionals by their surnames alone. Barnes not only took the initiative of bargaining for the wage he deserved, he also ignored those social demarcations.

He answered back.

Another good story. When Johnny Douglas, captaining England in Australia, decided to open the bowling himself along with the pace bowler Frank Foster, Barnes was left to stew down at third man. Having had no luck after a few overs, Douglas tossed the ball to Barnes and told him to take over. Barnes tossed it back. "Tha bowled wi' new ball, tha can bowl wi' bloody old one too". Insubordination with knobs on.
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***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#26 alexhills

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 11:47 AM

Maybe this now breaks the no politics rule, but you have to admire a country where the captaincy of the national team becomes a matter for parliment!!

Ganguly obviously has powerful friends... I guess not a suprise considering his background on top of 5 years or so in charge of the team. Is class still a serious issue in Indian cricket? I think it hangs in the background in England - every time a remotely decent cricketer comes out of Oxford or Cambridge, they are instantly deemed an FEC (future England captain or...) :D

The stroppyness of the demon Barnes is very refreshing to read about. Clearly earned the right to that, and alll his arrogance, many times over... Back then it seems to me the class divisions in cricket were obviously so strong that bowlers were required to be willing pit ponies or be exiled. Larwood/Jardine the most famous case of course.

I do like CLR James - I've never thought of Cardus or Arlott being so overtly sociological about the game, are there any other writers of that ilk I shoudl seek out?
He has taken up residence in the 'Grand Hotel Abyss' - a beautiful hotel, equipped with every comfort, on the edge of an abyss, of nothingness, of absurdity. And the daily contemplation of the abyss between excellent meals or artistic entertainments, can only heighten the enjoyment of the subtle comforts offered.

Lukacs on Adorno, but....

#27 mongo_jones

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 06:22 AM

for those with fast connections: kumble's 10 wicket in an innings haul against pakistan some years ago. not all of these deliveries are classics, but quite something regardless. also, you get a sense of what the atmosphere at cricket matches in india is like, especially when playing pakistan. and if you've ever wondered what michael holding sounds like, here's your chance.

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#28 Wilfrid1

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 03:35 PM

I feel out of synch with civilisation, finally watching last summer's Ashes series on DVD (yes, on a little laptop and wearing headphones, but what the hell?).

While one obviously knows the outcome, I can no longer remember the sequence of events in detail, so I still have the capacity to be surprised - for example by Ricky Ponting winning the toss and inserting the opposition on a good strip right after Glen McGrath pulled out of the second test with a foot injury. Oops. :blush:

I am watching some of these players for the first time. Pietersen and Vaughan are exciting in full flow, but their techniques look full of holes. Langer, by contrast, looks an amazingly secure player.

And Shane Warne could now be played by Dennis Quaid. :rolleyes:
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If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#29 Adam Lawrence

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 04:21 PM

Vaughan on top form (which he hasn't been for a good couple of years, since the last Oz tour I guess) is technically pretty sound, but he does try to score too quickly early in his innings. His cover drive, mind, is a thing of real beauty - classical.

KP I remain unconvinced about. The Boycottophile in me says he is too streaky and too leg-sided to be a consistent Test success. I don't see him as a Test number four, even five is hairy unless there's a grinder in the mix somewhere.
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#30 Wilfrid1

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 05:40 PM

That's the impression I got: he seems to feel pleased when he's able to score a stack of runs in two hours. It would often be preferable to score the same number of runs in four hours.
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***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.