Compare the Drives No 6 – Left Arm Round for Yorks

The photograph of Wilfred Rhodes published the day before yesterday (above centre) and one taken a fraction of a second earlier in this action [and some years earlier in his career] (above left) show similarities with the one of Johnny Wardle (above right), another left arm spinner for Yorkshire.

Wardle could bowl chinamen and googlies and, THird Man has been told, did so to great effect in the Lancashire league, but Yorkshire and even at times England frowned on this and restricted him to bowling finger spin.

Through much of his career, Wardle was forced to play second fiddle to the ‘quicker’ and ‘flatter’ Tony Lock, not to mention the off-spins of the legendry, Jim Laker, but his Test figures of 102 wickets in 28 Tests at 20.39 apiece and his frugal run rate of 1.89 an over hint at so much more that might have been possible.  Neither Laker nor Lock had as good an average overseas as Wardle.

Wardle's flighted delivery in this photograph offers a further point of similarity with that other great Yorkshire left arm spinner Wilfred Rhodes

Here is a second photograph of Wardle (above) taken from the leg side which shows a flight path similar to that of Rhodes – plenty of air and time for drift and dip to do their work of deception on flatter wickets.  His more flighted stock deliveries may explain Wardle’s comparative advantage over Lock and Laker when overseas (34.58, 28.6 and 20.0 respectively).

Finally, it would appear that Rhodes released the ball when on his heel rathet than on the ball of his foot, but the ‘flying’ left (back) leg results from a powerful rotation of the whole body, a further signal that there would be plenty of ‘revs’ on a Rhodes delivery.  Look out for similar rotation and flying back leg when Swann bowls at Old Trafford later in the week.

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One response to “Compare the Drives No 6 – Left Arm Round for Yorks

  1. John Wardle

    Just seen this, a little late I know. Nice to hear such positive comments about my father who taught me to bowl a slow ball with a fast action. By getting thec hand in front of the ball he was able to deceive batsmen in the air. He also prided himself on being able to release the ball at many different points of his trajectory, from many different points of the crease and with the arm at different heights. Being able to bowl both wrist and finger spin, the former only when he was allowed to or when he sneaked one in without his captain knowing, at the very top level is what makes him unique in the history of the game. He is often spoken of as the best wrist spinner of his generation but look at his figures in Tests in England where he bowled almost exclusively orthodox spin and you will find that he has better figures than any sla, home or overseas, since the second world war. Only Tony Lock during his controversial 52-58 period was more successful and thereby hangs a tale.
    Best wishes
    John Wardle
    PS there are some good videos of JHW bowling on “Cape Summer” and at Lord’s against the Aussies in 53 on “The History of Cricket”.

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