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.
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.