Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/100

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friction against the ground. The amount of break that can be effected depends much upon how far the ground is in a state receptive of the spin—how much, that is, it allows the ball to "bite." But it is a curious fact that sometimes, when the ground is very hard and smooth, a fast bowler's "action-break" is operative, while "finger-break" is wholly ineffective. Why this should be so is a mystery to me. There must be some difference in quality between "finger-break" and "action-break."

Leg-break is artificial rather than natural, and is much more difficult to produce than off-break. Hence it is not surprising that exponents of it are rare, at least successful exponents. Whatever the reason, it is exceedingly difficult to combine leg-break with precision of length or accuracy of direction. Even the best leg-break bowlers are in the habit of sending down a considerable number of loose balls. However well they bowl, they are liable at times to unmerciful punishment. Sometimes they are extraordinarily successful. Of late years, Mr Charles Townsend has been the only bowler of this kind who has done exceptionally good work. His effectiveness makes one wonder that more do not try to follow in his footsteps. The leg-break is obtained by holding the ball with all the fingers, and at the moment of delivery turning the fingers as well as the wrist over the ball from right to left. This turn is artificial and difficult to acquire, which is probably the reason why it is so rarely combined with good length and straightness. There is no such thing as "action-break" from leg. Nothing but finger-work imparts leg-break. This is the reason why there is no fast legbreak bowling. Some fast bowlers, by holding the ball loosely, can make it swing across the wicket; but this is not leg-break; the ball merely "goes with the arm"—that is, continues the direction of its previous flight instead of breaking, however slightly, from the off.

Difficult as it is to the bowler, the leg-break, if well bowled, is very difficult to play. This is due not so much to any special devilry in the bowling as to the limitations of the batsman. It is true that some leg-break bowlers get a surprising amount of work on the ball, but that hardly affects the question, as even a moderate amount is nearly as hard to deal with. In the first place, the ball spins off the ground quite differently from the off-break. It does not come straight from the pitch at a certain angle to its previous line of flight; on the contrary, it describes a kind of curve after pitching, or, in other words, curls off the ground. While the ball is behaving thus, it is rather difficult to judge it