Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/111

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
89
BOWLING.

says, "A cove isn't bowling because he sends down five balls an over."

A facetious cricketer of my acquaintance divides all bowling into two kinds—that which gets wickets, and that which does not. He adds that there are many who are bowlers but do not get batsmen out, and many who are not bowlers but do. The first point is clear enough; the second requires some thought. In any case his lines of division are rather broad for our purposes. Perhaps it will be best to follow the old order and divide bowlers into classes, according as they are slow, medium, or fast, and according as they are under-arm, round-arm, or over-arm, and again, according as they are right-hand or left-hand. These divisions, though accurate enough, cross one another in every direction. So it is impossible to keep to them without falling into many intricacies and much repetition.

Slow bowlers of every description depend upon their skill in varying pace and pitch and in making the ball break. They must be very resourceful, full of tricks and devices, but at the same time extremely accurate and steady. Of all bad bowlers a bad slow bowler is the worst, because a batsman has ample time to see his deliveries and deal with them according to taste. But a good slow bowler—one who has a perfect command of the ball and knows how to apply it—has many advantages. In the first place, he can go on bowling much longer than a fast or even a medium. There is nothing in his action to tire him. He can continue changing pace and pitch without much trouble. For it must be remembered that in the case of fast and medium bowlers it requires far more exertion to bowl a ball either above or below their normal pace than it does to keep up that pace mechanically. The change to a slower ball requires a repressive effort; that to a faster naturally implies extra exertion. A slow bowler is affected in the same way, but in an infinitely less degree. Again, most slow bowlers, especially if they are what may be called natural bowlers, are aided by the fact that the flight of their balls is inclined to be deceptive. The ball hangs in the air on account of its slow pace, and thus is more liable to atmospheric effects, if the phrase may be used. For instance, if there is a wind blowing, the ball is apt to deviate in the air one way or the other from its course, and thus beat the batsman. Furthermore, slow bowlers can command variation of trajectory. They can toss the ball much higher in the air than faster bowlers without over-pitching it. There is something curiously deceptive about a high dropping ball. The exact