Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/122

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

ground, and also so that he cannot get right at the pitch and smother the ball. If he can be persuaded to hit at the rising ball—that is, a foot or so after it has pitched—a slight change of pace or length is nearly sure to bring about a catch, either owing to a high drive in the long-field, or to some species of mis-hit. A ball tossed higher than usual, but rather shorter length, is not unlikely to get him dancing down the pitch with the intention of knocking the cover off the ball, especially if he is in the habit of running out before the ball is bowled. If this ball is made to break considerably, he will be likely to miss it altogether and be stumped, or to make a mis-hit to cover-point or slip. The patient, cautious batsman who is by way of playing back to everything, is difficult to get rid of. A fast ball with no break, after two or three with break, is liable to beat him. The change must be carefully disguised. A full-pitch either on the top of the wicket or half-way up, or on the batsman's body, is by no means easy to deal with when there are two short-legs and three men on the on-side boundary. The hitter is likely to plant it lustily into deep square-leg's hands; the pokey player to make a tame stroke in the air somewhere near the wicket. There are two or three balls which the lob-bowler, as well as all others, must take care not to bowl too often, or he will hardly be worth putting on at all. Long-hops and full-pitches that drop just within easy reach of the batsman should be eschewed. The slower the ball, the more twist should be attempted, otherwise the batsman is less liable to make a mistake, and better able to correct one. Never get flurried, however fast runs are coming, and however much the batsmen seem at home. Many players have a habit of appearing particularly nonchalant and pleased with the bowling when they have the greatest possible dislike to it. So much for lobs.

Genuine round-arm, as distinguished from rather low-actioned over-arm, is almost as rare as the old-fashioned under-arm. Historically it marked the transition from the old order to the new. It forms a bridge between the days of William Clarke and those of Tom Richardson—in fact if not chronologically. The oft-told story of its origin is worth repeating, if only to emphasise one instance among the many where ladies have introduced new elements into our games. The tradition is that a Mr Willis in the year 1825 was the first to employ this method of bowling. He was an enthusiastic cricketer, evidently one of the right sort —so much so, that he was in the habit of practising all the summer on his lawn and all the winter in his barn. His sister