Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/132

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explained the baseball curl scientifically, but why only certain bowlers can impart it to a cricket-ball is a problem as yet unsolved.

When a bowler has made himself thoroughly conversant with all the tricks of his trade, so that he can do almost anything he likes with the ball, he has accomplished much; but he is not yet an ideal bowler. He must put a crown upon all his art by making a complete study of batsmen. No one can do this for him. It is almost impossible to give any practical hints on the subject. If he has the intelligence to see such points as can be suggested, in all probability he is capable of working out on his own lines this and similar problems of cricket for himself, and is already beyond the stage where advice from other people is profitable. Without some power of thought it is impossible to go far in the art of bowling; and the more original, the more individual the idea, the more likely is it to bear fruit. Most cricketers know by experience when they are really being bowled at. There is a world of difference between a series of unconsidered deliveries and a systematic intelligent attack. The former makes a batsman feel at once that he has nothing to fear, that all is plain sailing; the latter unsettles him, and takes aWay the pleasant feeling of superiority that above all else gives confidence. After all, cricket is warfare in miniature. It is man against man, general against general. Between the bowler who not only is master of his art but knows how to apply it, who is thinking hard all the time he is bowling, who is trying to get the batsman out every ball he bowls, and the bowler who in a mechanical, non-thinking manner sends down ball after ball with no definite intention, and without any reference to what the wicket is and who the batsman, the difference is the same, in due proportion, as that between a Napoleon and a Xerxes. There are bowlers who, for some reason or other, seem to fascinate the batsman, and make him do what they want in spite of himself. They appear to divine what is passing in his mind, and to make him carry out not his programme but theirs. The batsman has to fight not only against the particular ball bowled, but against a mysterious unseen influence. There are "demon" bowlers in more senses than one. They are few and far between; but when they come, they win matches by their own individual might. It is hopeless to try to reproduce on paper the superhuman power of the truly great bowlers. One can appreciate but not explain. But there is no reason whatever why every one should not follow them as far as possible in practical matters. I have tried to show how necessary it is to