Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/162

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occurs to them as to whether the bowler is really bowling. The point he has to decide is not whether the ball is bowled or not, but whether he himself has or has not any doubt on the subject. He has not got to decide whether or not a bowler's action in general is or is not suspicious, but whether each particular ball is or is not so delivered that he himself is quite free from doubt about its fairness. There never was so much confusion as on this point. Nothing touches the question except the umpire's attitude of mind towards a particular ball. If an umpire cannot perceive his own attitude of mind, he is unfit to stand. Surely no one who has had it pointed out to him that there is such a thing as throwing and such a thing as bowling, can fail to know whether or not he himself is absolutely satisfied beyond any suspicion of doubt that a particular ball is fairly bowled. The curious thing is, that the very best umpire will come in to the pavilion and say, "I'm not quite sure whether So-and-so's action is quite right." If asked why he did not "no-ball" him, he answers, "I was not quite sure." He thinks he is giving a reason for not having "no-balled" him, whereas he is giving the only reason for doing so as laid down in the Laws. But there is something further. Even supposing umpires were interpreting the Laws correctly in thinking that they have not to "no-ball" a bowler until they are quite sure he is throwing, they do not do their duty. They are very disinclined to "no-ball" any bowler for what is called throwing. Most umpires have been professional players themselves, and are naturally very loath to handicap, if not ruin, a brother professional's career. To "no-ball" a professional for throwing is to take his bread from his mouth. As to amateurs, for the sake of consistency, or perhaps for fear of seeming to impugn their honour, no umpire cares to "no-ball" them. As they do not understand the rule, umpires imagine that in "no-balling" a man on account of his action they are doing tantamount to saying, "You are bowling unfairly, and you know it." As a matter of fact, to "no-ball" a man for his action merely means, "Your action raises doubt in my mind, though no doubt you are quite sure yourself that you are bowling fairly. By the Laws I have no course but to 'no-ball' you each time you bowl a ball that raises this doubt in my mind." When spectators say of a bowler, "That man ought to be 'no-balled' for throwing," they may mean two things: either that they consider the bowler is intentionally using unfair means to get wickets by wittingly throwing; or that the bowler's action raises doubt in their minds, even though the man himself may be quite sure of the fairness of his action, and