Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/163

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141
BOWLING.

consequently, if they were umpires, they would "no-ball" him. That is a different matter. No bowler, in the light of the Laws, has any right to regard his honour as impugned when he is "no-balled" for his action. All he has a right to think is, that his action has caused the umpire to doubt its mechanical fairness. The umpire is here not a judge of the bowler's motives or intentions, but of his own impressions.

The aim of the law is to ensure that bowlers do bowl and not throw. And its aim is good. Throwing is bad, because it is dangerous owing to the terrific pace and bumping power it makes possible, because it simplifies the act of getting batsmen out, and requires far less skill than bowling. It puts batsmen at a disadvantage, just as the use of bats a foot broad would handicap bowlers. Any one can throw with some effect; few become good bowlers. As a matter of fact, the prevalence of the evil is grossly exaggerated. There are very few bowlers whose actions are suspicious, and none that I know of who throw deliberately. The absurdity of the fuss about throwing is, that no one ever thinks of accusing slow bowling of it; yet there are, and always have been, as many slow as fast bowlers with doubtful actions. If the umpires cannot be got to act on the laws, the only way to eradicate the evil, such as it is, is for every influential cricketer to tell boys and young players directly he sees anything suspicious in their actions, and to discourage generally all doubtful deliveries. If once the right opinion could be widely established, captains would be careful not to use any bowler whose delivery could raise any doubts of any kind whatever. For some reason the Australian conscience is more tender than ours upon this question of cricket morality. This is one of the many grand examples in cricket conduct that Australia has given us, and we would do well to follow it. It would be a great pity if our laxness in any way influenced Australian cricket. In the last team that came to us—in 1896—there were two bowlers with doubtful actions, Jones and M'Kibbin. This was a pity. From an umpire's point of view their deliveries were, unfair. Neither of them threw purposely, nor even suspected others of thinking they did. But why should we alone be allowed, and allow ourselves, licence in this respect? Certainly we have no right to cast the first nor yet the thirty-first stone.

In conclusion, a few stray hints. A bowler should take care to be properly shod, and to have nails in his boots suitable to the kind of ground he has to bowl on. Small short spikes are better when the ground is hard; long ones when it is soft. It is most