important—in fact, it is absolutely essential—that the bowler be able to grip the ground well with his foot as he delivers the ball. Unless he does so he has no purchase, no points d'appui.
It is advisable to make the fingers as pliable and muscular as possible, so that they may be able to put spin on the ball. There is much virtue in learning to bowl on either side of the wicket—that is, both round or over the wicket. First, because a change from the one to the other is almost as good as a change from one bowler to another; and secondly, because the ground is liable to become so worn that the bowler can no longer get a proper footing on the one side, whereas the ground is intact on the other.
One of the best pieces of advice that can be given to a bowler is to keep in mind always the advantage of inducing the batsman to play forward. It is impossible for forward play to be quite as safe as back play, because there must be a moment when the ball is out of sight. Part of the stroke is made on faith, and a mistake cannot be corrected in most cases. F. R. Spofforth, the great Australian bowler, believed in this theory thoroughly, and always acted in accordance with it. He attributed much of his success to this. He was a bowler who thought, and to some purpose. W. L. Murdoch has many amusing stories of how "Spoff" used to lie awake at night wrestling with bowling problems, and trying to think how best to get rid of certain batsmen.
A bowler must understand that he owes implicit obedience to his captain, under whose guidance he has voluntarily placed himself He may, in his mind, dissent from the captain's views or disapprove of his generalship, but he must not show the slightest sign of open disobedience. On the contrary, he must make the very best of things as they are. It has been proved beyond dispute that every side should be led by one man, and one man only, and that it is far better to accept without a murmur any mistakes entailed by the fallibility of one man, than to introduce any form of co-operative captaincy. The captain, of course, should consult the bowler, and do all he can to work with him. But, in any case, the bowler must take everything as done for the best.
He should take plenty of time between each ball and the next, because this affords him some rest, and enables him to keep on longer, and also because he has thus a better chance of thinking what he is going to do towards besieging the batsman's defence. On no account ought he to appeal unnecessarily. It is bad