Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/167

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The subject to be dealt with in this chapter is the most fascinating and delightful part of cricket. No persuasion will be required on my part to induce any one who has once handled a bat to devote himself heart and soul to the art of batting. A boy or man who needs urging to take a delight in batting is hardly the kind ever to have touched the game at all.

The first thing that strikes one is, that in order to bat well a player must provide himself with a suitable instrument in the shape of a bat. It makes all the difference in the world whether he has or has not an instrument made in the proper way and of proper materials, and one which is entirely suitable for him. A cricketer cannot be too careful in this respect. Experience teaches how much advantage there is in the possession of a good bat. And it also teaches the result of using a bad or unsuitable article: such a weapon is very liable to take away completely that confidence which is a necessary condition of good batting. In the case of a gun, a horse, or a fishing-rod, the fit is the thing; and this fit is quite independent of the intrinsic merits of the article. In a similar manner the virtue of a bat is not merely absolute but relative. My first piece of advice, then, is for every player to choose a bat duly proportioned to his size and strength. In order to make a proper choice, several points must be borne in mind, the chief of which are balance and weight. The breadth of a bat and the length of its blade are prescribed by law. There is a limit laid down in each respect. The handle may be as long as an individual cares to have it. Besides weight and balance, some attention must be paid to the grain of the wood. The grain, though sometimes misleading, usually gives a very fair idea of