Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/182

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The first point to consider in giving practical advice about batting is the position in which a player ought to stand at the wicket. It is quite impossible to lay down any fixed rules on the subject, or to give a distinct and definite answer to the question, How ought one to stand at the wicket? A player should take up the position which is most natural and convenient to him. At the same time, I think many players have somewhat spoiled their styles by assuming positions which do not fit in with the requirements of the game. It is a good thing for a boy to be shown some of the subsequent positions he will have to assume before being allowed to contract the habit of standing in some particular way. For obviously the best position to assume while waiting for the ball is that one from which the body can pass with the greatest ease into the positions required by the various strokes. The most popular way of standing, and the one most generally adopted by good players, is to place the right foot a few inches inside the popping-crease, with the left just outside it, pointing slightly in the direction of the bowler. The bat is held with the left hand gripping it at the top, and the right hand almost immediately underneath it. The bat is grounded in the block-hole, which is usually made close to the toe of the right foot. The bend of the body in standing thus should be as slight as possible. It is a mistake to stand with the legs far away from the bat in the direction of square-leg, as this not only takes the batsman away from his work, but affords the bowler an opportunity of bowling him off his legs.

But this primary position, except as far as regards the legs, is not nearly of such consequence as that assumed just at the time that the ball is delivered. Good players differ from one another greatly in what I have called the primary position. In fact, no two stand exactly alike; but nearly all of them pass from their various primary positions into a very similar attitude just before playing the ball.

There is a difference of opinion as to whether a player should stand with his weight equally distributed on both legs, or let all of it fall upon the right leg. I think the weight should be almost entirely upon the right leg. At the same time, some very fine players believe in the other method of standing. The reason why the weight should be on the right leg is, that it is the leg on which the body pivots in making nearly every stroke there is—at