Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/183

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161
POSITION.

any rate, in making any kind of drive or any kind of forwardstroke. Dr W. G. Grace is very strong on this point, and he ought to know. Apart from making strokes, if the weight of the body is kept on the right leg the batsman is prevented from a tendency to drag it over the crease. It is worth noticing that in every kind of exercise where the legs are used, the leg which it is necessary to move forward ought not to have any weight upon it at the time of bedng moved. This canon holds good, I believe, in boxing, fencing, and dancing. The theory is, that in order to preserve the balance in making a movement the weight should be on the disengaged leg. In any kind of forward-stroke or drive, the right leg is of course the disengaged leg. If a man stands with much weight on his left leg he has to transfer the weight to' his right leg before making a forward-stroke, if he is to make the stroke without overbalancing himself Clearly the time spent in transferring the weight back to the right leg is wasted. And there is not much time to waste in making a stroke at cricket. By resting principally upon the right leg a player is in no way prevented from running out. Any one who doubts this had better experiment for himself. Let him try the two positions and see which gives him the greater ease of movement. It seems to me that there can be no doubt which is the better of the two. It is a curious thing that by keeping the weight on the right leg a player can move forward more readily than from the alternative position, and yet he can move backwards if he wishes to do so without the slightest difficulty. That is to say, the position recommended facilitates forward-playing, and is no hindrance in playing back or cutting. In fact, experiment has proved to me that by standing with most of the weight upon the left leg backstrokes are actually weakened. Why this is so I cannot understand; perhaps it may be explained as follows: whether a man is playing back or forward, his stroke is strengthened if he gets into it some of the weight of his body; for in each case the ball is played away from him and in front of him. Now, the weight of the body cannot be brought to bear on the stroke unless the body moves in the direction in which the ball is going from the bat. Obviously, therefore, the weight must come from the back leg towards the front leg, and not vice versa. Notice that in making a cut, what body-work there is in the stroke comes from a stooping motion from the hips upwards—that is, from a kind of bow. So cutting does not affect the question.

In speaking of the position of the legs, I advised players not to stand too wide of the wicket. But care should be taken that