Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/194

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confidence against medium pace and fast bowling completely nonplussed by a slow ball. Slow bowling requires a blend of carefulness and determination. The ball must be watched very carefully, but every ball that can be punished should be punished manfully. I do not think that batsmen run out enough at slow bowling or at lobs. For some undiscovered reason, there is a floating idea that running out and rashness are synonymous. As a matter of fact, to run out is often the safest thing one can do. It makes a difficult ball into an easy one, and often enables the batsman to make a forcing-stroke along the ground instead of a risky high-drive. The man who plays cautiously is invariably regarded with reverence and favour by those who know. He is supposed to play the correct game. He often ties himself into extraordinary knots by playing what he considers a safe game, when the only safe course is to play a dashing game. There are some players who, not being quick on their feet, ought never to run out. I do not wish at all to suggest that wild hitting is advisable. Nothing is more absurd. But safe hitting is good cricket and good policy. Every one ought to find out whether or not he can play slow bowling with any success by running out; and if he can, by all means let him run out, for it is the safest game to play. A running-out stroke should be played with the same amount of care and concentration as a back-stroke. There is an air of abandon about quickfooted players which is very deceptive: they often run out to meet the ball, because they feel safer in doing so than in staying at home.

In playing fast bowling, on the other hand, the right foot should never be moved except to cut. This is the best rule for a young player to bear in mind when he meets fast bowling. Later on, when he has acquired some proficiency in back-play, he must use his discretion as to whether he plays his backstrokes standing where he is, or whether he first moves back in the direction of the wicket. Notice that by moving back close to the wicket a batsman can often turn a good-length ball into a long-hop. Let me repeat again that it is extremely bad play to move the right leg away from the wicket in the direction of square-leg: that is a most dishonourable retreat. At this point I am going to again remind the batsman to keep the left shoulder and the left elbow well forward as he plays the ball, for by so doing he gets a command over the ball and can keep it down. Fast bowling often tempts a man to slog wildly on the oif-side. This is, of course, a mistake. Fine free strokes