Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/204

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a dangerous method, as there is a tendency to get under the ball.

The late-cut is made by putting the right foot identically in the same place as for the square-cut. But the ball is hit later—that is to say, when it has passed the batsman's body, and very often after it has passed the wicket. It is made with a quick sharp flick of the wrists. A player with weak wrists should not attempt the stroke, for it is essentially a wrist stroke. Remember that the stroke should be made at the last possible instant. There are very few players, indeed, who can cut late with anything like effect or severity. The secret of the stroke is a power to use the wrists, and every player who has much wrist-power should take a great deal of trouble to make himself master of it. One often sees the stroke made without a full use of the wrists, as is also the case with the square-cut. The Champion makes most of his cuts from his shoulders, and the way the ball travels does not leave much to be desired. But his case is exceptional; he is a genius, not an ordinary individual.

With regard to the respective values of the three kinds of cuts. The late-cut is, I think, the most telling. Of the other two, the square-cut is undoubtedly the safer, and on this account the better. The forward-cut I do not care for as a stroke, though it is very brilliant when properly executed. In making any kind of cut, the actual stroke should be more of a wrist-stroke than a push or glide. What is called slipping the ball is often mistaken for cutting. The difference is that, in slipping, the ball is allowed to hit the bat, which is put in its way with a slanting face—a most unsafe stroke. In its worst form this is commonly known nowadays as the "if-stroke." Originally it was called the "but-stroke," after its great exponent, the Sussex wicket-keeper; but some wag suggested that it should be called in preference the "if stroke," because if you hit the ball you are nearly sure to be out. In every cut the bat should hit the ball, and not the ball the bat. Though the stroke is effected almost altogether by the wrists, still, by letting the body bend from the hip so that it follows the arms and hands in the direction the ball is played, more power can be imparted to the stroke. Like all other strokes, the cut should be followed through as far as possible.

There is one other point about cutting. Accurate timing is facilitated by putting the leg across before the stroke is actually made, so that in making the stroke the player is standing firmly on both legs. Accuracy of aim is much increased by a firm