Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/206

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stance. When a player is moving about at the time of making a stroke, his actual aim cannot be so sure as it might be. And accuracy of aim is very essential for good cutting.

After having mastered the actual strokes, the player should not be satisfied until he has gained the power of placing the ball as nearly as possible in any direction desired. It is no good cutting time after time straight at third-man's knee-cap. The point is to place the ball between the fielders. Placing, especially with regard to cuts, gets more runs than pure strength. The way to learn to place cuts is to cultivate the power of cutting any given ball a fraction of a second later or sooner as the case may require. Note that the sooner a cut is made the squarer does the ball travel.

The art of placing is now, and always has been, at a premium. There are not more than ten players in the country who pay much attention to it. The Champion made a specialty of placing. He himself attributes much of his success to the ease which assiduous practice gave him in the art. The way to acquire the art of placing is never to make a stroke without thinking where the ball is meant to go. Gradually one learns to play a ball more or less where one means to.

Let us now take the off-drive. The ball can be driven on the off anywhere from the left of the bowler to cover-point. The drive to cover-point or between point and cover is a favourite stroke with many players. Shoulders, wrists, and arm-swing all come into the stroke, though in the case of most players one of the three usually predominates. The ball to be hit in this direction must be fairly well pitched up on the oiif-side of the wicket, but need not be quite a half-volley. The left foot should be thrown well across the wicket, and the ball hit on the rise with a perpendicular bat. Great pains should, be taken to get well over the ball. Mr L. C. H. Palairet and his brother. Mr R. C. N. Palairet are adepts at this stroke. They bring about the desired result by playing a genuine forward-stroke and bringing the weight of their bodies to bear upon the ball. Barnes of Nottingham, however, used to drive the ball in the same direction principally with a flick of the wrist at the last moment. I think his stroke was rather more of a slash than a forward-stroke, but it was a drive and not a cut. One of the main things in making an off-drive in any direction is to get well to the pitch of the ball. Care should be taken that the bat should not pass the left leg when the ball is struck. If the ball is well pitched up, and is not wide