Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/208

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enough to be driven towards cover (the ball has to be nearly a foot wide on the off-side for the cover-stroke), it is a ball to drive straighten The wider the ball is on the off, the more likely is a batsman to overreach in attempting to play the stroke. The result of overreaching is to get under and to lift the ball, which is nearly sure to come to hand on the off-side. The drive to extra-cover or mid-off, or to the right of the bowler, should be made from balls that are well pitched up, but not so wide as in the case of the drive to cover-point. The straighter the ball is pitched in a line with the wicket, the straighter should be the drive, and vice versa. All genuine off-drives are played in exactly the same way, though wrist-work is not so necessary for the straighter drives. Off-drives from the left of the bowler to extra-cover depend principally for effectiveness upon the amount of "beef," as it is termed, or body-weight, which is brought to bear upon the stroke, and upon the correct timing of the ball. The arms should, of course, swing freely. The great thing to aim at in all these strokes is to get well over the ball. To ensure this the bat must be kept at the proper slant, just the same as in defensive forward-play. It is a great mistake to attempt to off-drive balls which are at all difficult to reach.

There are two strokes on the off not dealt with yet. Players who cannot make proper cuts should, I think, attempt to bring about the result of a cut by playing a stroke something between the forward-cut and the drive. The left leg should be thrown across as for the forward-cut, but the ball should be allowed to pass to the same spot as that at which it is played in the square-cut before any attempt is made to hit it. The action of the stroke is rather like that used in the off-drive. But in the case of the stroke we are now speaking off, the bat is horizontal rather than perpendicular. It is impossible to place the ball with any accuracy in making this kind of cut, because there is only one instant when the stroke can be made. Note that this stroke is different from a forward-cut. There is not much wrist-work in it, the fore-arms and shoulders being chiefly used. There is one other stroke on the off which is very useful. It is called the chop. When a short ball outside the off-stumps keeps so low that a genuine cut is out of the question, the best way to score off it is to bend the knees and come down on the ball as hard as possible with a horizontal bat. The action is, as it were, an exaggeration of a cut at a ball which keeps moderately low—that is, about half-stump high. If the stroke is well timed the ball