Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/24

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partaken of moderately, will not interfere with cricket; but if a player does not live carefully, he cannot hope to be consistently successful, however exceptional his keenness of sight, his suppleness of limb, and his strength of wrist. Such natural gifts soon become neutralised by self-indulgence. A man must lead a regular life, especially in the matter of sleep, in order to play cricket satisfactorily. After a late night he usually presents a poor picture in the morning. Half asleep, with a bad headache, he is much to be pitied, for he cannot do himself justice in any department of the game. In bowling he cannot find his proper pitch or length; in batting and fielding he often sees two or three balls, and invariably hits at or tries to catch the wrong one. Perhaps this is an exaggeration. An occasional departure from regular hours may not seriously interfere with your condition, but if you wish to play cricket really well, you must get into the habit of taking a due amount of rest, and be temperate in all things during the whole year.

It is very important for a man who wishes to have a good season to take regular exercise during the winter months. Boys at school and men at the university play football, racquets, fives, and other games, in that part of the year. But there are many people who play first-class cricket during the summer, but during the winter take no exercise at all worthy of the name. This is a great mistake, and leads to much bad form in the earlier part of the cricket season. Obedience to the laws of health is necessary for all athletic undertakings. Certainly no cricketer can afford to disregard them. Even in my short career I have seen many instances of decline of form simply due to careless living. I do not, of course, mean to say that cricket is the chief motive for keeping fit—to do so is a duty which every man owes to himself. But those who wish to do great things in batting or bowling must train on special lines. No one expects to run well without practising running, or to jump well without practising jumping. How then can a cricketer expect to be able to make a lot of runs, or take many wickets, without careful training in batting and bowling? The fact is, that, before the season begins, a man ought to practise regularly at batting or bowling for several weeks; for both batting and bowling call into play particular muscles which they alone can exercise. It is impossible to train for long scores in a few days. It may be years before a man can combine enough proficiency with enough strength to play a really long innings. When the season is in full swing, he probably gets sufficient exercise in actual matches. It is the