Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/252

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by good captaincy. To a certain extent this is in accordance with facts, for bad captains are as common as good ones are rare. But there are many very fair captains who deserve much more credit than they get for conducting the affairs under their charge satisfactorily. Those who feel disappointed at not being appreciated must console themselves by remembering that ingratitude is the way of the world, and with the consciousness of having done their duty by themselves and their side. Every time they bring their ship safely to harbour they must be content with the satisfaction of having accomplished what was required of them. The troubles and anxieties of the voyage being known only to those who have suffered them, naturally do not strike others very forcibly. When all dangers are safely passed people are inclined to forget that the sea is not always smooth nor entirely free from rocks and shoals.

For obvious reasons many of the qualities most desirable in a captain are the result of experience of cricket and the world. But the possession of them depends less upon the time a man has lived and played cricket than upon how much he has observed and thought. Given two men with equal powers of observation and thought, the one who has played the longest will naturally know the most. But there are many cricketers who have grown grey in the service of the game who are astonishingly ignorant about it. For there are many people who have eyes to see and do not see Of course it is remarkably easy to criticise, and exceedingly difficult to do as well as those whom one criticises. What needs emphasising is, that more may be learnt in one match with the eyes open than in a hundred with them shut. As a matter of fact, most good captains are cricketers of some standing, but it is worth noticing that many of the very best have been comparatively young.

It would be absurd to expect a boy at school to be a really good captain, for he cannot in the nature of things have had enough experience. But no more can he be expected to be a finished batsman or bowler. Yet there is no reason why a boy should not set about acquiring such qualifications for captaincy as he can, just in the same way as he learns the art of batting and bowling; especially since many of the qualities essential for captaincy will stand him in good stead in other departments of life than the cricket-field. A school captain is generally chosen by the authorities of the school from among the elder boys. At the larger schools he is frequently the senior member of the eleven of the year before, provided he be sufficiently high in the school.