Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/256

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Let us, then, take a broad and typical view of what a captain has to do in order to fulfil the requirements of his position. His duties may be divided under three heads: his duty to himself, his duty to his opponents, and his duty to his own side. The first two heads do not need much elaboration. A captain's duty to himself consists mainly in being the captain, and not one of several. He may ask advice, and follow it or not, as he thinks fit. But he ought to make it clear that gratuitous advice is not wanted. It only hampers and muddles him: three men make a hash of driving if two hold one rein each and another manages the whip. Variegated suggestions coming from all quarters are as likely as anything to completely ruin all chances of victory.

As for listening to the criticisms of irresponsible spectators or pavilion cricketers, or giving a single thought to them, it is out of the question. A captain must have confidence in himself, must merit it from his side, and insist on receiving it.

With regard to his opponents. On his own ground a captain, as the highest executive officer of the club, is to a certain extent in the position of a host. He should see that the visiting side is properly treated, and their comfort consulted as far as possible. He should show a regard for them by welcoming them on their arrival, and bidding them good-bye when they go. And he should take every means in small ways to make the match as pleasant as possible for them. But, above all, he should do as he would be done by. He should remember that the liberty of his own side ends when that of the other begins. He need not abate one jot or tittle of his legal rights, but he certainly ought not to take an unfair advantage in any way. I would even go so far as to say that a captain should disclose any peculiarities of his ground that might handicap the adversaries if ignorant of them. For instance, if he knows that a heavy roller is bad for the particular wicket, he ought to tell the opposing captain his opinion on the subject, so that the latter may not act in the dark. This may be going rather far; but at any rate he should be open and above-board in all his dealings. It is a sad sight to see one captain watching another as a cat does a mouse, for fear of his being up to some trick or other. At the same time, no captain should allow himself to be put upon or humbugged. Here his duty to his own side begins; for he is, among other things, the guardian of their rights and interests.

It has already been hinted that a captain's duty towards his club depends upon what kind of club it is. It also varies somewhat according to what other officials, such as secretaries and