Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/258

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him in matches. In the first place, he is the person most directly affected by the selection; and in the second, he is in by far the best position to know what is required. Onlookers may see most of the game in one sense, but it is quite impossible for the best judge of the game to know exactly what is going on in the field unless he himself is playing. A good captain has his eyes continually open, and is in close contact with his side. He ought to know the ins and outs of matters far better than any one else, and does if he is worth his salt. What is more, he is continually on the spot; his chain of observations is unbroken: whereas an ordinary committee may be sometimes on the spot, sometimes not; and even if they see all that happens while they are on the spot, which is morally impossible from the pavilion, they only have partial data on which to form judgments. Selection committees are useful institutions, because discussion often throws new light upon things, comparisons of opinion frequently extract the truth, and in many ways several heads are better than one. But in cases where a captain has decided views, for which he can give good reasons, upon the inclusion or exclusion of a player or players from the eleven, his position should be accepted as the last word in the matter. A captain can hardly be expected to do the best for and with his side if it includes men whom he is sure ought not to be playing, while 6thers who ought are condemned to be spectators.

A captain's duties during a match may be divided into those which precede the actual commencement of the game, those which fall to him when his side is fielding, and those of which he should be mindful while his side is batting. The second division is by far the most considerable, important, and difficult. The three together, apart from the mere question of the power of leading men, which has already been touched upon, involve a complete knowledge of the game of cricket as a whole and in its parts. Perhaps the best way to deal with the subject is to take the various points in the chronological order of an actual match.

Let us, then, suppose that the eleven has been selected, and each member precisely instructed as to the time and place of the match.

It is always advisable for every one to turn up in good time before play begins, especially on the first day of a match; for nothing is more liable to upset a man and put him off his stroke than being bustled or hurried. But a captain should make a particular point of being on the ground, if he can, at least an hour before the time of starting. On the first day of a match this is