Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/271

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249
CAPTAINCY.

be put in by the other captain. Most sides remain substantially the same for several consecutive matches, at any rate in first-class cricket. So the captain soon has a stereotyped order which only needs slight modification to suit each match.

In arranging the order of the going in, the captain should be guided by a desire to make the very best use of the material at his command, with a view to getting as many runs as possible. With slight reservations it may be taken for granted that the order should represent the respective abilities of the successive players. This is the fundamental line which must be taken in arranging a batting side. The reasons for this are, that the earlier a man goes in the better does he find the wicket, and the greater chance has he of finding some one to stay with him while he makes his runs. It often happens that a good bat who goes in late is left "not out" with a moderate score, which he might have increased to any extent if some one had remained to stay in at the other end. Again, the earlier the bowling is well taken in hand, and, if possible, collared, the more likely are subsequent batsmen to realise a large total. Clearly, the better a batsman the more likely is he to effect this. Again, the bowling is sure to be stronger and fuller of sting at the commencement of an innings; hence the more skilful batsman is the better qualified to withstand it at this stage. Further, the more that runs are made early in an innings, the more will be made towards the end. As a matter of fact, the order of merit is frequently constituted the order of going in, and with good results.

But there are the reservations to be considered. A good start is so valuable, that it is advisable to choose two sound bats to go in first. The best combination is a sound steady player and a sound forcing player, whether stylist or hitter. If one of them is a left-hander so much the better, for few bowlers bowl as well to a left- as to a right-hander. A brilliant uncertain batsman had better be kept to go in second or third wicket down, unless he be. the only really good bat on the side, in which case he should go in first. After choosing the first two, the order of merit holds good. But there are still one or two points to meet—the placing of hitters, of bowlers, and fanciful players. If there are two hitters on a side, there is much to be said for sending in one first and the other sixth or seventh. They are kept apart so as not to be liable to hit against one another. The first, if he gets runs, probably upsets the bowlers and makes them good food for the succeeding batsmen. The second, by going in rather late, is doubly useful. He is in a