Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/273

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251
CAPTAINCY.

on his side are batting, because it is his duty to identify himself entirely with the whole play of his side. Later on we shall see the great importance of this when his side are fielding. But the same thing holds good with regard to its batting. Besides, he cannot make any necessary alteration in the order unless he is following the game. Neither can he give that useful shout of "Steady, old chap!" which has saved so many cricketers. Again, he ought to be on the spot and well informed of matters in order to be able to give any advice that may occur to him as useful to the batsmen who go in later. Many a player has got 50 runs instead of none owing to a word of advice of this kind. In any case, it is a very usual thing for matters to go wrong directly the person in authority relaxes his attention; so the captain should be wide-awake and accessible in the pavilion or some obvious spot while his side are in.


From what has been said, some of the duties and difificulties of captaincy can be realised. I do not think that people understand what a great tribute is paid to a man by his fellow-men when among cricketers—good cricketers who know what they are talking about—he is recognised as a good captain. But as yet the most difficult, and in a way the most important, part of his duty has scarcely been more than mentioned in this chapter. That part is the leading and management of his side in the field. It is here that he has the widest scope, that his omissions and commissions tell most, and that he has the greatest influence upon his side for good or evil—as far, at any rate, as their cricket is concerned. If he fails in his general or preliminary duties to his side and his club, he is not a really good captain; but such duties may possibly be carried out by some other member of the club—perhaps by the secretary. Similarly, his social duties may be performed by proxy. If he lacks the ability or the energy to find out about wickets and attend to other details, good fortune may help matters along. With regard to the order of batting, it may arrange itself with fair results or be settled by rule of thumb. Besides, the captain can get endless advice on such points. In the actual batting, even if the captain pays no attention, things may go well; for, after all, each man has to do his own batting for himself, as an individual, and is for the time being a separate unit acting for himself—though the more each batsman realises that he is part of the side the better it is. But directly an eleven goes out to field, it becomes, as it were, an organism of which each man is a member, incapable