Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/274

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beyond a certain point of acting independently of the whole and the other parts. The captain represents the linity of this whole, and also its active principle. He bears the same relation to his side as the brain does to the body. If he is dead, the side is dead; if he works wrongly, the side works wrongly. An qrganism must have a central principle to make it efficient, and a captain ought to be this central principle to his side. When the captain is a mere figurehead, a merely nominal captain, the side works much as does an animal with most of its brain removed by a vivisectionist. When the captain is bad or inefficient, the side works like a body that is ruled by a bad or inefficient brain.

The captain creates the moral atmosphere of his side. If he is slack and indifferent, so are the other ten; if he is keen and enthusiastic, so are they. Unconsciously the side as a whole assumes the captain's attitude towards cricket and towards a particular cricket-match. So his duties in the field involve a good deal besides the actual management of bowling and arrangement of fieldsmen. If his side is to play the game in the right spirit, and in the spirit that wins matches, he must be kind, cheerful, and enthusiastic, and must always try his very best. It is impossible to give advice upon such points. The only thing is for a captain to realise what it is that is required, and to see the importance of fulfilling this to the utmost of his ability.

The practical management of a side in the field involves a knowledge of the whole game of cricket, and a power to apply this knowledge to particular circumstances. It is better to lead a side by rule of thumb than not do so at all; but this is not genuine good captaincy, for no two cricket-matches are exactly alike. Different circumstances are continually arising which should be met in different ways. A captain's knowledge of the game, to be really useful, must be pliable and capable of accommodating itself. He must be able to think as well as to know. Perhaps some of these points may be illustrated incidentally when we are discussing the practical duties of a captain in the field.

These duties may be grouped under two heads—management of bowling and arrangement of fielders. And the proper fulfilment of the duties implied in these two undertakings involves a knowledge of the whole game of cricket—that is, a knowledge of batting, bowling, and fielding, not only separately but in relation to one another. This is a large order. But unless a captain recognises the truth of it, he can never hope to become a really good one.