Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/275

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
253
CAPTAINCY

In the chapters on Batting, Bowling, and Fielding, these three departments of the game are considered, as far as possible, from the point of view of a cricketer separately engaged in each. Here they must be treated from another point of view—that of the captain in the field.

Now, the first point to understand is how a knowledge of batting comes into the question. A moment's thought will show that it is the key to the whole situation. Batting is the object-matter of bowling and fielding. A side bowls and fields in order to get the other side out for as few runs as possible. A side bats in order to get enough runs to win the match, which comes to very much the same thing as all the runs they can. Since, then, batting is the object of attack, it is quite clear that bowlers and fieldsmen, and above all the captain, should understand the exact nature of this object, otherwise they cannot possibly use their power to the best effect. A general may have fine artillery and soldiery at his command, but accurate shooting and splendid discipline cannot possibly be used with real effectiveness unless the object against which they are being employed is thoroughly known to him. Ignorance of it is almost sure to entail waste of power. Unless he knows the arrangement of the hostile troops and the ins and outs of their position, his shells will be dropped in the wrong place and his method of attack generally be at fault. The same applies to a captain in the cricket-field. Bowlers must be chosen and put on, fielders arranged with reference to the batsmen who are in, as well as to other considerations. There is only one way to arrive at a knowledge of batting, and that is by continual observation. The kind of knowledge required relates to how particular batsmen or kinds of batsmen play; what are their strong and weak strokes; how they score most of their runs; how they generally get out, or, what is much the, same, are likely to get out. With regard to batsmen he has seen play frequently, a captain should not have much difficulty. He should have observed their game each time for future purposes. And by continually observing particular batsmen he will soon get into the habit of classing certain kinds of players in groups, so that when unknown players have to be dealt with he can fix them in one of these classes after an over or two of observation, and can act accordingly. Though no two batsmen play identically alike, there are certain fairly well-marked classes into which they fall. There are forcing bats and defensive bats; some strong on the on-side, some on the off; some whose strength lies in their forward-play, others whose strength lies in