this place or that—should be in front of the wicket. On such wickets, too, the batsman is likely to step back and pull or place to the on-side balls he would hit to the off on a fast wicket. Thus an extra mid-on or deep long-on may be more useful than extra-cover. On fast wickets mis-strokes behind the wicket are the more common, especially off fast bowlers; so the extra man may well be put as an extra-slip.
Again, the state of the wicket decides almost entirely the amount of break that can be effected by a bowler. And the amount of break and its character modify considerably the direction of strokes. If a bowler is breaking from the off, he is more easily hit towards the on-side, and strokes off him have a tendency to the on-side. It is vice versa with leg-breaks. For example, if a batsman hits at a good-length straight ball without attempting to pull or place it, it will, if hit true, go somewhere close to him along the ground or over his head. The same stroke at a ball pitching on the same spot, but breaking from the off, would probably go more in the direction of mid-on or even forward short-leg. With leg-break it would probably go towards mid-off or extra-cover. In other words, the direction of the hit is inclined to favour the direction towards which the ball is breaking. In playing back, as a batsman should do when the ball is breaking much, it is far easier for him to place off-breaks to the on-side than to the off. Mis-hits off a leg-break bowler usually go towards the off. Hence, when a bowler is breaking considerably from the off, extra-cover and extra-slip may be put at short-leg and extra-deep-mid-on. Another point to notice is, that on wet wickets the ball travels more slowly along the ground after being hit. Consequently those fielders who are meant to save one run always—such as mid-off, mid-on, cover, extra-cover, and third-man—must be nearer the wicket than when the ground is hard and dry.
It is impossible here to work out in detail all the various alterations that should be made to suit circumstances. Some of them are noticed in the chapters on Bowling and Fielding, as also are the general lines on which fields should be arranged. A captain who once recognises the theory of placing the field, and that various alterations are continually necessary to suit varying circumstances, will soon see how he can best dispose the nine men at his command—nine, because the bowler and the wicket-keeper are always fixed quantities.
There are several general pieces of advice that captains would do well to attend to.