Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/287

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A captain should always field somewhere near the wicket, otherwise he cannot possibly see how things are going. If he does not happen to be the wicket-keeper, point is an excellent place for him. He must be somewhere central.

He should never omit to alter his field every time circumstances make it advisable. If he puts off an alteration, the chance of a wicket may be lost.

He should make sure before every ball is bowled that the field is placed exactly as he requires. Slight corrections should be made every time they are required.

He should always consult his bowlers about the arrangement of the field, and, where he sees no reason to object, follow their wishes. Note, however, that there are some bowlers very good mechanically, but quite incapable of making the best disposition of their fielders.

In managing bowlers and arranging fielders he should always make them feel that everything is done for the good of the side, and not merely to please his own whims or caprice.

And finally, he should be thinking and observing from the time the first ball is bowled till the last man is out.

There is one more duty a captain is called on to fulfil. It is when occasion arises to decide at what period on the last day of a match to declare his innings at an end. Sometimes the problem is simple enough. His side may be so fortunately placed as to be perfectly safe from defeat in good time, so that he can declare early on the last day with every prospect of winning and no chance of losing. At others, he has to choose between a forward and a cautious policy. The match may be in such a state that he may win it by declaring, but cannot be sure of winning without giving the other side enough time to knock off the runs should they bat well enough. It is a difficult point to give advice upon. The choice is between the dashing and the safe game. On the whole, I think it is best to go for the gloves. Unfinished matches are an abomination. After all, if a side that has been declared against wins the match, the victory is thoroughly deserved. It is almost worth giving the other side just a chance of winning whenever it is possible to do so, purely for the sake of sport and a close finish. But in first-class matches a captain has many interests to consider, and should do nothing rashly. He ought to be able to judge pretty accurately the limit number of runs the other side can score against his bowlers under given conditions. He must take into consideration the state of the wicket, the nearness of boundaries, the quality of his bowling and