Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/290

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

days. It would have saved my wicket, at any rate, upon one occasion. At the Raj Kumar College, where I was at school, some of the masters used to umpire in our games; and as there were only one or two games, we ourselves were very rarely called upon. The result was, I am afraid, that we were rather wanting in a knowledge of the rules of cricket. At any rate, we were lamentably ignorant of many minor but important details. In 1890, during my first year of cricket, I was playing a game on Parker's Piece at Cambridge. I hit a ball to leg, and a couple of runs resulted. The ball was thrown in by the fieldsman, and it hit the bowler's wicket. The ball having passed 10 yards or so away, I immediately called upon the other batsman for a run. I trotted down the wicket very slowly, and very confident of my security. Meanwhile one of the fieldsmen sent the ball to the bowler, who pulled one of the stumps out of the ground. Much to my chagrin and disappointment, the umpire, on being appealed to, unhesitatingly gave me out. The loss of my wicket was the result of an ignorance of the rules resulting from never having had to bear them in mind. My idea was that, as the bails had once been knocked off, the wicket had to be restored to its original state before it could again be broken to my disadvantage. The chance of being run out never crossed my mind.

Certainly umpiring teaches one patience—a very desirable quality in cricket. Indeed there are few things more trying to the patience than standing as umpire all the afternoon with scarcely a moment's relaxation.

Perhaps it will be well to mention a few of the difficult points which come before the umpire for immediate decision. They mostly arise with regard to catches at the wicket, cases of stumping, of leg-before-wicket, and of catches caught very close to the ground.

With regard to catches at the wicket, the umpire must be guided by two things. Sometimes circumstances prevent him from being helped in his decision by more than one. In the first place, he should notice whether there was any sound when the ball passed the bat. In the second place, he should notice whether the ball turns at all in its flight after passing the bat. In other words, he has to rely not only upon his eyesight but upon his hearing in arriving at his decision. When a catch at the wicket is appealed for, an umpire should, if possible, take into consideration both sound and sight. When he is able to do this satisfactorily, he usually has a very clear case, and no difficulty