Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/292

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ever he cannot see this clearly, he should put down a little piece of paper or a small heap of sawdust to guide his eye. Remember, he is some distance off, and requires a definite object to measure by. Sometimes the umpire fails to notice when the wicket-keeper takes the ball in front of the wicket, or has some portion of his body in front of it, even though his hands are behind. By the rules an appeal for stumping should receive the answer "Not out" when any part of the wicket-keeper is in front of the stumps as the ball is taken. In this connection an amusing story is told of the discomfiture of a wicket-keeper by the decision of the umpire against him. It happened, I believe, in some game or other in Australia. The batsman had danced down the pitch and completely missed the ball. The wicket-keeper took the ball, whipped off the bails, and appealed triumphantly. But the umpire gave the man "In," on the ground that the tip of the wicket-keeper's nose had been an eighth of an inch over the wickets at the time of receiving the ball—a perfectly valid decision if the umpire's observation was accurate. A batsman is always out—that is, he should always be given out—if his foot is on the line. It is astonishing how many people are ignorant of this. The rules state that a batsman is out unless his foot is within the popping-crease. A batsman often considers himself hardly treated when given out because his foot is on the line; but of course he has only himself to blame if he does not keep some part of his boot definitely on the right side of the popping-crease.

But the most difficult point of all those which an umpire has to decide is a case of leg-before-wicket. Whenever such a case arises the umpire is in the unfortunate position of the man in Æsop's Fables who owned a donkey and could please nobody. At any rate, either the batsman or the bowler is pretty sure to be annoyed whichever way the decision goes. The batsman thinks either that the ball did not pitch straight, or if it did would not have hit the wicket. "It broke a foot, my dear sir," is quite a common remark on the batsman's part in answer to a pavilion friend's condolences. The bowler, on the other hand, does not like it if the batsman is given in, because the ball to his mind pitched on the middle stump, and, what is more, would have hit it: a ball, by the bye, which would do both is extremely uncommon. Usually bowlers are prone to draw attention to the amount of work they have put upon the ball. But in a case of leg-before-wicket they generally profess entire innocence of twist or break. The wise umpire, of course, takes no notice at all either way. He does his duty impartially and to the best of his