Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/294

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There is no doubt that a cricketer, man or boy, if he wishes to qualify himself for this onerous duty, must have a love for the game and a proper feeling towards it. It is not easy to be a good umpire, and consequently it is well worth trying to become one.

No one should be chosen as an umpire who is not gifted with perfect eyesight and an accurate sense of hearing. My experience of people is, that they hear and see extraordinary things sometimes. It is to be hoped that all umpires are of a class who see and hear that which is, rather than that which is not. An umpire must also, as I have already jnentioned, be quick and prompt with his decisions. He must cultivate the faculty of grasping situations without hesitation, and the power of reviewing circumstances in the shortest possible space of time. Directly an umpire shows the slightest sign of hesitation, he is apt to lose the confidence both of the fielding side and of the batsman. While he is umpiring he should follow every ball with the closest attention, and let no detail of the game escape him. The moment he relaxes his attention and allows his thoughts to wander in vague, directions, he is sure to find himself at a loss. It so often happens that the one fateful decision of the match has to be made by an umpire who has—perhaps for one second only, and only that once during the match—allowed himself to think of something else than the game. School umpires as well as others are no longer called upon to choose the pitch upon which a match is to be played. The groundman does all this nowadays: in earlier times the umpire was responsible for the particular spot selected. Groundmen are very capable people, so there is not much fear of the wickets being wrongly pitched or the creases badly drawn. All the same, I have several times in country matches played upon wickets about 19 yards in length. The first time I did so I thought I had become an enormously strong bowler. It was no trouble at all to keep a good length or bowl yorkers. In fact, my first two overs consisted entirely of yorkers, and for the moment I could not find out the reason. Later on it became apparent enough.

In school games it is sometimes customary to run out all the hits. When, however, there are fixed boundaries, it is well for the two umpires who stand for their respective sides to decide before the game commences exactly how many runs each boundary is to count. It would also be a good thing if schoolboy umpires took the trouble to go out into the field at the proper time. Much time is frequently wasted in school games by in-