Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/38

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health, and ordinary gifts of eye and hand, can, if he likes, become a very useful field. By this I mean that, although he may not acquire first-class form, he may become quite good enough for all ordinary purposes. Moderate success in fielding is within almost every cricketer's grasp. This opinion is, I know, contrary to that of many authorities on the game, but it seems to me it is sound. Catching, picking up, and throwing are quite natural actions, apart from the requirements of cricket. It is difficult to believe that any one who really tries to learn how to field can fail to become at any rate "a safe field." The term signifies that the fielder may be relied upon to stop hits that come within reasonable distance of him, and to hold practically all catches—in a word, not to disgrace himself in any way. It implies also, however, a certain degree of slowness, inasmuch as the fieldsman is supposed to be wanting in that dash and brilliancy which render possible such feats as, until performed, seem absolutely impossible. The "safe" fieldsman does what can reasonably be expected of a fielder, and no more—not because he does not care to exceed that limitation, but because he cannot. Such "safe" fields can, however, be made of considerable use to a side, if they assiduously practise catching, picking up, and throwing, and, above all, during actual matches stand always on the alert. In fielding, just as much as in the other parts of the game, great success is the result of experience and practice in addition to gifts of nature. Brilliant fieldsmen are born, not made, and this in the same sense as are brilliant batsmen and bowlers. It is a case of great capacity highly cultivated. Suppleness of limb, speed of foot, and quickness of eye are trained on special lines to suit the particular end in view. The same qualities and much the same applications of them are requisite in all games of handball.

The whole art of fielding consists of three parts—ground-fielding, throwing, and catching. It is necessary to be able with the utmost certainty and rapidity to gather in the hands a ball hit along or on to the ground, and to return it equally surely and swiftly to either wicket, in order that as few runs as possible may be scored and the batsman may be run out should a chance occur. Should the ball be hit into the air without touching the ground, every imaginable attempt should be made to bring it to hand and keep it there, in order that the batsman may be caught out. Every man in the field, without exception, should be able to carry out these requirements. The methods of picking up, throwing, and catching differ slightly, according to the position