Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/42

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position of the hands is abnormal than when it conforms to what is considered correct.

One hint worth remembering in catching, and in a less degree in fielding, is, as we said before on page 17, to let the hands give as the ball enters them, so that the resistance is less. It is a mistake to hold the arms and hands stiff. It only encourages the ball to bounce out. Besides, if the ball is hit hard and meets with a pair of unrelenting hands, it usually hurts them. Some misguided fielders go one better than fixity. They seem to grab at the ball as one would catch flies, or hit at it as one would at a fives-ball. Neither of these methods is conducive to good catching. Fieldsmen should accustom themselves to catch balls, both when running and standing still, with both hands and with either. If possible, it is best to get to a catch in time, and take it standing still with both hands. But sometimes, of course, this is impossible, and a really brilliant catch may be made by a fine fielder running hard and using only one hand. Unfortunately one often sees catches attempted in this brilliant manner which ought to have been made safe in the other and safer way. Remember, there is far more merit in making a catch easy by good judgment than in bringing off a very difficult catch rendered difficult by lateness in starting.

A man can hardly be considered a really first-rate field until he can field well everywhere, except perhaps at the wicket. Most men have a favourite position in which they can do better than anywhere else. But it is a pity not to learn the requirements of all the positions. A general education is good even for a specialist. One often has to go to four or five different places in a match to save another man a long walk every change of over, or to suit the other members of the side. I do not for a moment mean to suggest that fielders should be placed indiscriminately, without any reference to their special inclinations and capabilities. Quite the contrary. The arrangement to aim at is "every man in his right place." A man may be a magnificent fielder at mid-off, but quite moderate at short-slip. Clearly, if you have on your side an equally good slip but not an equally good mid-off, it is false economy to put the brilliant mid-off at slip because he happens to be a noted fielder and because slip is a diflScult position. It is strange, but true, that the moment a wrong man is put in a wrong place, a catch goes to him and he misses it. A thorough attention to detail pays at cricket, and, besides paying, is right and proper.