Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/486

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formed the South of England Eleven, some returned to the All-England Eleven. Various other elevens were started in imitation of these, but did not become so famous. It is worth while noting that, after breaking up, the elevens in re-forming paid some attention to a local basis. The All-England Eleven was latterly composed almost entirely of northern players, the South of England Eleven of southerners.

The important points about these exhibition elevens are: first, the new position professionals took; secondly, the introduction and development of spectacular cricket.

A professional in former times was entirely the servant of his dub, and in a servant's position. In the exhibition elevens he became a free member of a professional team. He was a member of a club having equal rights with the other members, and also in a way a public character, supported by and responsible to the public. These two aspects of a professional's position are worth remarking, with reference to the position of modern professionals playing for counties. A modern professional who represents his county is partly a servant of the club, partly a servant of the public, and partly a skilled labourer selling his skill in the best market. He may or he may not have a local interest in the club he represents: that is another aspect of his case.

The introduction of spectacular cricket changed the basis of county cricket considerably. For many years the exhibition elevens and the counties played side by side, but gradually the former died out, and the new elements they had introduced into the game were absorbed into county cricket. The process was gradual, but in the end complete. The old county clubs and the new ones that from time to time sprang up added the exhibition side of cricket to the old local basis. The county clubs were no longer merely glorified local clubs, but in addition business concerns. They provided popular amusement and good cricket; in fact, they became what they are now—local in name and partly local in reality, but also run upon exhibition or, as I called it, spectacular lines. The two interests join and make the, system a very strong one. Its value I have tried to prove. Its justification is the pleasure it provides for large numbers of the public. From a purely cricket point of view not much can be said against it. At any rate, it promotes skill in the game and keeps up the standard of excellence.

Such, then, are some of the aspects and tendencies of the game of cricket at the time of Queen Victoria's Diamond