Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/52

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backing-up. Where possible, two or even three fielders should back up, because the one nearest the wicket may also fail to stop the ball. The knowledge that some one will be sure to back-up gives confidence both to the thrower and to the man at the wicket, and this confidence will help them to do their part better. Care must be taken not to get too close to the man you are backing-up. From ten to twelve yards away is the nearest distance that is of any use. You should be far enough away to be able to stop a wild throw, but near enough to make sure that the batsmen cannot run another run after the ball has passed the wicket.

If it be asked when it is necessary to back-up, the answer is, Always. Whenever the ball is hit on one side of the wicket, some one ought to be backing-up on the other, in order to be ready in good time. A few hints about backing-up will be given when the various positions are taken in detail. The general rule is that, whenever a throw-in is being made, the two or three fielders who are in the most convenient position to back-up should do so at once. Proper backing-up saves very many runs. Scarcely a match passes without some runs being lost for the want of it.

The value of good throwing has already been mentioned. Throwing is a gift of nature capable of improvement by practice. It is essential for every fielder to cultivate his throwing powers. Some men cannot throw far, but all can learn to throw accurately. Some are much slower in returning the ball than others, but the slowest can improve considerably by continually trying to throw more smartly. After all, it is rarely necessary to make the ball pitch more than sixty yards from you in order to get it to the wicket first bound. It is easy to practise throwing. If a stump be placed in the middle of the ground, and one man stands about sixty yards on one side and another a corresponding distance on the other, there is no difficulty in the matter. Each throws and fields in turn, and whether the throw be good or bad can easily be seen. It is most important to learn to throw without the slightest hesitation: hesitation on the part of the thrower is exactly what decides the batsmen to attempt a second run, and it is a safe run nine cases out of ten, at any rate when the ball is in the long-field. Any fumbling or mis-handling of the ball is fatal. Stopping to consider to which end to throw means a safe run. There is no harm in repeating that in throwing from the country your object should