Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/65

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43
THE SLIPS.

poses the three places may be treated as identical. The qualities necessary in a slip are quickness of eye and of hand, as well as a power of catching with certainty—in short, a combination of extreme agility and sureness. He must be able to judge instantaneously the flight of the ball from the bat, and must always be on the look-out. Any lack of attention on his part is only less fatal than on the part of the wicket-keeper.

The attitude best suited to slip is a slight stoop forwards. It is good for reaching catches low down, and also for quickness of movement in all directions. The hands should be held forward ready for a catch. Slip should stand in such a manner that he can throw himself at once into any position The legs should not be too far apart, and one foot should be rather in front of the other.

The distance at which slip should stand depends upon the bowler and the state of the wicket. The slower the bowler and the slower the wicket, the nearer ought slip to be. The bowler and captain must decide upon the exact spot, and their instructions must be religiously followed by the fielder. Sometimes short-slip is put very fine, sometimes rather wider, as circumstances may require. It is most important for him not to change from his assigned position. Indeed he had better make a mark on the ground to guide him after each over.

Very many of the catches that come to the slips have to be taken with one hand. There is often no time to move into a position where two hands can be comfortably used. So slip must practise one-handed catching diligently; At the same time, two hands should be used whenever possible, as it is far safer. Among other duties, short-slip has to back up the wicket-keeper when the ball is being returned from mid-off, cover, extra-cover, or mid-on. Indeed he has to back him up whenever he can. He must also be on the look-out for running after snicks and small strokes to leg, in order to save the wicket-keeper.

The commonest faults in slips are want of alertness, Snatching at catches instead of letting them come into the hand, and standing in the wrong place. A beginner is strongly advised to watch most carefully the arrangement and behaviour of the slips in some good match. It is worth while studying the slightest alteration of position, and trying to discover the reason for it.

There is a difference of opinion as to whether a slip should stand quite still until he sees the ball come off the striker's bat,