Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/68

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or whether he should anticipate the flight of the ball according as it is bowled and the batsman shapes at it. Personally, I think the latter is the correct course to follow, but the question is very open. Some fielders have the knack of moving into the right position before the ball is hit, others have not. It is fatal for a fielder who cannot anticipate with some certainty to move about at slip. He is just as liable to move away from the ball as towards it. The best thing to do is to watch the ball closely all the way from the bowler's hand, and let your body and arms take up the position which instinct suggests. George Lohmann is by far the best slip I have seen. His catches are miraculous—more so than they look, for he covers such an enormous extent of ground. Tunnicliffe and Messrs A. O. Jones, J. R. Mason, and G. R. Bardswell are excellent slips. It is hardly necessary to point out the folly of letting any one who likes go to slip. The position requires certain natural qualifications. If there are good slips on a side, they should invariably be put in the slips and nowhere else. More catches go to slip than to any fielder except the wicket-keeper, so it is never safe to have a bad slip even for an over.


Another position which requires quickness and sureness in catching is that of point. The position is in some ways easy to fill. It is easy to be a respectable point. Hence the stiffest fielder on a side is usually put there. But there are great opportunities for fine fielding at point. A good point will get many wickets for his side that a bad one would never dream of The great thing is to possess an instinctive knowledge how to stand in the case of different bats, and what is most likely to happen to each ball bowled to a particular man. This knowledge is usually a gift of nature, but with close attention experience will do much to supply it. Point should study carefully the styles and habits of all batsmen. He soon begins to find out that certain batsmen play such and such a ball in one way and such and such a ball in another.

As in the case of slip, there is some diversity of opinion as to whether point should stand still and wait for events to take their course, or whether he should move about to where he thinks the ball is likely to come. It is difificult to decide, because, whereas right moving about is excellent, aimless change of position is fatal. All the really great points have been of the moving kind.