Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/74

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catches to negotiate resulting from mis-hits. Some cover-point catches that appear ridiculously easy are in reality very hard. One can sometimes hear the ball buzz with spin as it travels towards cover. Again, the ball hit in the air to him almost invariably curls a bit in the air, and is consequently hard to judge. Many a ball hit along the ground starts straight for him, but curves away towards his left and passes out of reach unless he is able to judge its probable course from experience of similar strokes. There is much to learn before the post of cover becomes a bed of roses. The attitude of cover-point should be similar to that of third-man.

The throw-in from cover is extremely important. It should be the same as that advocated for third-man, below the shoulder and full of wrist. The whole action of picking up and returning the ball should be clean, decided, and smooth, but very quick. Practice, persevering practice, in games and elsewhere, is the only means of arriving at a high standard. A fielder can be slack at cover without being found out; but it is a pitiful thing to be so, for he has the finest position in the field for fun and the best chance of serving his side well. What more can a human being desire than half a day's fielding at cover with a good bowler at each end and two fine batsmen at the wickets, when the sun is shining, the grass fresh but dry, and lunch a certainty at two o'clock?

There is no need to treat extra-cover separately. The position is a cross between cover and mid-off, and its duties are a mixture of the duties required in those two places.


Balls hit to mid-off, like those to mid-on, generally travel straight towards or past the fielder. Occasionally they bump awkwardly or twist a little, but usually the difficulty of fielding them is due to their pace. Hard hits to mid-off, especially catches on the rise, come like cannon-balls, and demand considerable pluck and coolness on the fielder's part. Mid-off's nominal position is between 25 and 30 yards from the striker's wicket. He may be nearer on a slow wicket or when a very tame batsman is in. He should always be able to prevent a single being made in his direction. He has plenty of chances of distinguishing himself, as he is directly in line of most batsmen's off-drive. When the bowler is bowling round the wicket,