Long-leg is sometimes necessary nowadays in school and second-class cricket, but is practically never used in first-class matches except for leg-break or lob bowlers. Sometimes for fast bowlers a fine long-leg is placed quite on the boundary to suit snicks and byes. He should be a strong runner, and a long, accurate thrower. He will not get catches with any frequency. When he does they will be very difficult.
In the old days long-leg was a very important fielder. Now bowlers spend most of their time in trying to send down balls that cannot be hit or played to bye, so the place has lost somewhat of its former interest. When, however, an erratic bowler is on, there is always plenty of work, what with leg-hits, glances, and snicks. An experienced long-leg can tell with some certainty, by how a batsman shapes, where the ball is coming, and can start off in the right direction along the boundary-line. Wonderful tales are told of Mr G. F. Grace's fielding at long-leg to his greater brother's bowling. One can imagine W. Grace's chuckle when his brother caught out some dangerous bat high up with one hand off that enticing half-volley to leg. Remember that if a catch does come towards long-leg, the ball is nearly sure to curl more and more towards leg as it travels through the air. Long-leg should keep his eye on the bowler and captain, on the look-out for a sign to move this way or that, as indeed all fields should do from time to time.
There are two main positions in the long-field—one on the onside called long-on, and one on the off called long-off. As the duties of the two are very similar, there is no need to take them separately.
Long-on may be placed anywhere from just on the on-side of the bowler, but of course far behind him, round to nearly square-leg; and long-off may be moved round from just on the off-side of the bowler to almost behind extra-cover. When a man is put on the boundary behind extra-cover or cover, he is usually called deep-extra-cover or deep-cover.
The amount of runs that a good long-field can save is surprising. The position requires a fast runner, strong thrower, and