Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/82

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safe catcher. It is a great mistake to put unqualified men in the country—in fact, it is suicidal.

The question of picking the ball up and throwing it in has been considered earlier in this chapter. Catching in the country is rather different from catching nearer the wicket. In the latter case it is all over in a moment, and there is no time to think, except in the case of a Steepler near the wicket. In the long-field the ball comes a long way and has to be waited for. The fielder usually is in a position to receive the catch in good time, and is likely to let all sorts of matters enter his mind. These tend to make him nervous. Chief among them is the thought that the attention of the whole crowd of spectators as well as the players is centred upon him. He has plenty of time, and apparently no excuse for missing the catch. If he fails, he will not get much sympathy.

Consequently nerve plays an important part in catching in the long-field. The virtue of much practice in giving confidence has been pointed out. All kinds of catches—high, low, straight, and crooked—should be tried. A little work of this description every day is good. Care must be taken not to bruise the hands. The ball should be allowed to fall well into the hands, which should yield with the ball as the fingers close over it. It is a case of "I bend and do not break." Nearly all good longfielders take the ball, in catching, with their hands close to their bodies about chest-high. The theory is, that, thus held, the hands are most under control and the ball is nearer to the line of sight. Messrs P. Paravicini, A. S. Stoddart, J. Douglas, M. E.. Jardine, G. J. Mordaunt, Gunn, and F. Sugg of Lancashire are among the best long-fielders I have seen.

It will be gathered from these remarks that all places in the field require the cultivation of various qualities to a very high degree, principally activity, the co-operation of eye with hand, and attentiveness.

It is impossible to emphasise too strongly the necessity of learning to throw well—i.e., both strongly and accurately. It is an art much neglected in every kind of cricket. In the selection of elevens too little attention is paid to the fielding capacity of the players, and, as usual, demand has ruled supply. If committees who select do not care for fielding, players naturally do not give so much attention to it as they otherwise would.

In conclusion, pluck, perseverance, and dash, inspired by a genuine love of cricket, will soon turn a cricketer into a good