Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/92

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to ring his changes. If he were to continue pitching every ball exactly 7 yards from the wicket, the batsman would have no difficulties, for the same stroke would meet and dispose of every ball. He must try, then, to unsettle the batsman by pitching one ball at 7 yards, another at 6, another at 6½, another at 5, and so on. This variation of pitch may, and that very effectively, be combined with variation of direction One ball may be on the off-stump, another on the middle, another six inches outside the off-stump. Here the limits are the leg-stump on the one side and the batsman's reach on the other—that is, it is a mistake to bowl to leg or to bowl wides. Mutatis mutandis, these remarks apply also to medium and slow bowling. But remember that the slower the bowHng, the smaller is the space within which balls are good length. Difference of pace, however, does not affect the margin within which direction may be varied. A consummate command of both pitch and direction implies a very high degree of bowling skill.

We now come to the consideration of change of pace. This art, in its perfection, belongs only to the master-hand. It consists in diminishing or increasing the usual pace of the ball without allowing the batsman to perceive the change. The power to do this successfully is by no means easily acquired.

But first let me say a few words about delivery. By delivery is meant not only the attitude adopted by the bowler at the moment that the ball is despatched but all his action from the moment that he starts for his run. Let him take a convenient run such as he has found to be suitable to his methods. A long run seems to be the more generally successful. For as the batsman has to wait some time before the ball is actually despatched, many thoughts may pass through his mind tending to distract his attention, and his sight becomes wearied by the strain of watching. With few exceptions, the best bowlers of the present day adopt the long run, but on no account should a bowler take a run likely to tire him. His action after the start for the run up to the point of letting go the ball should be perfectly natural. It is obviously a mistake to copy the idiosyncrasies of a favourite bowler at the sacrifice of your own effectiveness. But it is worth while to observe and digest the style and methods of the great bowlers of the day, and then see how far that which in them seems to be most telling can be incorporated with your own natural style. Beware of imitating mere mannerisms that are not essential factors of success; you might just as well grow whiskers in order the better to approxi-