Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/94

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style in order to gain this point is very questionable, but those who have a tendency towards such a manner of delivering the ball may safely be advised to make the most of their advantage.

There is another word to be said with regard to delivery. Every cricketer agrees that a bowler should have his hand as high as possible when he brings his arm over to deliver the ball. Have we not all heard W. G.'s reiterated exhortation to Roberts, the Gloucestershire bowler, "Keep your arm up, Fred; keep your arm up"? The reason is that, coming from a high elevation, a ball is more difficult to judge in its flight; it has more fire or "devil" in it; it is more apt to rise or bump, and spins up more quickly from the pitch. It is usually, and, I think, with reason regarded as a sign of a bowler's decline when his action becomes lower.

Again, there should be no hesitation or stopping in the run up before actually despatching the ball, otherwise the advantage of the impetus gained by the run is lost. Equally important is a smooth free action in the swing of the arm; without this there is likely to be a lack of sting. Nearly all the great bowlers, especially the fast bowlers, have had high free deliveries.

To return to change of pace. My advice to bowlers is, that in attempting to alter their pace they should take great pains to avoid altering their style or delivery. The whole object of the move is to deceive the batsman. If he has the slightest hint that something different is coming, he is on the look-out and ready to meet the trick. If he is thoroughly taken in, he will probably make the same stroke as he did to the last ball bowled him, and play too soon or too late, as the case may be. It is unwise to exaggerate the change. A very slight alteration is enough. The change of pace should in no way affect the appearance of the ball in the air. If the change is too pronounced, the batsman is almost sure to detect it. Nor should the trick be tried too often, otherwise he will be continually on the qui vive.

We will suppose now that our bowler is medium-pace, that he has acquired the art of changing his pace without altering his action or style of delivery, and that he is able also to bowl straight at will with a good length, and with variation of pitch. How ought he to apply this power of changing his pace? Sometimes he should bowl three balls of the five in an over at his normal pace, one of the five faster, and another of the five slower. Another over might consist of two medium, two slow, and one fast. It would be a good plan sometimes to bowl two or