Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/97

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75
BOWLING.

ball. Off-break is put on by making the ball spin outwards from left to right. When a ball thus spinning meets the ground, the friction causes it to break from left to right—that is, although continuing its onward course after pitching, it changes its direction rather in favour of the outward spin. All spin is directly and ultimately produced by the friction of the ball against the fingers. But there are two kinds of break, known as "finger-break" and "action-break." The former is used by slow bowlers, the latter by fast. Medium-pace bowlers seem to employ a combination of the two. The difference is hard to explain, but any experienced bowler will recognise that it exists. A slow bowler, in putting on off-break, gives the ball a distinct twist with his fingers and wrist, using chiefly his first, second, and third fingers. But the fast bowler lets the ball fly from his hand without consciously giving it a twist; the result of his body, arm, and wrist action imparts to the ball an outward left-to-right spin. There is a certain amount of "flick" from the fingers, but this is quite different from the twist of the slow bowler. It is instructive to note that fast bowlers often strain the muscles of their backs and sides in attempting to make the ball break from the off

What I have called "action-break" is sometimes called "body-break." It is more or less natural, whereas "finger-break" is mainly artificial. The manner in which "action-break" or "body-break" is imparted to the ball seems to be of this kind. When, after a fairly long and rapid run, a fast right-hand bowler delivers the ball, he plants his left foot in front of him, and then, just as he lets go the ball, flings his body, right arm, shoulder, and leg forward, but rather across towards the left. This action gives the hand a sweep across the ball, making it spin in its flight outwards from left to right. However this may be, right-hand bowlers break naturally from left to right, left-handers from right to left. Indeed, unless the ball be very loosely held, it is practically impossible to bowl a ball which, after pitching, goes on in exactly the same straight line as that of its flight. If the ball is tightly held, "body-action" at once operates. As to "finger-break," it is fairly easily effected by slow or slow-medium bowlers. The only difficulty is to combine it with good length. A slow can obtain more break than a medium, a medium more than a fast bowler, and for this reason: the more rapid the flight of the ball, the less time is it in contact with the ground; but the longer it is in contact with the ground, the more chance has the spin of operating by means of