The Monotony of Modern Cricket.
A writer in * Cricket' gives the following reasons for what he calls * The Monotony of Modern Cricket,' which are reprinted for the benefit of our players : Nearly forty years ago I contended in the best matches in England, and for ten or twelve years subsequently I handled the willow and the ball. I shall therefore be accounted by the wise men of the present day as an antediluvian, who cannot know much about the game now! Nevertheless, I venture to think that the game was a better one then than it is now; and for this reason, that it was more "gloriously uncertain." Good grounds of tho billiard-table typo, and, above all, the absurd l.b. w., la w have brought about disproportionate long innings, and the destruction to a great extent of what was known in my time—the era of Mynn, Bathurst, Hillyer, and Redhate—as first-class bowling. I charge the l.b.w. law with having brought about that monotonous system of bowling which places the whole ol tho fieldsmen, with the exception perhaps of one, upon the off-side, and which, therefore, does not admit of bowling for the curling twist from the leg-side, or of wider balls on the same side from which bad hits were often made and men caught at long or short-leg or on the onside. I admit that I played myself under tho present l.b.w. law, but I think in those days a much more liberal construction was given to it. In the course of years umpires have perceived the mathematical impossibility of a man being really out when standing between the wicket for being l.b.w. from a leg-twister, and they acted accordingly. Much is it to be regretted, in my opinion, that tho wise men of the M.C.C. did not adopt the motion for an alteration, which came before them last year. Much do I hope they will sanction such a change with the least possible delay. Then, and not till then, will the monotonous character of modern bowling undergo a change for the better. The " glorious uncertainty" will return more and more. Huge century scoring will be rarer. The batsman will be better balanced by the bowler. The game will be better all round, and certainly it will be more interesting for spectators, for whom at times, oftentimes one might say, it is exceedingly tame and featureless. May I say a word about wicket-keeping—-and here I am bound to admit that the old wicket-keepers cannot compare to any advintage with the new. It is wonderful nowadays to see Sherwin, Pilling, and others handle the ball. Nevertheless, many would be glad to Bee the venerable but nearly extinct "long-stop" reinstated in his old position, and this precisely because it would mean that the monotony of modern overhand bowling on the off stump hud been relieved by the round-arm delivery which negotiates tho leg-twist, and the wicketkeeper could not calculate to a moral certainty on which side the ball will come. (This applies also to "long-leg.") One other poiut as to the monotonous arrangement, now so common, of a pide following the exact order of going in the first time in their second innings. In the good old antediluvian era to which I belong, a good captain had many a chance, and he exercised it often too, of varying his order of going in according to his requirements. Ho took the trouble of writing out a Hat for second innings as much as for the first, and Sent in his fast run-getting men (like O'Brien or Key) to force the running. How many matches have been left drawn, or lost, for want of similar methods ! The ill-luck of a first innings with nervous players has, moreover, a good deal to do with their prospects in the second, and this should be remembered. Some variation, too, is more interesting to lookers on, una fairer to the players all round.
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The Monotony of Modern Cricket., Evening Star, Issue 8028, 3 October 1889
The Monotony of Modern Cricket. Evening Star, Issue 8028, 3 October 1889
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