“But we do not judge a cricketer so much by the runs he gets as by the way he gets them”. In literature as in finance, says Washington Irving, — “much paper and much poverty may co-exist”. And in cricket, too, many runs and much dullness may be associated.
If cricket is menaced with creeping paralysis, it is because it is losing the spirit of joyous adventure and becoming a mere instrument for compiling tables of averages. There are dull, mechanical fellows who turn out runs with as little emotion as a machine turns out pins. There is no color, no enthusiasm, and no character in their play. Cricket is not an adventure to them, it is a business.
It was so with Shrewsbury. His technical perfection was astonishing; but the soul of the game was wanting in him. There was no sunshine in his play, no swift surprise or splendid unselfishness. And without these things, without gaiety, daring and the spirit of sacrifice cricket is a dead thing. Now, the Jam Sahib has the root of the matter in him. His play is as sonny as his face. He is not a miser hoarding up runs, but a millionaire spending them, with a splendid yet judicious prodigality. It is as though his pockets are bursting with runs that he wants to shower with his blessing upon the expectant multitude.
It is not difficult to believe that in his little kingdom of Nawanagar where he has the power of life and death in his hands, he is extremely popular, for it is obvious that his pleasure is in giving pleasure.