With the Christmas/New Year break approaching, it is now time to review the performances of Ginninderra, the 5th-grade side, and my own performance.
I don’t think anyone would give us a chance of competing, let alone get into finals this season in at least one of the grades. During the off-season, our current coach Mick Delaney wanted us particularly our 1st-grade side to be competitive across all formats of the game.
The Twenty20 segment of the season wasn’t successful, but at least 3rd grade got into the semi-finals because they were knocked out. Twenty20s, to be honest, is more luck than anything else. So, no-one should be critical of how it went.
The white-ball one-dayers was a big success with 1st, 3rds, and 4ths reaching the semis. This was in massive contrast with just the 2nds reaching the one-day semis last season. It is of no wonder that the club was delighted with these results regardless of how we went into the semis. 1st grade, as I was told yesterday at the Christmas Party, just snuck in with their 1 run victory over Queanbeyan. It may have gone the other way with 4 runs needed off the final over with 2 wickets in hand. Thankfully, 1st grade held their nerve.
The two-day cricket matches have started well with the top three grades with a win under their belt. The practice of batting for long periods in the nets when the policy of “If you’re out, you’re out” would have part a significant part with the batting. Particularly with 1sts and 2nds posting 300 plus against Norths recently. I wouldn’t want to forget the 1st-grade first innings victory over the cross-town rivals in Wests by 5 runs defending 208. This was because Luke Ryan bowled the team to victory despite the passing of his grandfather. This was in the Canberra Times, and it’s certainly was an inspiring story to read. I admired his courage and determination to win despite losing an extremely close member of your family. The level of support Luke was given justifies the supportive culture of the club.
So far, judging by these results, the club’s in a perfect space and Mick certainly deserves credit for what he did by starting pre-season earlier than usual and encourage each other to continually improve. I don’t know what was different because this is my first full season in Ginninderra, but I feel positive vibes immediately with the higher grade guys at training. What I know, though, is that more emphasis is being placed on reliable batsmen going up the grades, perhaps that may have triggered the improved performances.
I never expected our 5th-grade side to be among the top-four leading into the season, given that the top four grades gets first picks of the better cricketers. But that’s what happened. We’re in the top four having won 5 games, lost 4, and saw one game abandoned without a ball being bowled. It helped that the 5th-grade competition had one side per club this season as last season saw some clubs (including Ginninderra) put out at least 2 teams.
I’m happy that we’re in a reasonable space, but it could have been a lot different if Tuggeranong didn’t beat us recently. Honestly, we were complacent, and they took advantage of our complacency. At the same time, we’ve managed to compete with our fellow top four teams in Queanbeyan, Weston Creek Molonglo, and North Canberra Gungahlin, but they had pulled away with the points. Nevertheless, we will be playing these clubs at least once more in the season, and we should give ourselves a chance of winning, provided it’s a collective effort.
Our fielding continues to be a work in progress as the outcomes haven’t gone our way, but everyone is putting in the effort to improve whenever they can, including me. Nevertheless, though, our batting and bowling are coming along.
Firstly with the batting. Sandeep Kumar is undoubtedly our leading run-scorer with nearly 150 runs. He has been instrumental to our victories so far with match-winning knocks of 49 (against Eastlake), 37 (against ANU), and 34 (against Wests). Our captain, Joe Laria, also has played some crucial knocks for us with 45 not out (against Eastlake), 26 not out (against Wests), and 29 (against Tuggeranong). Not to mention his match-winning 51 not out against Weston Creek Molonglo in 4th grade to pull the team into the one-day semi-finals in which he made 14 not out. Adam O’Connor has played a couple of essential knocks in the middle order (29 against North Canberra Gungahlin and 30 not out against Weston Creek Molonglo), and Sammy Gautam has played his part with consistent, quick starts at the top of the order (23 against Eastlake, 17 against ANU, 36 against Wests and 15 against Tuggerangong) having started the season with 2 runs in 3 innings. Michael Ison has also played his part with an unbeaten 35 against Tuggeranong and then 87 against Weston Creek Molonglo. Since then, he has been playing in 3rd grade.
The bowling so far has been impressive, I believe. Joe had told me that he didn’t have any decent pace bowlers in his team, but he’ll be happy that he has an adequate supply of them this season. So far, the stand-outs have been me, Adam and Joe, with all three of us taken at least 10 wickets this season. Adam, at times, had bowled without luck, particularly in our three consecutive defeats with edges and catches not going to hand and plays and misses from the batsmen. It is to his credit that he has bowled well with 2/14 against Wests in the first game of the season; 4/26 against ANU and 3/17 against Tuggeranong.
Similarly, Joe has bowled well this season, particularly with pace whenever his back doesn’t play up. So far, we’ve encountered some roads in Forestry and Keith Tournier Oval. Still, Joe has prospered, given that he’s a hit the deck bowler, and he took 3/35 against North Canberra Gungahlin, 2/27 against Eastlake and 3/21 against Tuggeranong.
Other people have played their part in taking wickets or keeping the runs down, but us three have been the chief destroyers.
I haven’t discussed myself much in the 5th-grade review, but the focus in the upcoming review is more on my goals and performances this season.
As mentioned before, my long-term goal is to play 100 games, take 100 wickets and score 1000 runs in grade cricket by the age of 40 or so. Hence, I have about 10-15 years to achieve the three milestones. If we do the breakdown, then I need to (on average) play at 7-10 games, score 70-100 runs and take 7-10 wickets.
Let’s see how I’m progressing towards these targets:
- Play 7-10 games. Achieved (2 games in 4ths and 8 games in 5ths means 10 games so far)
- Score 70-100 runs. Not yet reached (15 runs in 4ths and 14 runs in 5ths gives 29 runs)
- Take 7-10 wickets. Achieved (1 wicket in 4ths and 12 wickets in 5ths gives 13 wickets)
So, I’ve met the target for both the games and the wickets but not the runs at this stage. I need at least 41 runs in the next 2 months after the break, but it depends whether I’ll get any batting opportunity during this time. If I do, I’ll back myself to score runs and bat time because I’m no mug with the bat.
The bowling though, it’s on another plane. Considering this is my first full season ever in grade cricket, to achieve your goal of taking 10 wickets in the season is a significant achievement. Furthermore, at this stage, I’m the leading wicket-taker for our 5th-grade side with 12 (and I would be third of the 5th-grade competition and within the top 10 wicket-takers for the club only if my five-for had been updated on MyCricket. I’m still waiting for that to happen Adam!!).
These are my performances to date:
- 1/24 (6 overs) against Western Districts & University of Canberra (won)
- 2/14 (9) against Tuggerangong (won)
- 0/32 (9) against North Canberra Gungahlin (lost)
- 1/30 (9) against Weston Creek Molonglo (lost)
- 0/23 (6) against Queanbeyan (lost)
- 1/20 (9) against Eastlake (won)
- 2/36 (7) against ANU (won)
- 5/18 (8.5) against Western Districts & University of Canberra (won)
- 1/21 (4) against Western Districts & University of Canberra (lost)
Overall I’ve taken 13 wickets @ 16.77 with Econ 3.21 and SR 31.3. So far, it’s pretty impressive figures to date. It shows that I’m a genuine wicket-taker and can keep the runs down at the same time.
However, what if I then combine my performances in wins and losses
- 11 wickets @ 10.18 with Econ 2.81 and SR 21.72 in wins
- 2 wickets @ 53 with Econ 3.79 and SR 84.00 in losses
This does imply that the success of my team depends on me to a certain extent. When we win, I’m more penetrative and can keep the runs down. However, in defeats, I have gone for a few runs and look second rate. On the other hand, though, I felt I’ve haven’t bowled too badly in these situations when you provoke plays and misses and chances that don’t go your way.
This means I should continue to hit the right areas, swing the ball and extract bounce like I’ve been doing so far. The truth behind my success this season is because of Joe, my 5th-grade captain. He’s given me the opportunities to bowl long spells as he’s seeing that I’ve been developing great rhythm in my bowling, and as a result, the rewards came. When you get such backing from your captain, it personally motivates you to perform and also lifts your team. The chairman of selectors, John Prior, deserves credit for my impression season also because he put me into a side that can get the best out of me.
Furthermore, as touched upon before, the work Luke Wimbridge and the other coaches at Southern Cricket did with me since the end of the 2012-13 season with my bowling has paid off. They’ve helped me to hone my bowling, which I later realized was beneficial to the wickets here in the ACT. The good thing is that Luke is always a Facebook message away if I need any cricket related advice.
I am also profoundly grateful for my coach in ACT, Dr. Masud Rahman. He encouraged me to believe that I was good enough for grade, and I’m happy that I followed his advice once I got sick with City & Suburban as it wasn’t that serious to my own liking. I’m made the right choice, and I’m happy that I’ve put in the hard work in the off-season with both my skills and fitness, which has played a significant part in my success to date.
So far this season, I’ve bowled with both the new and old ball using both the red and white ball. I’ve managed to swing the ball every game I’ve played. Sometimes a little bit, sometimes a lot. The last game I’ve played, the 4th-grade one-day semi-final, I’ve also learned the art of reverse-swing while bowling with a 30 over old white ball. These are the skills that have helped me take wickets.
I remembered at the Christmas Party last night that Mick has asked us to think about how we can get better. Right now, it will be my catching because I’ve dropped every single chance that has come my way. I’m still working on it, and I hope to keep working on it with encouragement from the club. Given that I’ve recently suffered a bruised left shin, I would like to refine my ground fielding techniques without experiencing similar pain again for a while.
On the bowling front, I would like to hone my in-swinger without compromising my natural out-swing. Furthermore, I would like to practice reverse-swing with an old red ball which will be beneficial in 2-day cricket or in the latter stages of a one day match.
With no cricket, for now, I should look to work on my strength and power at the gym and possibly catch up with Luke while I’m in Perth.
So far, a good season considering it’s my first ever season in grade cricket. More to come, but I should aim to take more wickets and enjoy the pleasant moments with the ball while it lasts.