Just before Presentation Night, I posted in our closed group thanking the club for making my first year of grade enjoyable and had singled out both Mick Delaney, our coach, and our president Chris Griffin. I had stated that I will be back for the Tigers at least for next season and possibly beyond.
Just when I was posting this message, I also had wondered whether I could become a mentor for the younger players moving forward. When I mean mentor, I said to try to help cricketers to unlock their potential and ensure they are positive and enjoying the game. Should the opportunity come up, I would like to take players 15 years and above under my wing if they need someone. For now, though, I am quite happy with conversing with Jeet Patel, whose cricket got better only after our chance meeting during my short Adelaide trip around Australia Day. He made some runs, but more importantly, he started being positive and enjoying the game. It would be a real shame for someone who is technically very good later give up due to a lack of enjoyment. It was kind of why I wanted to take Jeet under my wing. The results slowly improved from not making any runs to nearly carrying his bat in the last game of the season. Jeet opened the batting and survived for at least 50 overs in making 19. He was ninth man out, but Hectorville was soon all out in the same over for 82. I really just hope Hectorville Cricket Club has noticed some improvement in him in the second half of this season and encourage him moving forward. On a personal level, I just hope Jeet can buy a new bat, which will undoubtedly give himself added confidence knowing he’s going to score runs with his own blade.
The feedback I got from my season review was mainly from Matty Andrews, the 3rd-grade skipper. He felt my run targets were shallow and would have thought I could score at least 200-300 runs given my abilities from what he saw in the matches. I was using maths to derive run targets as I wanted to score 1000 runs within 10-15 years of grade cricket. Maybe I am capable of achieving such goals, but then again, the opportunities need to be presented for me to take advantage of. Matty told me I can bat in the top order and still bowl, perhaps emulating Jacques Kallis and Imran Khan, who has delivered with aplomb. Even Vishnu believes I should go up the order and could do better than the incumbents.
Leading up to the Presentation Night, Griffo won the best administrator, and Luke Ryan was named in the ACT’s first grade XI following his stellar all-round performances this season. It was a remarkable season for Luke despite being injured in the second half of the season. Hopefully, he will be representing ACT in the Futures League matches alongside our incumbent representative Cameron Suidgeest. Every year, there is the Charles Wood Medal for the best 1st-grade cricketer of the season through a 3-2-1 process like the Allan Border Medal. Given Luke’s stellar season, I already believed he would be the Charles Wood medallist for this season, and although I’m not usually a gambler, I would have certainly put decent money on him.
Arriving in the Belconnen Premier Inn for the Presentation Night tonight has undoubtedly made me felt this was going to be a better presentation night than what I have experienced in my previous two cricket clubs. Upon arrival, Lawrence Atkin, the 2nd grade towering quick, was the photographer for the night and immediately took a couple of pics of me. Immediately I was around meeting the guys and girls again since the season had ended last month. Soon after 7, we were heading upstairs for the actual proceedings.
I sat next to Dinesh Chovatiya, who is considered the best finger spinner in the club. He took 8 for 52 to usher a tight outright victory against Tuggeranong Valley. It was considered the best individual figures for this season, and I had asked him about the time he was interviewed by Cricket ACT for being the ACT Premier Cricketer of the week. The interview he told me was at the Manuka Oval, and apparently, Channel Nine (WIN in NSW/ACT) was also present, and they also interviewed Dinesh. Dinesh showed me a clip which was on Channel Nine, although it didn’t have the audio. I had jokingly said to him, he’s become famous.
Apart from that, it was a good night, although it took about four and a half hours. There were a lot of awards to give out. There were awards for each of the five grades, club based awards for the best performances along, and awards like the most improved player and the rookie of the year. We also were treated to the presence of a former Ginninderra cricketer in David Dawson who previously played first-class cricket with Tasmania and New South Wales. I was contemplating asking him if he could come back to Ginninderra either as a player in a coaching capacity. However, Jak Wilcox beat me to it, and the response from David seemed favorable for the club.
More importantly, there was the Charles Wood Medal. I heard Paras Sachdeva was the recipient last year, which was remarkable as it was his first year for the club then. During one of the breaks, I said to Luke you will win, but he thought Mick may pip him for the post. As it turned out, despite his injury-ravaged second half, he won the medal. I was proven right, and it was undoubtedly due reward after being listed in the ACT 1st Grade XI not long before. I said to him on the lines of before I left home. “I told you so, I believed in you.”
Just before I finally made my way home, Andrew Loveday pulled me aside and admitted to me that I could have easily batted at number three instead of him as I had shown proper technique. He then said it would be nice if I showed intent on scoring a bit more. This was the feedback I got from Chris Arcella, given that in one day cricket, we need at least 200 on the board to give ourselves a chance to win every time. I believe it’s a confidence thing, but I just think I have to just go out and score rather than try to grab as much batting practice in the games, especially when the matches are long gone. If I had failed, I just learn from the experiences and be better for it. I don’t have to play big shots to score quickly. I just need to turn the strike over a bit more, and still, I can perhaps bat for time. For now, I should look to hone my technique further during the off-season when I can.