Preseason, September 23 2017

August 18, 2017

I intended to attend the first preseason training this weekend; however, there had been a change of plan. Instead, I will be gearing up to play an 8-a-side Twenty20 match on Sunday. I have been asked to try to come to the nets tomorrow morning. Why did I accept the offer even though the Twenty20 game wasn’t quite my cup of tea? Mainly because I have been told that match practice was essential by Chris Arcella. Based on his advice, I took it on, but it was slightly traumatic later in the night. I hadn’t touched our cage since adding a bike lock and a standard key lock as we’ve had break-ins in the past 18 months.

So I had begun my frantic search to find the code to unlock the bike lock but also the key to the other lock since I had to try and prise out my cricket bag, which also had my spikes. It was frantic because I tried everywhere to find both items with no luck. However, I was able to find the key to the secondary lock with Neethu’s help when she saw the key unknowingly stored in the cutlery drawer. But I couldn’t find the 4-digit code to open the code at that particular time. However, with help from YouTube, I have been able to work out my 4-digit code and open the bike lock. I wish I could talk about what it exactly entails, but I know that some people will have evil intentions of breaking other people’s locks.

That was a relief as I wouldn’t have been able to play this Sunday if I couldn’t get the kit out of the cage.

August 19, 2017

Nets weren’t too bad today. I didn’t bowl too badly, but I felt I was a little short given that the Crace practice nets have excellent pace and bounce, which the batsmen could stand and deliver most of the time and hit off the back-foot. As I had to leave early due to an optometrist appointment, I was grateful that Sudhir Yelamanchilli (who invited me to play) gave me a bat. I wasn’t too bad against the seamers as I was able to drive through the off-side with the occasional pull shot.

However, I was a little disappointed that despite all my work against spin-bowling with Masud in the past, I initially struggled. My attempts to come down the wicket were futile as Roopesh’s bouncing spinners have left me stranded as I tried to dominate from the outset. I realize now that I should have gone back and across unless the ball was really pitched-up and give myself enough time to gauge what they’re doing before I dominate. It will be a lesson that I will carry with me moving forward.

August 20, 2017

Nothing much to write home about. We got absolutely smashed. We couldn’t get any wickets within the 20 overs and conceded 219 runs before we were bowled out for 33 within 8 overs. I felt I had some promise at certain times of the day, but I didn’t carry on with either bat or ball. I opened the bowling and bowled 3 decent overs in which I got some out-swing and bounce. I even managed a bouncer for the first time in my first over, but it was later a misdirected one as it sailed over the batsman’s head for a wide.

I then opened the batting, and I got out in the 5th over of the innings. But by then, we lost 5 of our batsmen bowled and lbw to my recent foe, Simran Singh Gill, who got the ball to swing in prodigiously. I felt I was able to handle him, and I managed to clip a couple of balls that were off-line for two and three.

August 27, 2017

I managed to attend pre-season training in Weetangera. It was a little chilly, so the wisdom of not wearing a jumper and pants wasn’t that quite wise. Unfortunately, our coach Mick Delaney wasn’t present at training. So it was left to a couple of 1st-grade stalwarts of Rhys Healy (the vice-captain) and Luke Ryan (who will be going to Dubai for the Indoor Cricket World Cup for Australia) to run the sessions.

We started off with a light run before we moved to play cricket soccer, where we were required to throw the ball under-arm. The rules of the cricket soccer game were changed as the game carried on. Firstly we had to throw the ball which shouldn’t go above waist high, and we had to catch the ball. Then the rules were changed so that we can roll the ball or throw the ball so that the other person can catch it one-bounce. Much better than playing regular football given the number of injuries international cricketers from these kinds of warm-ups.

We then did some fielding, and although I spilled a few catches, I managed to take a diving catch and a diving stop to everyone’s enjoyment. Looking back, I missed a few catches because I wasn’t in position early and was on the move just as the ball is about to be hit. It’s resulted in me getting into wrong positions, which result in dropped catches.

Then it was time for some batting drills, which were from last season. Once again, I brought out my training bat, which I believe can help my timing since the ball will always hit the middle of the narrow blade. Indeed, driving the ball through both the on and offside gave me great pleasure because I was hitting the ball more sweetly. I had bought the bat last season in the hope it could help my batting, and it still is believed to be a good purchase at the moment.

The groups were then split into bowlers and batters. The bowlers (including myself) were going to be working with Luke in the nets on our bowling while everyone else is to continue with the batting drills. Luke got all the bowlers to bowl from a few steps and focus on hitting a good line and length, which is just outside off. I felt I was able to hit the spot very consistently, albeit without the swing and bounce that I craved. Nevertheless, I was thrilled with my efforts, which were an improvement from last weekend’s Twenty20 game.

September 23, 2017

Here I am heading off to Adelaide for the long weekend, having only had 3 days of cricket. This preseason sadly did not go to plan as I would like, but what could you do if work and family commitments come in your way. But it gave me enough time to work on my fitness, which at times was tough going with the endurance work (which is in the form of running at least repetitions of at least 500m at around 90-100% effort). I sometimes dislike doing endurance work because of the intensity, but if I am going to bat and bowl every match, then I need to be in good condition to consistently contribute.

Right now, the club is playing a warm-up match against Stockton CC in Newcastle with another game against the Monaro District Cricket Association next long weekend. The boys were supposed to travel to Yass for a warm-up against the locals there, but it was canceled at the last minute. It would think that the boys would have been disappointed.

It always helps if your coach has the right contacts to arrange these matches. Last season Mick organized a friendly against Stockton CC, and later on, all the grades were gunning for competition for finals action throughout the season. Having these practice matches helps the mental and the tactical areas of the game because, ultimately, you need to perform out on the field. Let’s hope the club has another successful season.

Away from the field, I have been reading cricketers’ autobiographies. I’ve picked up that flexibility is very important for injury prevention, and more importantly, I’ve started to visualize my batting, bowling, and fielding routines. I’m hoping to test out the visualization process before I go and play mainly with the fielding, which always has been a problem with me.

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