I am grateful that I had been able to meet Luke at the Southern Cricket Academy today. For the past two weeks, I have been struck down with illness with a slight upset stomach. I have been able to cope reasonably well at the gym during this time while doing strength and speed work, but my endurance training has been affected by the illness.
Regardless, I was very keen to go and meet Luke, knowing that I may not get an opportunity at all for a while to iron out any issues. Previously, I’ve been able to produce swing and bounce without hitting a consistent line and length in the recent Twenty20 match. Then I was able to hit a regular line and length, but without the swing and bounce, I craved at preseason training. So, it was necessary to see where I could improve so I can become a more potent bowler.
After the first ten minutes of our session, Luke took me over to show Southern Cricket’s 10 point bowling framework video. This framework shows the critical aspects, including run-up and load, which was critical to generating pace, bounce, and movement. I was able to understand the framework and went about refining my bowling action.
Rather than going all out, I began by running in steadily to ensure the ball come out of the hand nicely. However, Luke advised me it would be counterproductive and instead to run-in at the top effort. Maybe I was conscious of the fact that I wasn’t in good health, but I decided to try considering giving it all go I got. Perhaps the words of the former Sussex and Western Province quick Garth Le Roux (who featured in the Rebel Tours of the 80s) who said if you can bowl fast, then bowl fast would apply.
Therefore my new bowling would be as follows
- Shoulders back and start with three steps on the spot to bring my nose in front of my toes to provide the forward lean
- Begin pumping of the arms
- Before delivery, load the ball so that my elbow is at shoulder height
- Flick and kick my left leg as I set up to deliver the ball
- Deliver the ball and finish the hand across my left hip with my right knee engaged
Once I’ve attempted to run in hard and following the process, I was able to deliver the heavy ball, which is a quick delivery that swings and bounces and finishes with an active follow through consistently. The only problem I had was that I was delivering the ball from wide of the crease. So Luke created a corridor for me to run through in the hope I can get closer to the stumps, which should make the batsmen play the ball more and hopefully provide more opportunities to dismiss them in various ways. It has been an on-going problem I’ve been having for quite a while. Luke had been able to provide a temporary solution every time, but the issue tends to resurface. I have to now sort out the problem on my own at training and in matches, but I’m hopeful of resolving it as soon as I can, especially with the first game being about 2 weeks away.
Within an hour, Luke refined my action so that I become an explosive bowler capable of bowling consistent heavy balls. This would be provided I follow the processes and maintain my health and fitness. The fact I was able to bowl reasonably quick despite my illness has undoubtedly left me in no doubt that what I could achieve when I return to full health. This would be ominous signs for the whole of the 5th-grade competition if the wickets were initially bowler-friendly like they were last season.
If I become a 5th grade bully with the ball in hand, then so be it. I would have been able to bowl well in the higher grades if everything in my bowling action clicks into place, but the prospect of playing on Sundays is a concern (notably finals and 2-day matches). Playing all weekend occasionally has had a negative mental and physical effect in the past, and considering how I’m a married man, I don’t think playing all weekend is feasible anymore. Besides, the higher grades now have a priority for greater batting strength, and since I would really like to have a ball in my hand more often, playing in 5ths seems to be the right way to go.
In terms of opportunity, I’ve been able to convince JP to leave me out of the Twenty20s that will start next weekend. I’ve already played one Twenty20 and only batted for just 10 balls or so at no. 8. Now, being unavailable for the Twenty20s will give me ample time to fully recover in time for the first one day game on the 14th of October.