October 16, 2017
Once again, Vishnu asked me to reconsider my focus for the season. He believed that I was good enough to up the grades instead of kicking my heels in 6th grade. I see where he was coming from, and I understand he wants me to fulfill my potential. So I figured, while I was still young and fit, I thought, why don’t I look to knock the door down in 3rd grade at least. JP was happy when I told him of my new intentions, but given that greater emphasis is on batting, my only hope of climbing up is consistent performances and that there’s a bowler shortage. It’s a bonus if I can play higher grades, but I would be happy for now playing in the lower grades as there was no pressure.
October 17, 2017
I didn’t quite have a good day in the nets, particularly with the ball in hand. Already a little bit hampered with a slightly painful Achilles, I was further hampered with a sore knee from the gym, perhaps from doing squats. I was at times able to put the ball in the right place and, at other times, got the ball to move, but I didn’t manage to put the two and two together. I ensured that I was trying to bowl to the higher grade batsmen if I wanted to go up and had mixed success there. I bowled too wide to Michael Hogan, who played 2nd grade. Then although I had Brendan Roweth, the 1st-grade captain top-edging a short ball to the keeper, he smoked me out of the net quite frequently after that (as a matter of fact, no bowler could keep him quiet). Afterwards, I bowled better to both Daniel Leggett, who keeps in 2nds and Paras Sachdeva, who opened in 1sts.
Batting was better. I made a slight adjustment to my grip so that I could hit 360 degrees. I was by then using my newer bat, the SCC Tyrant I bought last season, which was deemed a little heavy, but since I got stronger, I could pick it up much better. I was happy how I batted. I managed to play with a full face while also opening the face at times, especially when I need to rotate the strike more often. I was hitting them a lot better than last week for sure.
October 19, 2017
I was in contemplation mode in the gym. Last weekend, I was able to get the ball to move both ways, although the ball was 10 overs old, and it certainly made the Eastlake batsmen look foolish at times. I also believed that the visualization of my own processes for both batting and bowling in the morning before helped me to focus on what exactly I need to do when I get on the field. I had been obsessed with my technique for all aspects, but I never paid much attention to the mental aspect. Reading Mark Ramprakash’s autobiography Strictly Me as well as paying attention to the lectures from Cricket Mentoring, reinforced the emphasis of mental preparation. I am still obsessed with my technique, but I’ve just incorporated the visualization tool to help me remember what exactly I should be doing and where I could correct myself if I ever go wrong. So far, it’s working. 2/11 off 5.1 overs and a run-out were pleasing, and I remember that I had a smile on my face because Archie loved it and loved having me in his side as a result.
October 20, 2017
As it appeared, I was again in 6ths. Most of the stronger players were back, so some cricketers were pushed down a grade or two to accommodate them. JP, in a group email, stated that he was in awe of our depth, and it seemed to me that the club hasn’t experienced such depth for a while. It comes to show how much effort the club has put in over the past few seasons. For me, in particular, it’s going to be tough breaking through the higher grades, but I’m happy where I am because I know I’m going to be bowling tomorrow, provided the pitch dries up.
It was raining yesterday and today, which is never a good sign if we’re going to be playing on uncovered pitches. The bright side is that we at least have a sunny day tomorrow, and there are no showers forecasted tonight. If we do get on the field tomorrow, we will likely have a delayed start with a reduced overs like we did against Queanbeyan in 5ths last season (where the matches were 37 overs a side).
October 21, 2017
Maybe not. I arrive at the ground to see the groundsman working on the pitch. It means that we will be playing a full match on time. The pitch had full-on grass except on one end, in which the grass was cut. It seemed to be good for bowling.
So we won the toss and bowled first. Dom Ross continued his excellent form by removing the openers. However, Parikh and Korber rode their luck in constructing a 100+ partnership. We learned that Parikh made 169 last weekend, which led to ANU White making 300 odd against Norths and so we had to take our chances. Parikh was hitting uppishly into gaps, and he was dropped a couple of times at least. It was the same case with Korber too.
I came on when there were about to get rolling into their partnership and fair to say I started really poorly. I was bowling wide and short at times, and basically, my first 3 overs were absolute crap. Will Thomson helped me out during my spell as he identified a lazy front arm. He also encouraged me to be tall through the crease. As a result, I bowled better. I had a few edges, and three dropped catches (in which I missed a caught and bowled chance again). Hence, I completed my worst figures to date. Nine wicketless overs for 50. Statistics do show that if I don’t take a wicket, we lose the match, and it appeared that way for the time being.
However, we fought back as Dom Tran had both batsmen stumped by Dan Stiller. Korber made 45, and Parikh made 80, and they were cruising at about 5 an over when they were dismissed. However, thanks to some tight, penetrative bowling from Sajid Khan, Dom Ross, and Will, along with some beneficial tactical suggestions from Will, ANU White only managed 9/191 from their 45 overs. Dom Ross was particularly happy that he has 10 wickets so far in the season when he finished with 4/33 from his allotted overs.
I don’t exactly know what everyone thinks of Will, but talking to him during our chase made me realize that he’s much more knowledgable in Cricket than me. His input into bowling and fielding, in particular, was excellent, and he played a significant part in our fight back. I learned that he’s played grade for 10 years since his teenage years, and all that experience came out. It does help to have a few experienced hands in your team like Will, but it may not happen all the time.
Speaking of our chase, I came in on 3/16 in the fifth over to join Dan Stiller. By then, Brandon Edgerton, Kashif Khan, and Shen Stevens were back into the sheds. Archie wanted me to show a bit of intent as we were behind the rate. That’s what I was trying to do. I blocked out the deliveries hitting the stumps and attempted to hit ones that were off-line. I edged two consecutive deliveries off Korber in which the second was a tough drop by their keeper. But I had a slightly tricky time against Connor McMaster, who was bowling fast from a short run because I couldn’t get him away. It was partly my fault as I was batting outside my crease. I returned to my crease and was able to play a few cut shots. At the other end, Dan Stiller was smoking them, and he got to fifty in no time.
We had put on 67 until I hurt my calf when coming back for two. I knew I was in slight pain until it got worse at that moment. The pain was unbearable, and hence I decided to come off. I was batting well with Dan Stiller, and I was giving him company as he’s smashing it around. By then, I had reached 12. As I realized, the momentum shifted when ANU White’s spinners came on. They took wickets and kept the rate down. Stiller made 61, but Will, Sajid, and Dom Ross perished quickly, and we were 7/129 and in deep trouble. I was immediately ready to bat but to bat out the 45 overs if need be.
Instead of bringing back their frontline bowlers, ANU White decided to give almost everyone a bowl, and both Archie and Dom Tran took advantage of such generosity to post 52 to bring us right back into the game. Archie brought up his first fifty for the club (he later made an unbeaten 57), and we needed about 14 from the last 3 overs. However, their captain Josh Butson came on and had Dom Tran caught and bowled. Dom Tran had a good game. Firstly with two wickets in a tidy spell and now 18 priceless runs with a four and a six. In scoring that 18 seemed to be the first time he passed double figures, and now it’s his highest score.
So we needed about 10 to win when I rocked up to bat. The calf was slightly better, but I had to risk the pain to bring us home. We nearly did until Archie, and I tried to run a quick single to try to tie the match, but a direct hit had me run out for 13. It wasn’t surprising that they celebrated wildly, and I was despondent in defeat, especially that they won by a single run. Still, I was touched with how they humble towards me, in particular, knowing the situation I was in. Maybe Archie could have turned me down and had a crack on the final ball, but it was worth the risk considering Will said later better to be run-out trying to get close instead of getting out on the last ball trying to tee off.
Archie, although gutted, tried to bring me back to normal. He said that both of us will one day finish a run chase. He was quite impressed with the intent I was showing and assured me of a middle-order place for now. While I remain confident against Pace like I did today, I will have to find a way to combat spin if I face them first up.
Anyways, two weeks in my role seems clear cut like it was at the start of the season. Middle Order batsman and old ball seamer. Last week it was with the ball, today it was with the bat. Hopefully, I can combine the two together. But first, I need to repair my confidence with the ball and hope my calf improves by the time we face the other ANU side.