Looking back, this season was a successful one for me personally. Although I didn’t play in both the semi-final and the final, I at least played my part in securing the club’s first premiership for 14 years when 6th grade won by a wicket against ANU White. I initially wanted to spend my entire season in 6th Grade since I cared about enjoying my cricket, particularly when it comes to bowling. As the season went on, that all changed when opportunities in 5ths and then 4ths soon presented itself when the first-choice players weren’t available, particularly bowlers. I am just grateful that I managed to play some two day matches for the first time since my Ginninderra Debut 2 years ago. During the season, I thought it would be good to play at least one two day match mainly to see how my cricket is going and where I could possibly improve. As it turned out, I did pretty well in the two-day games this season.
At the start of the season, I wanted to achieve a double of 200 runs and 20 wickets. Unfortunately, I didn’t achieve it at all, let alone reach the double of 150 runs and 15 wickets. The biggest disappointment was the batting. I had started the season with the bat well with 67 runs from 4 innings, which included a knock of 47 against ANU White. Unfortunately, that proved to be a false dawn for me as I soon registered single-digit scores. Those 67 runs were made in 6th grade, and so these single-digit scores occurred as I went up to 5ths and then 4ths. I’m not really looking for excuses for my batting which is why I felt that it was disappointed that I couldn’t push on to at least double figures for the rest of the season has shown some promise either by playing some good shots or by occupying the crease for a brief time. It wasn’t the first time I experienced a ‘slump’ after a decent score. I suffered two such slumps exactly four seasons ago, having made scores of 37 and 39, but I was able to gradually bounce back with a decent score or two. I think the key to starting the next season well with the bat is to understand my game plan through my strengths and weaknesses and developing a mental approach at the crease to help me relax.
While my batting went backward, my bowling was pretty consistent all the way through even as I went up the grades. I managed to bowl in 11 of the 12 games I was listed for (one game was a washout), and I only went wicketless twice (those two games resulted in 11 overs for 66 runs against ANU White).
My figures in each grade were as follows:
- 6th Grade: 2/11 (5.1 overs), 0/50 (9), 1/22 (9), 3/23 (9), 0/16 (2) – 6 wickets @ 20.33
- 5th Grade: 2/18 (6), 2/36 (8), 1/13 (6) – 5 wickets @ 13.2
- 4th Grade: 2/6 (7), 1/4 (5), 2/32 (9) and 1/16 (5.4) – 6 wickets @ 9.67
Looking at it, that’s 17 wickets with an average around 14.5, which was an improvement in both aggregate and average from last season where I took 15 wickets @ 19.20. It’s hard to tell exactly why I had more success this season, but the stats show that I got better as I went up the grades. Perhaps the higher the grades I go, the more motivation I can gain since you want to do well. It also had helped for the last 2 seasons that I have been bowling to batters in the higher grades, which played a major mental part in my preparation.
Apart from all that, I managed to contribute in the field as well. I started the season with a run-out in 6ths and finished the season with 4 catches (including a catch in my final match of the season), which featured 2 caught & bowled dismissals. I think the significant difference from last season with the fielding from last season was indeed the mindset. Last season I wasn’t expecting any catches my way, and I ended up dropping all my catches, especially when the balls were hit up in the air. This season I ensured that I had a change of mindset as I was saying things like “hit it to me,” which did help.
Overall a season haul of 91 runs, 17 wickets, 4 catches, and a run-out definitely made it a good season because I contributed in all aspects of the game. If I can continue with a positive mindset, I can have a much better season.
I still believe I’m on track for the treble of 100 games, 1000 runs, and 100 wickets with the hope of achieving it within 10-15 years. However, it doesn’t seem to be necessary since the overall aim of playing grade cricket is to improve my game as a whole in an organized environment and making use of my abilities before age and reality take over. Even if I don’t get the treble within my desired timeframe, that’s not the end of the world. I do have the option of playing in my 50s and 60s like some of the existing players from the likes of Eastlake, Norths, and Queanbeyan. Even the great Dennis Keith Lillee was bowling outswingers of a long run in his 50s against the touring Pakistan side at Lilac Hill in the 1999-2000 season (where his first 6 overs yielded 3 for 8).
Having played some more two-day cricket and performed reasonably well with the ball in hand this season, the next goal is to learn how to swing the white ball, which will be a critical skill, especially on good pitches. If I can swing the white ball, then it would also help when swinging the red ball (which generally moves more laterally and frequently compared to the white). That’s my focus moving forward, and so I am targeting a place in 4th grade at least (hopefully Joe will captain again because of our mutual respect to each other). However, both Kumar and Matt Hogan positively believe that I will be playing in 3rd grade. It would be great though if it happens but if I do all the right things, who knows.