October 2, 2018
Cricket season was really ‘round the corner, especially when JP started asking for availabilities. JP regained the central selector role having taken a break from it in the middle of last season when he stood down to look after his knee. Having made myself available, I quizzed him further about the existence of a 5th-grade side this season. He had summed it up that things have been a little disorganized and that the 5th-grade season will commence only next week, so it meant that we will have at least one 5th grade side this season (although Archie told me there could be two). Immediately alarm bells started to ring in my head because I knew that I will be away for the next 1-2 weeks after this Saturday. So I told JP, because of my unavailability soon after, I would really like to play although I did tell him some time ago that I would play anywhere as long as I am treated as a serious bowling option. I know to some it might sound selfish, but I love having the ball in my hand, and that’s usually when I enjoy my cricket.
Perhaps I might be going a little cold going into the season with no practice, but the truth is that everyone except the eleven guys who played against Wests yesterday maybe going without touching a bat or ball this week. In saying so, the fact that most of us attended pre-season training probably should hold us in good stead.
Going in slightly cold may not be a wise idea, particularly against Queanbeyan, who is one of the best clubs going around in the competition, and to top it off, my stats against them aren’t that flash at all. In four games (across a 2-day match and 3 one day matches), I average 15 with the bat but 35.50 with the ball, although my last two outings against them were pretty promising (1/19 off 8 overs and 1/13 off 6). However, having worked on my bowling previous month alone with some help from Luke Wimbridge via Facebook, I have some confidence leading into the season opener (as long as I get picked). During this time, I at least sussed out my own bowling dynamics, having viewed past footage of my bowling together with the advice I received from Luke in the past. Although I haven’t really bowled much of late, I am still confident leading into the weekend.
It will be helpful to get some bowling though if I am to play, but the next two days are indeed going to rain.
October 5, 2018
Yesterday evening I was resigned to the fact that I may not be able to play this weekend with the possibility of starting my season late this month as I’ll be away after this weekend. So I messaged Peely, the 4th-grade captain and wished him well for his captaincy debut but then, he replied back that I was picked in his team and also learned that due to the sunset still being around 6pm, the match will start at 12pm (not 1pm). From what I am aware, it will also be a 40 over match instead of 45 overs. I can only speculate that because in lower grades, there’s the tendency to leak more extras (particularly wides), which means that extra deliveries need to be re-bowled; hence matches finish later than scheduled. With the early start and the change of overs, Peely wants us to arrive by 11am so that we can do some warm-ups before the match. I told him I hope I get the opportunity to bowl and will want to give it my all since I’ll be away, which seemed to impress him. So far, a good start in getting into his good books but hope he can give me the ball, though.
I managed to get some bowling done after work today. Across the 7 overs I bowled today, my pace was up, and I got the ball to swing away from the right-hander, but I did have a tendency to drop short. Immediately it got me thinking that I should have some protection on the leg-side. Especially a deep fine-leg and deep midwicket just in case I spray the ball leg.
October 6, 2018
I arrived almost at 10.40am this morning since all of us had to come at 11am so we can do warm-ups. The wicket looked green, but it was grass clippings, and the wicket might deteriorate over time, according to Peely. Once we all got changed in our one-day strip (black with yellow), Peely took us through warm-ups before finishing up with a series of stretches before we practiced some catching. He later won the toss and chose to bat.
Before a ball was bowled, it appeared that Chakra Ravinuthala (our club secretary as well) only had walked out with one pad. Queanbeyan team recognized it, and we all had a laugh too. That was the highlight of the day before Queanbeyan started to strangle us again.
Brenton Furze chipped a catch to mid-off; Aditya Dwivedi ran himself out, thinking there was a single before Chakra was adjudged LBW when the ball hit his back-leg. We were 3 for 14 in the 10th, but Harry Chittick, our top scorer from the Tuggeranong game last season, steadied us with 21 and had support from Chakra’s son Kris and Peely. Once again, Queanbeyan wasn’t to be denied; they bowled us out in the 39th over for 114. The lower order, including myself, had to go for it, and we got bowled out in trying to hit out.
Sporting my new black colored Gray-Nicolls pads, I came in the 36th over with Peely still at the crease. At that time, I had to get him on strike since he was smoking them. I got off the mark against Kyle Ditton. I just played a forward defense, and despite a mid-way stutter, I made it for a quick single to get off the mark. It was almost suicide, but my quickness got me through. Facing Will Graham the next over, I played a forward defense on the first, a back-foot punch to cover on the second before edging the next delivery as I was a bit lazy getting forward. It went through the vacant slip cordon (as the field had spread) for three. That was the last ball I faced since Peely, Jared Mathie, and Aiden Gunning all fell trying to score. I finished with four not out off four balls. First time I reached a 100% strike rate ever in official cricket.
So we had to defend 114 in 40 overs. Peely’s team talk was positive. The wicket wasn’t going to get any better, and he thought we might have a chance if we bowl full and straight. Initially, he was to open the bowling with Jared, but instead, he promoted me to open as he felt the pitch wasn’t suitable to his bowling style. It was good to get the opportunity to bowl with the white ball and that too being a brand new one as well. Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite hit my lengths. I mostly bowled too short, but at the same time, I suffered an attack of cramps across both calves from my second over onwards. It was disappointing to finish after a maiden over, but having batted and immediately went to bowling at full tilt caused the cramp. In hindsight, a combination of lack of pre and during game hydration together with the unexpected opportunity were the reasons behind it. Once I came off the field and consumed water, I felt better when I went on the field after drinks as I was able to run almost at full pace when chasing the ball.
Despite all of this, I managed to swing the white ball both ways and troubled their openers with short deliveries. Their left-handed opener, in particular, copped a short-ball from round the wicket and nearly chopped it onto the stumps, which showed I had a bit of pace, but these short balls were accidental.
I was soon replaced by debutant Pravin Bhatt (who I think is a doppelganger for Bollywood actor Ali Fazal). He took a bit of stick, but he bowled unchanged for a full eight over spell and took three wickets. One bowled, another lbw, and another caught by Ben Peel at slip. An impressive start and he might be in at least 4ths for some time this season. His efforts, as well as two early wickets to Jared, kept us in the game at drinks at 5 for 79, but it wasn’t to be. Queanbeyan’s sixth-wicket stand guided them home by the 29th over. They’re on the board with a five-wicket win. They kept us down to a below-par total and chased it down a sentiment shared by Peely as he appreciated the bowler’s efforts and signaled out both Pravin and Jared.
A disappointing start to both the club and myself, but I gained the ability to bowl bouncers and swing the new white ball both ways. I also realized that I need to monitor my hydration levels, which can help my performance to the full tilt with minimal cramping. Furthermore, as I will not be playing next weekend, I have some time at least to work on my running technique and all my skills during practice, particularly trying to get the ball on a decent length.