ANU White vs Ginninderra Black at Dickson, February 9 2019

February 2, 2019

New job all finalized with a starting date on the 18th of February in Adelaide,  I had to say goodbye to Ginninderra, which I did over Facebook, indicating that I much appreciated the support over the three years that allowed me to perform mostly with ball in hand. The messages from the club were incredibly supportive. Most people didn’t want me to go, but more importantly, everyone had passed on their best wishes to me and indicated that I would always be welcomed back.

The entire ACT, Premier Cricket competition, had the bye this weekend due to the test match at Manuka Oval. So instead of playing, I ended up rolling my arm over in the nets in Franklin and even bowled to Sumanth Purelli, who was having a hit with his Telugu mates. I had bowled Sumanth, a decent heavy ball that rose and hit his splice. Later on, since I was trying to pitch it on a full length, I managed to rap Sumanth on the pads. While it was indeed some positives, my run-up was a mess since I was immediately trying to sprint, which affected my rhythm and, in turn, affected my accuracy.  I had some work to do.

February 4, 2019

I had mooted the possibility of attending training today, but the chance of rain put me off. So I didn’t bother. I thought about hitting the gym instead, but by the time I left home, it was past 6.30pm and deduced that I probably wouldn’t have enough time to do my usual weight training plus stretches and be home before 8.30pm. So I instead headed for the nets, but it took me almost half an hour as I drove around the Gungahlin area for a free net for bowling practice. Having checked there initially, I ended up at Franklin nets as a last resort, and thankfully, I saw an open net. I managed to catch up with a fellow club man Simran Singh Gill (I call him Sim), who has busy coaching a girl from behind and had mentioned to him about my pursuit.

It was almost 7pm when I bowled my first ball, but unlike Saturday, I had better rhythm since I focused more on a gradual build-up of my run-up. I also made a conscious effort to pull my bowling hand to the right hip on my pre-delivery jump, which produced my desired out-swinger even when it was about a short of a length. Nevertheless, I felt I was bowling quickly.

30 balls later, I was bowling at Sim with my new ball. The next 42 balls proved to be a good contest. Even when I changed to a white ball due to the light, it didn’t really impact my effectiveness. I got the ball to move away, and since he was at times pushing the ball, I was able to beat his bat from time to time. Even though he played some excellent shots, I had him edging twice. First was my stock outswinger, which probably the few he pitched up, which would have been snaffled at second slip. The second ball was a very rare slower ball. I tried with my action, which he edged to where the keeper would have been.

At the end, when Sim called it stumps, it was 8.15pm, and both of us had mutual respect. He thought I bowled pretty well, and I thought he played some excellent shots. It was, indeed, a good contest. The fact that I still bowled a decent pace after bowling the equivalent of 12 overs was a massive tick to my endurance and my effectiveness from a long run-up in pretty warm conditions.

The progress was very positive towards my last Saturday in Ginninderra colors.

February 5, 2019

I had a chat with Luke Wimbridge over Facebook today and asked him if I pulling my bowling hand to the hip really produced the required bounce and movement. His answer was yes, but I had to rotate and drive the hand through with the drive of the right hip to generate the power. It dawned on me that my desire to be a tearaway quick was dampened by that response. Thereby, his replies meant that I should focus on improving my heavy ball that will hit the splice, and I felt better by that thinking when I immediately thought about Andy Roberts, who had a similar approach in his bowling, which made him reasonably quick during his prime. I just need to hone my run-up and focus on that heavy ball while trying to hit the right length, which would be invaluable on flat wickets.

Which is what I did after work at the Franklin nets. I managed to bowl 24 balls before the rains came, but I was able to bowl the heavy ball consistently on the same line with variable length. In the past, I would get pissed off if I’m unable to bowl my perfect ball all the time, but today I accepted that particular fact as the unpredictability of the lengths could perhaps mess up a batsman’s mind which could result in wickets.

February 6, 2019

I tried bowling again in the nets with the same action as yesterday, but I was bowling short, banging the ball halfway up the wicket. I only came to that conclusion having deliveries 36 balls. Did I know what I could fix? The answer was yes. I tried making my arms more fluid into my action, and again, I was able to bowl the heavy ball, but crucially, it was at a much better length with more outswing than earlier in the session.  Increasing the fluidity of my arms at least minimizes the stress on the back, which would have been caused by the jerkiness of the action. I’m hoping to maintain the excellent work tomorrow.

February 7, 2019

Today was the same result as yesterday. Fluid action via the arms together with a faster run-up as resulted in 30 heavy balls at a good pace. I’m learning a bit more about my action as I go along. My left (non-bowling) hand controls the line where I want to pitch the ball. The wrist on my bowling hand determines the direction of the ball movement. Perhaps while not yet confirmed, how deep I place the ball in my hand could determine the length the ball gets pitched at.

Thereby for me, it is essential to get both my left hand and my right wrist correct so that I make the batsman plays to my tunes and to give ‘em hell as long as the run-up is fast and fluid. It will be all a perfect combination. Earlier on, I felt my action wouldn’t be dissimilar to the right-handed version of Mitchell Starc, but our approaches are pretty different, and Starc’s obviously stronger and has a longer run-up.

Towards the end, though, I came off four steps and proceeded to bowl one over at a reduced pace and one over at full speed. The reason behind it is to be prepared should there be any injury or illness concern on the day, or it’s too hot to be running from my usual mark.

February 8, 2019

After a week full of practice that resulted in the equivalent of 30 overs bowled, I am ready for the final hurrah for Ginninderra, which will be my 37th game, and I need 3 more wickets to reach 50 wickets for the club. It would definitely be a great way to go, although it would be much sweeter if it materializes into a win.

I had told Adam beforehand that I am willing to go up the order to Number 3 if required, given it’s the only position I haven’t batted in for the club. It was a brave request, given my terrible past record batting in that position.

I should instead look to go out and score from ball one, and the synthetic wicket we’re playing tomorrow should allow me to do that. Of course, I need to have a good shot selection, which means defending or leaving the good balls and play shots on the slightly loose deliveries.

February 9, 2019

We are to start one hour early so that people can attend the Big Bash game at Manuka later today. I was to play my last match at Dickson as I learned that it used to be a turf ground for Northies until the Harrison turf pitches came about. I was to play my last game with Adam and Simon, and I was hoping given our combined success together this season, it would be a fitting way to finish. Thankfully, it was a perfect day for cricket also. Not too hot, thereby allowing me to run in from my increased run-up.

Adam decided to field first upon winning the toss. Langman and Lang defied us for the first 20 overs, adding just 54 on the board, although they got a bit lucky when we missed a couple of run-outs. Simon, for once this season, bowled out his allocation, conceding just 16 runs in the process. He bowled pretty well and was unfortunate to beat the bat and miss a tough caught and bowled. At the other end, Liam O’Connell and Aditya Dwivedi weren’t too bad, but they went for a few runs.

Both Adam and I came on for two overs apiece and kept it tight. My first bowl with the lengthen run-up was ok. I was at times, bowling a bit wide, but the ball was coming out quicker than before. Nevertheless, I didn’t really go for runs. I continued after drinks and broke the opening stand when I got Lang out (again for the third time this season), caught well by Aditya running in at mid-off. After that, I bowled without luck as Langman and Zahid Mumtaz held us up. Having bowled five overs for just one wicket for about 11-12 runs, Adam took me off as he needed a wicket. But his experiment with Dom Tran nearly paid off when Aditya just couldn’t get his hands to a high catch at long-on. However, Adam dismissed both batsmen in consecutive deliveries, and he immediately brought me back after Dom Tran’s three overs cost 23 runs.

The first ball of the new spell was down the leg-side, but I couldn’t believe it that Albrecht got a feather, which was well held by our young keeper Jack Stokes. That left me one wicket away from 50 wickets, but it was a bit of a wait as Ashwin Devanathan chanced his armed and whipped a few across the line. Liam came back on after Adam finished with 2/30 from his eight overs and proceeded to break the top of the off-stump when bowling Ford.

On the last ball of my spell, I got a wicket with a slower ball when Mick Burke inside-edged a slower ball onto his stumps, and finally, the 50th wicket was achieved. It was a relief to get there. My last ball for Ginninderra resulted in a wicket, and that too my 50th. I finished with 3/30 from my eight overs. So all the work with the lengthened run-up while trying to run in full tilt didn’t compromise on my performance at all. That last wicket meant this season will end with my best wicket aggregate ever as I crossed 18 wickets in eight consecutive wicket full matches (after a wicketless start in the first week of October).

The last two balls of the ANU White innings were wickets in which Dom Tran was involved. On the second last ball, he ran out Pete Foley, who was trying to get Devanathan on strike before catching the latter on the last ball of the innings off Liam’s bowling.

ANU finished with 9/162 from their 40 overs, which was a decent acceleration. Out of generosity, Dom Tran handed me the ball since I achieved my milestone, and the boys clapped me off as we head to our kitbags. We needed to chase 163 for victory, but we were confident with the likes of Mallik Prasad and Rahul Desai in our corner, especially when Rahul hit Platt for six in the first over of the chase. But our pursuit quickly unraveled.

Rahul played around an outswinger from Ganesan; Tom Gray got run-out trying to take on a quick single; Aditya tried a cut too close to his body and edged Platt to slip, and Malik edged Whittley’s outswinger to the keeper Lang. That left us 4/46, and we never recovered despite some lusty blows from Simon towards the end.

We ended up about 50 runs short, and ANU deserved the plaudits. As for me, I hung around a bit, but the increasing run-rate and little time left was the cause of my edging Burke to Lang, having made just five.

Unfortunately, like my first game, we lost comprehensively, but personally reaching the milestone was satisfying. The good thing was that people like Simon, Aditya, Umesh, and Adam wished me all the best, which meant a lot.

Despite the result, it was an outstanding stint with Ginninderra, and now new challenges await in Adelaide.

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