October 25, 2021
Last night, that dropped catch continued to weigh on me heavily which was clear that I do not possess the mental strength to cope in a competitive grade. I was hopeful that all my previous experience in tough competition could have helped me in great stead. But now, my own sensitive personality has now started overcoming me. Which explained why I am unable to move on. Thereby, I messaged Suresh Wadala, our club manager that I sadly do not have the stomach for the battle and am considering withdrawing myself from selections for the season. Instead, I took his offer of playing in the LO4s. Afterward, I had apologized for letting him and the team down despite their efforts to accommodate me into the team. I hope though that over time Mandeep and Vikram would similarly respect my wishes. If I do encounter them, I will have to apologize for letting them down as well even after providing me with initial support. Had I stayed and continued this mental struggle, I might have cost the team an opportunity for finals which would have destroyed me.
Now, having made the switch, that weight soon came off my slight frame (as I write, I weigh around 78kg having been 87kg halfway through the winter). Rumit was happy to hear of my decision as he thought that I might be able to fulfill the role as an opening bowler following their defeat to Walkerville in a high-scoring encounter despite yet another brilliant hundred by Boree Kieng. I had advised captain Krunal Patel (KP) of my decision although I was only to be available next weekend as I will need to set up the house for Diwali. After what I had gone through, a break away from the club will do me a lot of good. That opening bowler position isn’t guaranteed but I hope I can rediscover my enjoyment for the game.
November 6, 2021
In the lead-up to today, I had decided to return back to the action that I bowled with on my very first training session of the season which lead to my moniker, the ‘Rohitpindi express’. It is based on the nickname given to former Pakistan tearaway, Shoaib Akthar who was well known as the ‘Rawalpindi express’. Back in 2015-16, I was known as the ‘Rohit express’ when I showed off bowling quick in the nets but it all fizzled out. I made that decision based on the fact that I had been able to get my outswinger going at a zippy pace. The only concern was that I didn’t get my inswinger going at all, which I hope will be a work in progress moving forward.
I had to scramble to get to the ground having attended the Diwali function in the morning. Having been given the hurry-up, I’d assumed that we were bowling first. It started to rain when I arrived at the ground and so having arrived, I was out to help put the cover on the pitch. As a result, we started 30 minutes later which meant that we can play a full match until 7pm. That was probably the actual reason why I got the hurry up, as we were batting first.
The initial overs were very challenging for Boree and Pinkesh Modi on a sticky wicket. Although Pinkesh fell having battled for a few overs with a broken finger, batting got easier. Boree to his credit survived the initial tricky period and later flourished. He raised his second hundred of the season, making 122 at better than a run-a-ball. But he had help. Amrish Patel made 16 in a 46-run stand and Ravish Modi made 43 in a century stand. These contributions set up a massive flourish from our middle order led by our captain Krunal Patel who made 30 off 19 balls, enabling us to post 8/267 from our 40 overs. Surely, the game was going to be in the bag.
But Kilburn through their openers, Ahmed and Shafa were off to a flyer against the bowling of Boree and Imran Soni. I had spilled a hot chance off Boree’s bowling which could have dismissed Ahmed. In hindsight, I should have taken the chance with two hands instead of one. After seven overs, I was given an opportunity to bowl. KP asked if I was ok bowling into the wind. I had replied that I had been bowling into the wind in the past. In my mind, I had done an adequate job bowling into the wind especially with Maxy Clarke going great guns in C1 with the ball back in 2019-20. My first ball was hit for a boundary, but I took a wicket. Ahmed tried to cut me but the edge went to Boree. In fact, my first two overs went for just seven runs. But then Ali Khan really tore into my bowling. He came down the wicket and walked across his crease but all I could offer was the same line and length although I had varied my pace. He still hit me for boundaries. Thinking about it, I could have used my crease to vary my angles. The actual truth was that I couldn’t swing the ball which would have been due to my load-up position. Later in the night, KP challenged me to observe and outthink a batter moving forward as he views me as a key bowler.
That start helped Ali Khan get set as he took down whatever was served at him. Most of the time, it went for a six. It felt that while he was still in, Kilburn could win the game. But Amit Patel struck as Ali Khan mishit a slog which was well caught on the boundary by Amrish. Ali Khan smoked 109 off 65 balls. An innings that wouldn’t be out of place in a Twenty20 match. Nevertheless, his wicket turned the game extraordinarily in our favor. Wickets tumbled to the spin of Amit, Ravish, and Sonu Gupta as Kilburn failed to keep up with the asking rate. I finished proceedings by catching Reza Ibrahim off Ravish’s bowling but not before a juggle before a tumble into the ground. Having taken the catch, I held the ball up before throwing it on the ground casually. The first person to meet me was KP, then Ravish, and then the rest of the team. Kilburn bowled out for 203 giving us a comfortable 64 run victory. It felt good not only to have contributed to the team cause but also given an opportunity to contribute. Even though I have done some good things, I have some work to do with my bowling. I need to fix my load up while expanding my variety in terms of angles and lengths. At this stage, I feel best served bowling on my own to rectify these flaws.