November 8, 2021
Having been challenged to bring more variety into my bowling by KP, I took up the opportunity to head to the Mawson Lakes nets with one of the new balls I got for my birthday. But first, I needed to fix my load-up position which deprived me of any swing which turned me into a buffet bowler. People have said that swing is in the wrist, but I find that angling the seam while keeping the wrist in a neutral position was giving me optimal results. And so, it showed today as I got extravagant movement both ways. For the inswinger which has been my least frequently used delivery, I had resorted to the grip demonstrated by the late Bob Woolmer in one of his coaching videos. That grip helped me to develop decent swing, but it has been tricky to get it to land on the perfect spot which was on a sixth stump line outside the off-stump to a right-hander. Bowling that delivery to the left-hander wouldn’t be a problem though. That aside, the crosswinds I encountered over the weekend took the sting out of the ‘Rohitpindi’ express. Thereby, I started to run in like a sprinter by pumping my arms which added a bit of potency to my deliveries. Moreover, my follow-through finishes up right up to the batter, perhaps adding to the intimidation factor. Despite encountering the crosswind again, my momentum-building run-up nullified the crosswind and still bowled some heat. The ‘Rohitpindi’ express is back and better.
Once the load-up issue was solved, I played around with angles. In addition to running in close to the stumps, I experimented with going wide of the crease and back while I was able to control and land the outswinger. Playing with angles in my view should confuse the batter to some degree as to where the ball is going to land, maybe being sucked into playing a delivery they should be left alone. The angle where I am delivering from together with the direction of my front arm dictates where the ball is going to pitch. Mixing these two ingredients up is critical to prevent batters from getting themselves into a rhythm.
November 11, 2021
Yesterday I was watching some old cricket footage – West Indies vs South Africa 2001 Test Series. One passage of play amazed me. Carl Hooper, the then West Indies captain was bowling. He brought in a short leg and the next ball, the Proteas’ batter attempted the sweep and was bowled. Geoffrey Boycott on air said something like ‘That was well bowled, he (Hooper) played on his mind’. That got me thinking that I could try to do something similar like after two dot balls, will he be itching to hit a boundary? But it depends on each batter. I could, in these circumstances put my mid-on and mid-off back, bowl outside off-stump, and see if he will go for the boundary shot. These aspects of gamesmanship are required in cricket as it is a mental game.
Another change I will need to make is my starting field following a chat with Adrian Wright whom I was introduced to through a mutual family friend. By default, I operate with a 5-4 field as I want to bowl stump to stump moving the ball both ways. But if I was going to operate on an off-stump or 4th/5th stump line, I will change to a 6-3 field. Keep a slip and a gully, take out a leg-side fielder and place him into the covers. Depending on how I go, I can push mid-on and/or mid-off back or have a cover sweeper while keeping a cover fielder inside the circle.
November 13, 2021
In the lead-up to today, there was going to be some doubt whether we will have a match as there were heavy amounts of rain over the last two days. The rain created doubt in my mind whether firstly the pitch will be ready to play on and secondly, will the conditions improve for us to get playing at all today. Yesterday, our fixture against Adelaide University was shifted from Park #10 to Park #12. I knew having driven by Park #10 that it had no covers, but I did see that Park #12 had covers already. Hence, it was a smart thing to do by the home team to request for this shift. The good thing is that we have a game of cricket for sure, but it remains to be seen how much of it we will get today. I will be grateful if we got a game at all as family commitments will prevent me from playing the following weekend.
Personally, it feels a bit odd coming back to Park #12 to play having briefly trained there with Adelaide University when I first arrived in Adelaide. From memory, Park #12 has two pitches. There is one pitch that is closest to the hard wicket nets on one side of the oval and there’s another pitch that is closest to the turf nets on the opposite side. I suspect that we would be playing on the former as the latter is the main pitch used for SACA Premier Cricket fixtures. It is an opportunity for me to show Adelaide University how much I have improved since I left them ahead of the 2019-20 season. It might be time to unleash the ‘Rohitpindi’ express once again. While I am anticipating crosswinds, I am confident that my new run-up will negate it better than it did last weekend. If I can control my front arm and put it in the right areas under helpful conditions, I will feel that I at least did my job.
We got a full game indeed and it went down to the wire. We were sent into bat by Adelaide University. Unfortunately, Boree’s inconsistency with the bat continued. Only managed five following his splendid hundred last week. The top-order effort was this time carried out by Amrish Patel and Brijesh Panchal who added 48 for the third wicket. When both fell – Bijesh for 20 and Amrish for 39, we were in desperate trouble at 5 for 78. And it did not improve at all despite Amit Patel’s efforts in constructing 30 runs. We were bowled out for 135 just at the start of the 34th over. I had come in at No. 11 and played out two deliveries. Then at the start of the 34th over, Amit tried to hit over the top but was instead caught at point. That was initially a waste. We could have nudged our way to 150 runs as I could hang around. Nevertheless, we had a total to bowl at and we made a great fist of defending it. Boree bowled out a tidy nine-over quota while dismissing both the openers. Imran Soni bowled a tidy six-over spell. I came on a took a wicket in three overs. Then Manav Jaggi struck in the 19th over. After Blight and Roberts briefly steadied the innings with a 39-run stand, Manav dismissed both batsmen. At 7 for 99, we were in charge. However, Ansari and Rajendiran chipped away at our target and got the required remaining runs under single figures. Then, another twist was in the tale. Chirag Modi, bowling with a whippy shoulder action from a couple of paces, clutched a caught and bowled offering from Ansari. In the same over, I ‘froze’ under pressure. Ed Finlay clipped the ball to me at forward square leg as I was deep but having tried to attempt a run out at the bowler’s end, I threw it wide but it eluded Chirag and the batters went for an overthrow. Order was soon restored with two overs to go. Finlay tried hitting over the top but Boree took a good catch to give Manav his fourth wicket. That left us one over and one wicket remaining with four runs to get. Rightfully, Chirag with his experience was bowling it. He conceded two singles on the first two balls. Then, there was a mix-up on the next ball as the ball went to Sonu Gupta. With the batters out of their ground, Sonu threw the ball at the bowler’s end and directly hit the stumps to spark wild celebrations in the middle. The win didn’t quite sink in for me until we got off the ground. I had nearly blown it with my wayward throw and in my first over with the ball where I conceded two boundaries. Thankfully, there were insignificant blemishes. I didn’t bowl too badly though. I had got into my rhythm and in my second over, I trapped Reddy LBW with a full delivery. However, nerves had started to creep in as we started to work into their batting. I started to relax when we had them 5 down before drinks but again started to tense up as they got closer to our score. Despite the work I did on Monday, I still wasn’t able to swing the ball, but I was able to vary my angle of delivery. I was initially going to bowl after drinks, but KP wanted to try Chirag for an over. In the end, that was a masterstroke as he’s an experienced cricketer who again delivered when it mattered the most.
Later Boree thought that our win was like the classic 1999 World Cup semi-final between Australia and South Africa in which a tie resulted in a runout. It indeed, felt that way.