November 9, 2017
When I was looking at some invaluable footage from last weekend’s match, I had been running into bowl with my knees up, which slows me down. I did it in the first place as my right knee lift was crucial for my bowling load, but I always forgot to do it. The next step was to work on my run-up so I could accelerate through the crease.
So I went to the Franklin nets on Thursday, and once again, the group of Telugu speaking Indians was there as well. Apparently, I later learned that this group plays for the Telugu Mates team in the City & Suburban competition in Canberra, and some of them actually had played for Ginninderra in the past too. Again, I spent time only bowling to them.
I continued to beat the bat quite often and force edges of the bat like last week. So far, the emphasis on the run-up hadn’t done me any harm. Previously, it was about 12 meters with all the knee lift. Now, I’ve been able to bowl from 16-20 meters without it, and it did not impact my swing and bounce. However, later on, I start to experience back pain, which I then found out that I was running in wider of the crease and had been twisting my body a bit more than expected. In bowling terms, there are plenty of counter rotations caused on my back, which left me in a bit of pain at the end of the day.
November 10, 2017
I was in considerable pain this morning, but thankfully, the pain subsided, having rubbed Voltaren gel on my lower back and consumed a pair of Voltaren tablets. I was going to move house today and was hoping I would have some time at least to get some more bowling under my belt. Throughout the week, I was reading some books regarding the Psychology of cricket, and I found it useful to have some cues to help you focus on your processes.
It was what I needed, and thankfully, I have the time to implement this as I will not be playing tomorrow. The movers were supposed to come first thing in the morning, but I realized that they won’t be in until 11. So I thought, “why don’t I go out to bowl?”.
That’s what I ended up doing. I went to the Franklin nets again with a 4-piece ball and some cones. Given that I had back trouble yesterday as a result from running from wide of the crease, I was going to use the cones to create a barrier so that I can run in straight and therefore minimize the counter rotations. I decided to mark out my run of 20 meters, which would help me steadily increase my momentum through the crease.
Mind you, it took me one over to sort out a process with some cues to fall on:
- Prepare: Run on the spot to engage the hips which would create a slight lean with my back
- 1-2-3-4: Run in and pump the arms in at a steady pace
- One-Two-Three-Four: Increase the run and pump of the arms
- ONE-TWO-THREE-FOUR: Increase the run and the pump of the arms again, so I’m at my quickest before release
- Load: lift both the right elbow at shoulder height and right knee
- Deliver: bring the right arm around and lift the right knee.
I found this process to be very useful to me that I haven’t lost my pace, bounce, and movement as a result. I felt my action was similar to that of younger Dennis Lillee, albeit with a front-on action, which I was able to repeat it over by over (although I took a 5-minute break each over to drink water). I had moved on from marking the channel of my run-up to marking a good line and length zone so I can hit the right areas for my swing. From past experiences, the turf pitches are not as wide as the practice and the Astroturf center wickets. So what would be a legitimate delivery on these Astro wickets would be deemed an off-side wide on turf? Thereby, the margin for error is minimal. This was why I created this new marking so I can hit the zone more consistently with my new run-up and action, which later to be a success.
The hope is that I can become another potent strike bowler for Archie rather than a steady medium-pacer (although I have been taking wickets this season). A new challenge will be to get through nine straight overs like I have been doing all season and last season.
November 12, 2017
Finally, the new place is mostly set up, and it feels like a home, unlike my previous address. It was worth to miss a game of cricket not for that reason but also the 6th-grade side managed to thrash Weston Creek Molonglo without me by seven wickets (before the rains came down). We bowled them out for 94 by the 43rd over. Dom Ross took 3/14 (off 9 overs), Duncan took 2/20 (9), Archie, Dean, and Brandon, one each with two run-outs (they would have had 10 players). Not to mention, Aqib going for just 11 runs in his nine wicketless overs. Then Dan Stiller continued his excellent form with 38 not out. At least he made runs after a fifty in the previous innings. This makes it a hat-trick of wins for us, which holds us in good stead for the next few weeks before Christmas.
November 14, 2017
I was looking forward to bowling at the nets in Club practice today, having sorted out my bowling last week. I thought it worked out pretty well as I was bowl reasonably well against the higher grade batters, albeit dismissing them. Sometime later, I had my turn with the bat, but it didn’t quite go well as I like it since my right wrist was in pain. This meant playing shots was difficult at times.
Later on, the pain subsided after I batted, but I was laid down with a painful ankle courtesy off an inside edge while trying to drive Ben Peel. Basically, my potency sort out went out the window a bit as a result, but I was still able to pose a few questions to all the other batters I bowled to.
Sometimes I wonder bowling in the nets is counterproductive since we play on Turf every weekend. Still, on the other hand, it provides me an opportunity to practice my bowling routines (as outlined above) to the higher grade batters. The success I’m enjoying so far in my short grade career to date would probably be the result of bowling to these bats. If I’m bowling well to these guys, then opposition in both 5th and 6th grade perhaps have no chance against me.
November 21, 2017
Unfortunately, the match over the weekend got called off due to the persistent rain this morning and yesterday. I would have to have opened the bowling with Lindsay Thompson as there was no Sajid Khan, Andy Brains, Duncan, and Dom Ross.
I was looking forward to playing and continuing our winning run, but it seems we will look to continue our winning habit hopefully next weekend against ANU White at Mawson.
For now, I was to continue practicing my bowling in the nets at training today. Thankfully it was good weather for it. Usually, on Tuesdays, I would rock up and warm-up before rolling the arm over. Today it was different. I put on my sun hat and joined the boys out for fielding practice (more like catching).
Rhys Healy, the 1st-grade vice-captain, was hitting the catches. The first opportunity I had was simply out of reach (somewhat over my head). However, every single opportunity provided to me, I managed to take it. I was pretty impressed although I had a bit of luck given that I don’t quite possess a safe pair of hands (But I suppose the fact I watched the ball right into my hands probably helped). Nevertheless, I remembered a piece of advice that I received from Mick Delaney, which was to try to sprint to the ball so that you can quickly settle underneath it to take the catch.
Now, it was time to have a bowl. I was going to have a crack at the higher grade batters as usual. Go and have a break at them because you will learn more about bowling to them rather than to weaker batters. I was short to Matt Hogan, and as he’s a short player, he was playing on the back foot quite comfortably. After that, I was getting better (only when I run in with my hands at about shoulder height), which became noticeable by Michael Dentrinos, who commented that I was finding a better rhythm and regarded me as express, which was nice. Soon enough, I was again posing questions to the bigger boys by hitting the right lengths and getting the ball to nibble around off the seam. I suppose, once again, if I’m bowling well to these blokes, then the lower grade batters over the weekend probably have no chance.
I probably am not expecting a call up for the two-dayers that will be starting this weekend, but I thought I probably did my chances no harm since JP was present to check out how I was going, and he was fairly impressed with how I was bowling. Nevertheless, I feel that if my bowling goes to plan, then the ANU boys will be quaking in their boots over the next two weeks.
November 22, 2017
Today was a better day. While I was waiting to pick Neethu up since we had to head to Coombs, I managed to get some time to practice more bowling at the nearby Reid Oval. It wasn’t a good start, though. I stuffed up my run-up, and while I was able to get some movement, I wasn’t able to put it in my ideal spot. It was because I’m unable to bring my arm around my left hip.
After properly marking out my run, I ran in for my next ball, and in my delivery phase, I attempted to whip my arm through to my left hip in a quicker motion, which helped my accuracy, swing, and bounce quite a fair bit. I was able to focus on that as part of my existing routine, which later became natural to me as I was able to land the ball precisely in the area where I want to pitch.
Over the last two days, I was able to get some seam variation such that the ball goes straight on after pitching rather than in or out. I used to be so obsessed with bowling my stock out-swinger ball by ball over by over. However, if the ball does something different from what I expected, although I managed to land the ball on the same spot, then so be it.
November 25, 2017
First thing today, I read that we have 8 for the game, but upon arrival, we managed to fork out a full team. When I had a look at the wicket, I felt it was the same Mawson wicket we’ve encountered in the past. I was convinced that we should bat first. Archie thought differently when he checked (as he wanted to bowl first). But somehow, we managed him to talk him around to batting first (which we did after winning the toss).
I was opening the batting with Brenton Furze, and we managed to somehow get through the first 10 overs. I was struggling for the onset as the deliveries were popping out of the surface, which made it difficult for me to get the ball of the square (although I managed to play a cracking pull shot for four). Brenton got out soon after (trying to heave Lyons) for 16, and at drinks (15 overs due to the heat), we were 1/38. I managed to bunt a full-toss away for a couple, but it was a struggle.
ANU White soon brought on a leg spinner who flights it, which I used to my advantage by coming down the wicket and hitting him over the top for four to take me into double figures. Whenever he flighted the ball, I went down the wicket to him to knock it on the leg-side for singles.
By that stage, I was getting comfortable and had hit a cut for two runs to take me past my highest score of 14 (that I made against Wests-UC last season). Unfortunately, while fielding for that two, James Culvenor tore his left hamstring and was ruled out for the rest of the match. The ANU White side only had 10 players and so that injury left them with only nine on the field.
However, they were still able to rally through as Aqib Khan, Brandon, and Jarrad Mathey all fell for single figures. I was joined by Mark Wilson, who promptly told me to stay till drinks (which I did when we took them after 30 overs), and we were 4/84. I was probably by then already 30 odd not out when I hit the last ball for four over cover against their off-spinner.
Archie had advised me to have a crack, but Mark told me that everyone else will go for it while I should bat through the innings. I was getting conflicting advice at that point, but I realized that given I will be needed to bowl later, I would have to swing, which is what I did. I got into the 40s, but I ended up playing a tired shot and edged behind off Josh Butson for 47. I didn’t get forward enough, and I would be ruining that fact. We were 5/105 in the 33rd over, but there was some filthy bowling and some sublime hitting from Mark and Lindsay Thompson (both made fifties) as they piled on 82 in quick time. Lindsay fell for 56, and Mark soon followed for 51. But the damage had been done by then. Although they bowled us out in the 44th over, we had piled on 227.
We had runs on the board and had the belief that we will win from here. We did bowl tight at the start, but they should have shown intent if they were keen to seriously chase it down. In the end, it worked in our favor very well. After Lindsay and Dom Ross, Archie brought on Khurram and Aqib in trying to get through the overs before the rain strikes. Aqib again got through his quota with minimal damage and managed a wicket. So they were 2/34 at drinks (Khurram took an excellent catch to dismiss Butson off Dom Ross).
Aqib soon effected a direct hit run-out (although Archie believes that it deflected off his gloves). Jarrad comes on, and his first wicket came about via some comedy. We appealed for the LBW, but David Lyons, who was umpiring at the time, was appearing like he didn’t know much about the rules. He was asking questions like, Can you still be struck in-line if the ball pitched outside off? In which we were answering in the affirmative. Later on, he gave the other opener Luke Ford out LBW, and he was spewing. It was little wonder; we were happily discussing this story back at the clubhouse. Jarrad soon had a second wicket when Brenton held a thick edge to dismiss Gorson-Lai.
They were five down, and after Aqib finished his spell, Archie, instead of giving me the ball, decided to hand the ball back to Lindsay to try and clean up the tail (which he didn’t). So I finally got my chance in the 31st over. By then, Dom Ross was on a hat-trick having had Borgo caught by Brenton and cleaned up Lyons first ball to bowl him.
Albrecht smashed me for 3 fours in my first over, although I managed to get some good swing and pace. To everyone else, that didn’t matter at the time because Dom Ross had a chance for a hat-trick. I managed to do the team thing in everyone’s eyes. But unfortunately, he didn’t get the hat-trick and was later got smashed for four.
I got smashed for four as well in my second over, but I was able to beat the bat a few times. Although I was able to show some encouraging signs, I only managed to bowl just two overs when Dom Ross took the final wicket. We bowled them out for 117 to record a crucial win, which brings us to the top of the table.
Archie and I at least returned to the clubhouse together, and we chatted a lot about our side and how well we were shaping up for the season. Archie was happy that I batted well on a tricky wicket, but he was pretty pissed off when I was hitting full-tosses straight to fielders (he was hoping to apply some technical fixes so that I can smash those full-tosses away). We also spoke a lot about how Northies will be stronger in their 6th-grade side with the Hohnke father and son combo returning, which meant we should expect a fierce battle against them.
We went to the clubhouse for burgers and drinks, and we learned that 5ths pulled off a miraculous 5 run victory defending just 85 against Northies, and the 4th-grade side recovered significantly from 6/130 at tea to 286 all out courtesy of Kumar Jeyakkumar Jnr’s unbeaten 102. Also, we learned that the 1sts had an attritional day in the field (although they bowled out Northies for 213 in the 91st over).
After all, it was a great day. Nice to be back after a couple of weeks. I would have liked to have a bigger crack with the ball in hand, but I was happy to spend some perfect time at the crease. Pity I couldn’t get through to a fifty, but I’m hoping I can put together an all-round performance sometime this season.