North Canberra Gungahlin vs Ginninderra at Mawson Oval, November 4 2017

October 31, 2017

I haven’t really thought about much regarding my role as a pace-bowling allrounder who can open the batting. But I could certainly play a similar position to what the late Eddie Barlow did for South Africa (he was an obdurate opening batsman and an aggressive medium pacer). Archie was hinting that he may be inclined to use me at any stage of the innings, which will be a tricky thing to manage if we are about to chase shortly.

My aim today at training was to try to steadily accelerate through my run-up, which can help generate a bit of extra pace. But first, I decided to brush up my close-in catching ability with Matty Andrews. I was trying to watch Matty at close range to check his positioning and how he’s taking the catches (mainly for ideas of how I could improve myself). When it came to my turn, I was pretty happy with how I caught them, although I had been advised not to premeditate your movements just in case the ball goes in a different direction than expected.

I continued to bowl from 12 paces (the run-up from Saturday), and I was able to generate some late movement most of the time. My late swing caught a few on the hop, notably Vasu Patel, Tom Carmody, Khurram Awan, Albab Masud, and, in particular, Dan Leggett, who I dismissed thrice. No wonder Brendos was telling me that I should show off a hit list of every single higher grade batter I dismissed in the nets. After all, if I can get them out, then the 6th graders probably have no hope against me (provided I get it right).

I had a chance to bat too. I was again pretty happy how I hit them. I was focusing on the top hand with minimal support from the bottom one (just two fingers on the handle). I found timing and power as well as finesse when gliding the spinners into the third-man region (need to be mindful though of the presence of any close infielders). I was pretty pleased, though, when I straight drove Kumar Jeyakkumar Jnr, which probably was the first time I played a straight drive in my life. This certainly will bode well for me because the grip will allow me to show intent. Hence it’s a matter of for me to remember the grip and check it after every single ball.

November 2, 2017

I intended to work on my grip and, of course, my bowling run-up today at training. However, I had to also pick Neethu up from Barton at around 6.45pm today which meant, I probably wouldn’t have much time to bat and bowl (considering the 20 min drive from home).

Instead, I managed to work on my bowling at the Franklin nets. Firstly on my own before a group of Indians (Telugu speaking I suspect) were going to be using the nets for their private practice. To their credit, they allowed me to stay on and bowl to them, which is good; otherwise, it would be a pity to leave after a short while. I will be grateful for their generosity because I bowled myself back into form.

First of all, I managed to get consistent out-swing and managed to beat the bat most of the time. I also occasionally tried some variation whenever I see that the batters were hitting big shots. I found it easier though to land my slower balls than my off-cutter, but in saying so, if I work on it later on in the season, then I can at least be able to confidently pitch it in the right area most of the time.

Later on, when I pulled the shoulders back before commencing my delivery stride, I found that I was able to bowl consistent heavy-balls that swung and bounce. The key, though is the right length. Probably on synthetic, the wickets are very bouncy, but batsmen are more likely to stand and deliver on the back-foot more often than now. But perhaps on turf, those heavy-balls would be at least potent as the wickets don’t usually bounce as much, but if they do, I would have to adjust to make the batsmen drive. But I’m pretty happy with what I saw because I probably haven’t bowled as well so far in the season and the only time I bowled such heavy balls was back in Southern Cricket.

Yesterday, it was my birthday, though. Pretty happy about the celebrations and the gift, although we will be spending Saturday night on the Foreshore with a few friends. If there was a wish, it would be to better my best, preferably with both and ball (hopefully even score at least a 50). Currently, my highest score was 14, and the best bowling is still 5/18 (both against Wests-UC at Keith Tournier Oval last season). I suppose, though, I’ll be happy if I achieve my best with the bat and still did reasonably well with the ball in hand.

November 4, 2017

I’ve arrived at the ground after 12pm since we have new furniture delivered for our new place in Harrison. The pitch was simply like the one we played on 2 weeks ago, and it would have been good for batting. Unfortunately, Archie lost the toss, and we were fielding. To make matters slightly worse, Sajid Khan pulled out due to personal reasons, and Khurram Awan also pulled out. So we only have ten. Hence, we had to be on our game again to win with limited resources.

The Northies openers Madnure and Hadman got them off to a flyer, but pressure bowling from Lindsay Thompson, Dom Ross, and Andy Brains resulted in Hardman nicking off to give the breakthrough to Andy. I came on from Lindsay’s end and immediately found some rhythm and out-swing and was finding the edge from time to time. In my third over, I found a top edge from Madnure, which was easily snaffled by Aqib Khan, and by the time drinks came round, I had 1/12 from 5 overs, and my follow-through was right up the batsmen after each delivery (much to everyone’s delight). Mind you, I don’t think I had ever followed through this much (I reckon Luke would have been pretty rapt when I tell him so).  They were 2/73 on a belter of a pitch with a fast outfield. It means that we bowled pretty well, and it was vital that we continue that stranglehold.

We managed to do more than that. Straight away after drinks, my out-swinger hit the top of off to dismiss Ashrikandy, and then in my final over, I managed to claim a caught and bowled against Spencer, which was eventually given by square leg. I had bowed out with figures of 9-3-23-3 and had been able to beat the bat with my out-swing most of the time. I feel I bowled better than I did last week, and I certainly had put my previous bad experience at the ground to rest.

From 4 for 95 when I finished, we bowled out Northies for 138 in the 40th over. Andy Brains cleaned up the tail with 4/41 from his 9 overs, and Aqib chipped in with 2/17 from his 5. He could have had a wicket first ball, but he overstepped, but he managed to knock over their top scorer Ravi Shankar (not the famous musician) who made 72.

To keep them down to 138 on a flat wicket with a fast outfield was very impressive (considering Archie thought that this was a 220+ wicket). Now it was a matter of chasing down the runs. I opened as expected, but with no Kashif Khan who had work, I opened with Shen Stevens. Unfortunately, out fourth ball caught second slip by Ravi Shankar for a duck. Looking back, I probably failed to get my head over the ball, so I was disappointed to get out cheaply immediately. Shen was dismissed soon after, and we were quickly 2/9.

But we weren’t too worried. Both Aqib and Dan Stiller were in full flight as they were smoking their shots. Aqib on the ground and Dan in the air. They added 73, but Aqib was run out for 39. Aqib became a useful allrounder in this game and had proven his worth with both bat and ball. Dan later made his second fifty in three games and added 46 with Brandon Edgerton. However, both batters were dismissed on 128. Dan was caught out for 57, and Brandon was caught out for 18. Soon after, Lindsay smashed the winning runs, and we won by 5 wickets with 20 overs to spare.

There was little doubt that Archie was over the moon. He badly wanted to beat his former club, and he managed to do so. We now have three wins from four matches (the exception being a 1 run defeat), and we are off to a good start, but perhaps with our best cricket to come (once we inherit some talented cricketers).

I am personally disappointed not to be playing next week as I’ll be busy moving residence. But I also see a Catch-22 situation as such breaks can also allow niggling injuries (especially in the legs) to heal.



Ginninderra vs ANU Royal at Aranda Oval, October 28 2017

October 24, 2017

Confidence battered from the weekend, I went back to the footage from my session at Southern Cricket to view my bowling in the hope I can pick up a few cues on what I needed to do. After warming up after arriving at practice, I was straight into bowling. The start was promising. Within the first few deliveries, I cleaned up Dom Tran, who left a big gap between bat and pad for my in-swinger to the left-hander to penetrate and bowl him. I also managed to get some out-swing to the right-handed Umesh Patel who mishit a few. Then it went wrong. I overpitched to Alex Cleary and Joe Laria, and they laid into drives (although Joe was hitting them uppishly at catchable height). Later on, it went from bad to worse when I bowled short, especially to Ben Peel, when I tried to get it to swing from over the wicket to the left-hander, but it was into his hitting arc.

Batting was a little bit of a struggle initially as I was facing mostly spin from the lower grade net. I made some slight adjustments with my bottom hand, which technically should have been loose and therefore giving me control of my shots, which should be forced with the top hand. As a result, after playing and missing against spin, I was more confident in playing shots both forward and back. It would be a good idea to try and get some throw-downs on a matchday before batting to give me the extra confidence.

October 27, 2017

Till now, I didn’t realize that part of the pace comes from the back, and I know that in my own action, failure in bending the back would make my action extremely late if I try to swing the ball. This would result in slow loose deliveries being delivered to the batsmen. That’s what I found out in both the nets and the previous game last weekend. My concern from not bending the back is the worry of a back injury, but I remember Luke telling me that I shouldn’t worry about that. The only time, I would have back problems if my hips and shoulders are not aligned with each other, which produces counter-rotation.

So I learned that Jess Howard, unfortunately, fell sick today, which meant there was a possibility a spot in 4ths for a seamer. Given that I was willing to go up if needed, I thought I might be in with a chance. Thankfully, the right decision was made by JP, and I was still in 6ths for another week. The only way is up in terms of performances, and tomorrow, I have an opportunity to put the returns on the board. In saying so, all I care about is whether I’ll get to play and contribute with the ball in hand. At the moment, playing grade is what I’m satisfied with at the moment as it’s proper cricket, which encourages me to get fit.

I learned that with Paul Moger and Duncan Gammage out for another week, I would have to lift as a middle-order bat and a first change seamer. With Dom Ross also absent due to a family matter and Will going back up to 5ths, I may be asked to open the bowling. But we have Sajid Khan and Andy Brains, who would be suitable opening bowlers so I may stay as a first change bowler. With Paul’s absence, I may have to bat at three.which statistically has been a terrible position for me except for a couple of good innings for Riverton-Rostrata; 39 against Armadale which was made in two and a half hours in sapping heat in January 2014 followed by 25 against Leeming Spartan in December that year which helped chase down 175 in 35 overs (although I later hurt my calf like I did last week).

I basically have to put the past behind and at least be an understudy no. 3 for Archie until Paul returns to the side. But it may not happen depending on the match situation. Archie could well bat somebody else at 3 if we are chasing a small total. If being given the opportunity, I have to take it.

October 28, 2017

The forecast was showing a 50-50 chance of rain today more so at around 12pm. The presence of rain will undoubtedly determine whether we will play on time. You would hope that there would have been some sufficient time to prepare the pitch in Aranda yesterday since it was a clear day after the slightly wild weather on Thursday, which affected training.

Thankfully there was no rain, and the pitch seemed bone dry from the distance when I arrived late at Aranda. Once again, we had an issue with both the change rooms and the main shed locked. I decided to make the dash to Kippax to fetch the keys from JP to unlock these places. Archie told me to try and come back soon in case we were bowling first. I arrived at Kippax, but JP and the rest of his 3rd-grade side were in the field. I think I heard Matty Andrews yelling out something like, Rohit, get some pants on and join us in the field!” but I suspect he was joking. I was there to fetch the keys. Thankfully, our head groundsman Rob was there to provide me with the necessary keys. That was after 12.30pm. I called Archie and told him I got and keys and learned we were batting first. When I arrived to unlock the change rooms, I further learned we were sent in by ANU Royal, and I was batting five again.

We were three for 46 when I came in. Kashif was run out, Aqib was caught out for 17, and Dan Stiller was also caught out but for a duck. I was going to bat in the Ginninderra cap, but since I felt it was hot, I switched for the white sun hat. I was facing Ganesan, who took the last two wickets. As I later found out, he didn’t have a great pace, but he was putting it on the spot. Fortunately, I got off the mark from the very first ball against him, and then Brandon was caught and bowled by Ganesan for 10. 4 for 47. From there, we collapsed to 9 for 83 as J Culvenor and Foley, in particular, created the damage.

Although I wasn’t able to score quickly, I still felt good whenever the loose delivery came about. So it was unfortunate to glove behind for just seven against the wily old fox (which is Foley). I did glove a few deliveries of his before the dismissal, but it didn’t go to hand. But I wasn’t wise enough to realize that I had to try to put him off his length. The good thing out of dismissal, though is that I can have sufficient rest since I will have a decent bowl today.

Once again, our captain Archie came to the rescue with the bat, and this time he had the support of Sajid Khan and extras, and they put on 28 before Sajid was bowled. Little we realize later that it was a no-ball as I was about to put Sajid’s dismissal in the book as the scorer. Sajid was bowled next over, but by then, a further five runs were added. Sajid made 12, Archie again not out, this time with 14. Ginninderra bowled out for 116 in 39.1 overs. Considering that several of us thought that 100 would be a defendable total, it means that we are in the game with the perception that they are more a bowling team.

Sajid soon had them 3/13 by the ninth over. Jirman edged a drive behind; Nayana coped a brute of a delivery which was gloved to Aqib in the gully, and then Fox was bowled off-stump. I soon replaced him in the attack. Thankfully, I had an opportunity to get some warm-up balls and a run-through of my bowling. I needed that, considering my confidence was better. I nearly struck on the first ball when Reynolds top-edged a hoick, but Archie couldn’t run back quickly to hold on the catch.

Despite a leg-side wide two balls later (which would be the only extra I conceded all day), I soon found my rhythm and swing. Although not a great deal of pace, the sight of Reynolds and Borgo miscuing the drives was encouraging. I had a few missed chances that didn’t go to hand, but I am almost back to my best.

Soon enough on the fourth ball of my fourth over, I clean bowled Reynolds. It was 4/50. It was the second time I clean bowled him in grade. Last year it was the middle stump. Today, it was the off-stump. The constant was the attempted golf-shot through cow corner. They were getting away from us, and I provided the crucial break. I soon was able to get the ball to swing both ways before we went off to drinks as I had cut Sandeep Gangal in half with an in-swinger. So they were 4/58 at drinks. Just about halfway their target of 117.

Archie had an epiphany and decided to bring back our openers Sajid and Andy Brains in the hope we can wipe through their middle-order, or they could get closer to the target. He had the feeling that they would see me off if I continued and would instead allow them to take me on, which would create chances.

It went to plan. Andy Brains trapped both Borgo and Gangal lbw, and then Sajid cleaned up M Culvenor for a duck. We were on top at 7 for 59. Andy finished with 2/15 and Sajid 4/16 (best ever figures) at the end of their spells. But it seems, ANU Royal still had hoped with the experience of Peter Foley. He manipulated the field with swipes and deft touches as he marshaled them towards the target. There were misfields as well, which left several of us (including me) tense. Having had figures of 1/5 off 5, I finished with 1/22 off 9. I was pissed off that my figures took a slight battering as well as having to bowl a ball that looked like a dog slobbered over it (actually it rained in the later stages).

With Andy, Sajid, Lindsay Thompson (who bowled J Culvenor), and I bowled out, Archie needed to turn to part-timers to bowl the remaining overs. Archie, as a matter of fact, rolled his arm over and cleaned up Platt with the score at 111. Brandon soon got a go with the ball, and on his third delivery, he bowled a juicy full-toss, which Foley miscued into the hands of Sajid. We pulled it off and won by 5 runs. Having been at the wrong end of a tight game, we ended up being at the right end of one. Poor Foley, he nearly took them home, so before I joined in the celebrations, I offered him a consoling handshake.

We were back to winning ways after the disappointment of last week, and I was delighted with how I bowled today.

October 29, 2017

Archie was delighted that I’ve stood up and delivered with the ball in hand and expressed his desire to have me all season. He would have been concerned if I gave another mediocre performance like last weekend, but he didn’t have to worry. I was back to my best, getting the ball to swing and finding that extra bounce. I was thinking, if I could work on my run-up to develop the momentum through the crease, I could also have the extra pace.

He also had decided to promote me from five to opener moving forward as he continues to be impressed with my solidarity and my calling between the wickets. He hopes that I would be able to help a newcomer like Kashif (actually who is very new to hard-ball cricket) with some of my fundamentals. Archie’s still trying to work out his batting order after consecutive weeks of top-order collapses. I’m hoping I would be the solution to these woes. Statistically, in both official and unofficial cricket, I’ve performed quite well opening, which has resulted in solid starts turning into decent totals (including my only fifty to date ever, which is a 60 not out in a Sunday Social semi-final in 2015-16). I can hang around in the first half of the innings before teeing off in the second half of the innings.

As a result, Archie has the firm belief that I can develop into a genuine allrounder like last weekend. Now my role moving forward is an opening bat and a seamer who can bowl at any stage of the innings. Previously, my concern was that captains would start to see me more than a batter than a bowler which doesn’t do me any good at all. Thankfully, Archie believes I can be a Mr. Reliable for him with bat and ball.

Northies are next on our agenda, but first, I need to work on my run-up at training as well, hopefully, face some quicks like Dom Ross, Joe, and Jess Howard (perhaps asking Umesh to bowl pace than spin also).




Ginninderra vs ANU White at Mawson Oval, October 21 2017

October 16, 2017

Once again, Vishnu asked me to reconsider my focus for the season. He believed that I was good enough to up the grades instead of kicking my heels in 6th grade. I see where he was coming from, and I understand he wants me to fulfill my potential. So I figured, while I was still young and fit, I thought, why don’t I look to knock the door down in 3rd grade at least. JP was happy when I told him of my new intentions, but given that greater emphasis is on batting, my only hope of climbing up is consistent performances and that there’s a bowler shortage. It’s a bonus if I can play higher grades, but I would be happy for now playing in the lower grades as there was no pressure.

October 17, 2017

I didn’t quite have a good day in the nets, particularly with the ball in hand. Already a little bit hampered with a slightly painful Achilles, I was further hampered with a sore knee from the gym, perhaps from doing squats. I was at times able to put the ball in the right place and, at other times, got the ball to move, but I didn’t manage to put the two and two together. I ensured that I was trying to bowl to the higher grade batsmen if I wanted to go up and had mixed success there. I bowled too wide to Michael Hogan, who played 2nd grade.  Then although I had Brendan Roweth, the 1st-grade captain top-edging a short ball to the keeper, he smoked me out of the net quite frequently after that (as a matter of fact, no bowler could keep him quiet). Afterwards, I bowled better to both Daniel Leggett, who keeps in 2nds and Paras Sachdeva, who opened in 1sts.

Batting was better. I made a slight adjustment to my grip so that I could hit 360 degrees. I was by then using my newer bat, the SCC Tyrant I bought last season, which was deemed a little heavy, but since I got stronger, I could pick it up much better. I was happy how I batted. I managed to play with a full face while also opening the face at times, especially when I need to rotate the strike more often. I was hitting them a lot better than last week for sure.

October 19, 2017

I was in contemplation mode in the gym. Last weekend, I was able to get the ball to move both ways, although the ball was 10 overs old, and it certainly made the Eastlake batsmen look foolish at times. I also believed that the visualization of my own processes for both batting and bowling in the morning before helped me to focus on what exactly I need to do when I get on the field. I had been obsessed with my technique for all aspects, but I never paid much attention to the mental aspect. Reading Mark Ramprakash’s autobiography Strictly Me as well as paying attention to the lectures from Cricket Mentoring, reinforced the emphasis of mental preparation. I am still obsessed with my technique, but I’ve just incorporated the visualization tool to help me remember what exactly I should be doing and where I could correct myself if I ever go wrong. So far, it’s working. 2/11 off 5.1 overs and a run-out were pleasing, and I remember that I had a smile on my face because Archie loved it and loved having me in his side as a result.

October 20, 2017

As it appeared, I was again in 6ths. Most of the stronger players were back, so some cricketers were pushed down a grade or two to accommodate them. JP, in a group email, stated that he was in awe of our depth, and it seemed to me that the club hasn’t experienced such depth for a while. It comes to show how much effort the club has put in over the past few seasons. For me, in particular, it’s going to be tough breaking through the higher grades, but I’m happy where I am because I know I’m going to be bowling tomorrow, provided the pitch dries up.

It was raining yesterday and today, which is never a good sign if we’re going to be playing on uncovered pitches. The bright side is that we at least have a sunny day tomorrow, and there are no showers forecasted tonight. If we do get on the field tomorrow, we will likely have a delayed start with a reduced overs like we did against Queanbeyan in 5ths last season (where the matches were 37 overs a side).

October 21, 2017

Maybe not. I arrive at the ground to see the groundsman working on the pitch. It means that we will be playing a full match on time. The pitch had full-on grass except on one end, in which the grass was cut. It seemed to be good for bowling.

So we won the toss and bowled first. Dom Ross continued his excellent form by removing the openers. However, Parikh and Korber rode their luck in constructing a 100+ partnership. We learned that Parikh made 169 last weekend, which led to ANU White making 300 odd against Norths and so we had to take our chances. Parikh was hitting uppishly into gaps, and he was dropped a couple of times at least. It was the same case with Korber too.

I came on when there were about to get rolling into their partnership and fair to say I started really poorly. I was bowling wide and short at times, and basically, my first 3 overs were absolute crap. Will Thomson helped me out during my spell as he identified a lazy front arm. He also encouraged me to be tall through the crease. As a result, I bowled better. I had a few edges, and three dropped catches (in which I missed a caught and bowled chance again). Hence, I completed my worst figures to date. Nine wicketless overs for 50. Statistics do show that if I don’t take a wicket, we lose the match, and it appeared that way for the time being.

However, we fought back as Dom Tran had both batsmen stumped by Dan Stiller. Korber made 45, and Parikh made 80, and they were cruising at about 5 an over when they were dismissed. However, thanks to some tight, penetrative bowling from Sajid Khan, Dom Ross, and Will, along with some beneficial tactical suggestions from Will, ANU White only managed 9/191 from their 45 overs. Dom Ross was particularly happy that he has 10 wickets so far in the season when he finished with 4/33 from his allotted overs.

I don’t exactly know what everyone thinks of Will, but talking to him during our chase made me realize that he’s much more knowledgable in Cricket than me. His input into bowling and fielding, in particular, was excellent, and he played a significant part in our fight back. I learned that he’s played grade for 10 years since his teenage years, and all that experience came out. It does help to have a few experienced hands in your team like Will, but it may not happen all the time.

Speaking of our chase, I came in on 3/16 in the fifth over to join Dan Stiller. By then, Brandon Edgerton, Kashif Khan, and Shen Stevens were back into the sheds. Archie wanted me to show a bit of intent as we were behind the rate. That’s what I was trying to do. I blocked out the deliveries hitting the stumps and attempted to hit ones that were off-line. I edged two consecutive deliveries off Korber in which the second was a tough drop by their keeper. But I had a slightly tricky time against Connor McMaster, who was bowling fast from a short run because I couldn’t get him away. It was partly my fault as I was batting outside my crease. I returned to my crease and was able to play a few cut shots. At the other end, Dan Stiller was smoking them, and he got to fifty in no time.

We had put on 67 until I hurt my calf when coming back for two. I knew I was in slight pain until it got worse at that moment. The pain was unbearable, and hence I decided to come off. I was batting well with Dan Stiller, and I was giving him company as he’s smashing it around. By then, I had reached 12. As I realized, the momentum shifted when ANU White’s spinners came on. They took wickets and kept the rate down. Stiller made 61, but Will, Sajid, and Dom Ross perished quickly, and we were 7/129 and in deep trouble. I was immediately ready to bat but to bat out the 45 overs if need be.

Instead of bringing back their frontline bowlers, ANU White decided to give almost everyone a bowl, and both Archie and Dom Tran took advantage of such generosity to post 52 to bring us right back into the game. Archie brought up his first fifty for the club (he later made an unbeaten 57), and we needed about 14 from the last 3 overs. However, their captain Josh Butson came on and had Dom Tran caught and bowled. Dom Tran had a good game. Firstly with two wickets in a tidy spell and now 18 priceless runs with a four and a six. In scoring that 18 seemed to be the first time he passed double figures, and now it’s his highest score.

So we needed about 10 to win when I rocked up to bat. The calf was slightly better, but I had to risk the pain to bring us home. We nearly did until Archie, and I tried to run a quick single to try to tie the match, but a direct hit had me run out for 13. It wasn’t surprising that they celebrated wildly, and I was despondent in defeat, especially that they won by a single run. Still, I was touched with how they humble towards me, in particular, knowing the situation I was in. Maybe Archie could have turned me down and had a crack on the final ball, but it was worth the risk considering Will said later better to be run-out trying to get close instead of getting out on the last ball trying to tee off.

Archie, although gutted, tried to bring me back to normal. He said that both of us will one day finish a run chase. He was quite impressed with the intent I was showing and assured me of a middle-order place for now. While I remain confident against Pace like I did today, I will have to find a way to combat spin if I face them first up.

Anyways, two weeks in my role seems clear cut like it was at the start of the season. Middle Order batsman and old ball seamer. Last week it was with the ball, today it was with the bat. Hopefully, I can combine the two together. But first, I need to repair my confidence with the ball and hope my calf improves by the time we face the other ANU side.


Eastlake vs Ginninderra at Aranda, October 14 2017

October 10, 2017

Having missed the Twenty20s as Neethu’s parents were visiting from Melbourne, I was ready to play cricket. In particular, I was planning to go and spend a whole season in 6ths under Chris Arcella. However, I was persuaded to reconsider by a friend of mine, Vishnu Chari, who thought I would be better off in 4ths, given my skill level. I had later learned that Joe Laria was to captain 4th grade, and he was one of the captains that have valued my bowling very well. So I thought, why not give 4th grade a crack. So I told JP, our chairman of selectors, that I was keen for both 4ths and 6ths. The next logical step was to attend training. I was desperately eager to go and practice with my refined bowling action from my time in Southern Cricket.

As a matter of fact, I didn’t quite generate the swing and bounce until after training today when I went to practice on my own. It was clear to me that I forgot my bowling routine until that moment, which now becomes crucial that I remember it every time I go out to bowl.

Batting was a little bit better. I managed to deflect the ball and played some excellent shots. But I suffered a slight heartbreak when I tried to turn a ball onto the leg-side only for the splice to crack upon impact. That was the second broken-bat I had this year. The Gray-Nicolls e-41 bat I had since 2013 lost a chunk of the bat previously in August while I was trying to drive. But the bat with the cracked splice was the Gray-Nicolls Momentum that I had since 2015. Thankfully I have two bats still standing.

October 14, 2017

I’ve arrived in Aranda about an hour early because I was in the Belconnen Area for a house inspection for my brother. I was initially hoping yesterday that since Joe was captain, I could perhaps play at Kippax in 4ths. However, it later appeared that the 4th-grade side was packed with batting. It was ok nevertheless because I was in 6ths playing for Archie, my other favorite captain to date. I was a little surprised to find a bunch of people playing on the Aranda strip. Usually, some grounds would put a perimeter fencing around it to dissuade people from tampering the pitch. I was hopeful in 6ths that I would fire with bat and ball. Archie advised that I’m very likely to have a chance to contribute in an all-round role. Looking at our side, we only have three decent bowlers in me, Dom Ross and Duncan Gammage; thereby, all three of us needed to bowl out 9 overs each and try to restrict Eastlake.

As I was going on my warm-up run, I took a quick look at the pitch, and it was absolutely green all over except around the batting crease. I prompted messaged Archie that it was a really great wicket to bowl on. However, before we can toss the coin, all the sheds were locked, which meant no cones and stumps. Hence a delayed start was inevitable. Dom Ross went over to Kippax to fetch the stumps and bails. However, not long after he left, Damian Eason, the coach of our Colts (Under 18s) side, arrived and unlocked both change rooms and the shed where the stumps, bails, and cones were kept. Duncan and Damian set up the pitch while Sanjay Sharma and I set up the boundaries (although with later help from Duncan).

The toss was equally vital for us (actually for either side). Thankfully Archie won the toss and sent Eastlake into bat. Apparently, since Eastlake was struggling for numbers, we were against a team of mostly schoolboys. Technically it was a mismatch on paper.

Duncan started off with the first over. He nearly struck early, but Dom Ross at gully dropped Tom Arthur. Three overs later, though, Dom secured redemption by having Nic Arthur caught nicely by Brandon Edgartown. It was 1/7. He soon had Tom Arthur caught behind by Dan Stiller. 2/17. By then, Duncan was still beating the bat and drawn a few edges, including a catchable one that went through Dean Wickham at first slip. After 5 luckless overs, I had my chance with the ball in hand.

My third ball was hit for four, which was the only long hop I’ve bowled today. My first four overs ended up going for just eight runs but no wickets. However, Eastlake collapsed from 2/18 to 7/27 within a blink of an eye. Dom had T Hillan caught and bowled and bowled J Hillan next ball. Although he didn’t get a hattrick, he then bowled Riley Frost and P Hillan. So he finished with 6/7 from his 9 overs. Without a doubt, it was his best-ever figures in grade. His previous best was 5/22 from 9 overs, which was remarkable considering the opposition had scored 300 odd. He took the first six wickets to fall with the 7th wicket coming from a run out from yours indeed. Fitzgerald clipped Dom onto the leg side where the ball came to me. As I was well in, I was able to swoop onto the ball to affect the run-out (with a bit of help from Dan Stiller). It was my first run-out that I had effected since 2009-10, and it was my very first run-out in grade cricket. I was pretty pumped.

It was of no surprise that the confidence from the run-out had flowed into my bowling. I bowled Davis with a ball that woeful had swung back in before it decked away to hit the top of off stump. It was 8/32. After Dom, Dean bowled his only over and took a wicket of Fitzgerald. It was 9/38. Soon after, I took a wicket with my first ball in a new over to dismiss M Mahajan. He was caught by Archie at mid-off; although it appeared, my hand had distracted him as the ball came very quickly to him. I agreed with him on that fact, but I didn’t agree with the fact that it was a deflection because I didn’t feel the ball touching my hand. I didn’t think Mahajan hit a catch to Archie as I thought it was a bump ball at first. But Archie (and everyone) else thought it was a catch. So, Eastlake was all out for 38, and I had 2/11 off 5.1 overs. Pretty good after a long hop in the first over.

The victory was later assured when Dean went bang despite Brandon fell early for 3. Dean smashed big sixes much to our surprise and had proved to Archie who claimed that he cannot loft the ball. Dean’s sixes were as clean as Chris Lynn and hit four of them in his unbeaten 31 off 22 balls. Andrew Loveday soon hit the winning boundary to wrap up victory in the 7th over. We have a 9 wicket victory. So we were away.

Personally, I was okay with my bowling. I didn’t really try to generate swing and bounce as I was able to get help from the pitch. Perhaps an area of perfection moving forward once the pitches become more balanced with bat and ball. As it proved, I have taken wickets more frequently when I don’t open the bowling. It looks like I have a set bowling role moving forward.

September 28, 2017

I am grateful that I had been able to meet Luke at the Southern Cricket Academy today. For the past two weeks, I have been struck down with illness with a slight upset stomach. I have been able to cope reasonably well at the gym during this time while doing strength and speed work, but my endurance training has been affected by the illness.

Regardless, I was very keen to go and meet Luke, knowing that I may not get an opportunity at all for a while to iron out any issues. Previously, I’ve been able to produce swing and bounce without hitting a consistent line and length in the recent Twenty20 match. Then I was able to hit a regular line and length, but without the swing and bounce, I craved at preseason training. So, it was necessary to see where I could improve so I can become a more potent bowler.

After the first ten minutes of our session, Luke took me over to show Southern Cricket’s 10 point bowling framework video. This framework shows the critical aspects, including run-up and load, which was critical to generating pace, bounce, and movement. I was able to understand the framework and went about refining my bowling action.

Rather than going all out, I began by running in steadily to ensure the ball come out of the hand nicely. However, Luke advised me it would be counterproductive and instead to run-in at the top effort. Maybe I was conscious of the fact that I wasn’t in good health, but I decided to try considering giving it all go I got. Perhaps the words of the former Sussex and Western Province quick Garth Le Roux (who featured in the Rebel Tours of the 80s) who said if you can bowl fast, then bowl fast would apply.

Therefore my new bowling would be as follows

  1. Shoulders back and start with three steps on the spot to bring my nose in front of my toes to provide the forward lean
  2. Begin pumping of the arms
  3. Before delivery, load the ball so that my elbow is at shoulder height
  4. Flick and kick my left leg as I set up to deliver the ball
  5. Deliver the ball and finish the hand across my left hip with my right knee engaged


Once I’ve attempted to run in hard and following the process, I was able to deliver the heavy ball, which is a quick delivery that swings and bounces and finishes with an active follow through consistently. The only problem I had was that I was delivering the ball from wide of the crease. So Luke created a corridor for me to run through in the hope I can get closer to the stumps, which should make the batsmen play the ball more and hopefully provide more opportunities to dismiss them in various ways. It has been an on-going problem I’ve been having for quite a while. Luke had been able to provide a temporary solution every time, but the issue tends to resurface. I have to now sort out the problem on my own at training and in matches, but I’m hopeful of resolving it as soon as I can, especially with the first game being about 2 weeks away.

Within an hour, Luke refined my action so that I become an explosive bowler capable of bowling consistent heavy balls. This would be provided I follow the processes and maintain my health and fitness. The fact I was able to bowl reasonably quick despite my illness has undoubtedly left me in no doubt that what I could achieve when I return to full health. This would be ominous signs for the whole of the 5th-grade competition if the wickets were initially bowler-friendly like they were last season.

If I become a 5th grade bully with the ball in hand, then so be it. I would have been able to bowl well in the higher grades if everything in my bowling action clicks into place, but the prospect of playing on Sundays is a concern (notably finals and 2-day matches). Playing all weekend occasionally has had a negative mental and physical effect in the past, and considering how I’m a married man, I don’t think playing all weekend is feasible anymore. Besides, the higher grades now have a priority for greater batting strength, and since I would really like to have a ball in my hand more often, playing in 5ths seems to be the right way to go.

In terms of opportunity, I’ve been able to convince JP to leave me out of the Twenty20s that will start next weekend. I’ve already played one Twenty20 and only batted for just 10 balls or so at no. 8. Now, being unavailable for the Twenty20s will give me ample time to fully recover in time for the first one day game on the 14th of October.

Preseason, September 23 2017

August 18, 2017

I intended to attend the first preseason training this weekend; however, there had been a change of plan. Instead, I will be gearing up to play an 8-a-side Twenty20 match on Sunday. I have been asked to try to come to the nets tomorrow morning. Why did I accept the offer even though the Twenty20 game wasn’t quite my cup of tea? Mainly because I have been told that match practice was essential by Chris Arcella. Based on his advice, I took it on, but it was slightly traumatic later in the night. I hadn’t touched our cage since adding a bike lock and a standard key lock as we’ve had break-ins in the past 18 months.

So I had begun my frantic search to find the code to unlock the bike lock but also the key to the other lock since I had to try and prise out my cricket bag, which also had my spikes. It was frantic because I tried everywhere to find both items with no luck. However, I was able to find the key to the secondary lock with Neethu’s help when she saw the key unknowingly stored in the cutlery drawer. But I couldn’t find the 4-digit code to open the code at that particular time. However, with help from YouTube, I have been able to work out my 4-digit code and open the bike lock. I wish I could talk about what it exactly entails, but I know that some people will have evil intentions of breaking other people’s locks.

That was a relief as I wouldn’t have been able to play this Sunday if I couldn’t get the kit out of the cage.

August 19, 2017

Nets weren’t too bad today. I didn’t bowl too badly, but I felt I was a little short given that the Crace practice nets have excellent pace and bounce, which the batsmen could stand and deliver most of the time and hit off the back-foot. As I had to leave early due to an optometrist appointment, I was grateful that Sudhir Yelamanchilli (who invited me to play) gave me a bat. I wasn’t too bad against the seamers as I was able to drive through the off-side with the occasional pull shot.

However, I was a little disappointed that despite all my work against spin-bowling with Masud in the past, I initially struggled. My attempts to come down the wicket were futile as Roopesh’s bouncing spinners have left me stranded as I tried to dominate from the outset. I realize now that I should have gone back and across unless the ball was really pitched-up and give myself enough time to gauge what they’re doing before I dominate. It will be a lesson that I will carry with me moving forward.

August 20, 2017

Nothing much to write home about. We got absolutely smashed. We couldn’t get any wickets within the 20 overs and conceded 219 runs before we were bowled out for 33 within 8 overs. I felt I had some promise at certain times of the day, but I didn’t carry on with either bat or ball. I opened the bowling and bowled 3 decent overs in which I got some out-swing and bounce. I even managed a bouncer for the first time in my first over, but it was later a misdirected one as it sailed over the batsman’s head for a wide.

I then opened the batting, and I got out in the 5th over of the innings. But by then, we lost 5 of our batsmen bowled and lbw to my recent foe, Simran Singh Gill, who got the ball to swing in prodigiously. I felt I was able to handle him, and I managed to clip a couple of balls that were off-line for two and three.

August 27, 2017

I managed to attend pre-season training in Weetangera. It was a little chilly, so the wisdom of not wearing a jumper and pants wasn’t that quite wise. Unfortunately, our coach Mick Delaney wasn’t present at training. So it was left to a couple of 1st-grade stalwarts of Rhys Healy (the vice-captain) and Luke Ryan (who will be going to Dubai for the Indoor Cricket World Cup for Australia) to run the sessions.

We started off with a light run before we moved to play cricket soccer, where we were required to throw the ball under-arm. The rules of the cricket soccer game were changed as the game carried on. Firstly we had to throw the ball which shouldn’t go above waist high, and we had to catch the ball. Then the rules were changed so that we can roll the ball or throw the ball so that the other person can catch it one-bounce. Much better than playing regular football given the number of injuries international cricketers from these kinds of warm-ups.

We then did some fielding, and although I spilled a few catches, I managed to take a diving catch and a diving stop to everyone’s enjoyment. Looking back, I missed a few catches because I wasn’t in position early and was on the move just as the ball is about to be hit. It’s resulted in me getting into wrong positions, which result in dropped catches.

Then it was time for some batting drills, which were from last season. Once again, I brought out my training bat, which I believe can help my timing since the ball will always hit the middle of the narrow blade. Indeed, driving the ball through both the on and offside gave me great pleasure because I was hitting the ball more sweetly. I had bought the bat last season in the hope it could help my batting, and it still is believed to be a good purchase at the moment.

The groups were then split into bowlers and batters. The bowlers (including myself) were going to be working with Luke in the nets on our bowling while everyone else is to continue with the batting drills. Luke got all the bowlers to bowl from a few steps and focus on hitting a good line and length, which is just outside off. I felt I was able to hit the spot very consistently, albeit without the swing and bounce that I craved. Nevertheless, I was thrilled with my efforts, which were an improvement from last weekend’s Twenty20 game.

September 23, 2017

Here I am heading off to Adelaide for the long weekend, having only had 3 days of cricket. This preseason sadly did not go to plan as I would like, but what could you do if work and family commitments come in your way. But it gave me enough time to work on my fitness, which at times was tough going with the endurance work (which is in the form of running at least repetitions of at least 500m at around 90-100% effort). I sometimes dislike doing endurance work because of the intensity, but if I am going to bat and bowl every match, then I need to be in good condition to consistently contribute.

Right now, the club is playing a warm-up match against Stockton CC in Newcastle with another game against the Monaro District Cricket Association next long weekend. The boys were supposed to travel to Yass for a warm-up against the locals there, but it was canceled at the last minute. It would think that the boys would have been disappointed.

It always helps if your coach has the right contacts to arrange these matches. Last season Mick organized a friendly against Stockton CC, and later on, all the grades were gunning for competition for finals action throughout the season. Having these practice matches helps the mental and the tactical areas of the game because, ultimately, you need to perform out on the field. Let’s hope the club has another successful season.

Away from the field, I have been reading cricketers’ autobiographies. I’ve picked up that flexibility is very important for injury prevention, and more importantly, I’ve started to visualize my batting, bowling, and fielding routines. I’m hoping to test out the visualization process before I go and play mainly with the fielding, which always has been a problem with me.

Preseason about to start, August 13 2017

Talking about Training

So it has been confirmed that Preseason will be starting next week on the 20th of August. The coach, Mick Delaney, had also indicated that we have a couple of more sessions after that on the 27th of August and the 3rd of September. The time to start seems right as we have about 6-8 weeks before the start of the season, which usually has been on the 2nd weekend of October, and these words from Mick last season “The season will be around before you know it,” still rings true in my mind.

I’m hoping through this year’s preseason will be like last year’s in which there will be a gradual build-up of intensity once the basics were mastered. It worked to a certain extent, too, with all grades were in the battle for finals throughout the season (with the top four grades being involved in semis while 5ths just missed out).

Realistically, it would be feasible for me to attend training on the weekends due to work until the season gets underway. Light at the pre-season time usually fades away after 5.30-6, so by the time I turn up, there’s nothing much I can do. I would like to do everything in terms of batting, bowling, and fielding, considering I’m coming all the way from Harrison to attend. Hence my opportunities are best served from October onwards (mostly helped due to the presence of Daylight saving).  So for now, I’m hoping we can work on all three facets of the game on the weekend sessions (if possible) like we did last season when we went to train Indoors at Kaleen a few times.

Don Bradman Cricket 17

My DBC17 persona, for the time being, continues taking wickets for fun. He has taken it’s 200th test wicket in his 17th test and has now taken his 100th ODI wicket in his 30th ODI. Also, he has scored two hundreds. 112 in a Test match for Australia against South Africa batting at 7 in SuperSport Park, Centurion, and 114 not out in a First-class game for Somerset against Leicestershire batting at 8 in Taunton. Some people will not believe it; hence I’ll admit that I’m playing at a comfortable level. After all, PC games are supposed not to be challenging in my view if you’re just looking to relax and have fun.

When I was batting in DBC17, I was pretty much playing my shots according to the fields being set, whether it was a pacer, medium-pacer, or spinner. I would try to hit a boundary if the opportunity presented itself, or I would just tap and run to the other end. It made me think of how I could approach my own real-life batting, considering that I have been told to show intent in scoring.

Fitness work

Since last week, I have been working on the Fitness plan Jock Campbell had set out for me through the BowlFit app. It has been manageable for me so far (particularly weight-training and speed-related work). Still, it can be bloody hard work at times (especially endurance and core-strength training, although I don’t really struggle). I suppose though it was a case of “I tried doing things my own way,” which was at times counter-productive (to an extent I went flat as I went down to 75kg), which was why I was grateful the BowlFit app come out just at the right time.

I’m sure people will tell me why you would need to put in the hard work if you’re just playing 5th grade; you should aim higher. Well, I don’t really have those ambitions to go up the ranks since my priorities have changed. Cricket is just a relaxant for me that I enjoy. I’m not really ambitious, and I wish to do well. That is why I’m putting in the hard work so I can have the license to enjoy it.

The choice in being in 5th grade

I had earlier made the choice of staying in 5ths. I had previously mentioned that I want to balance my cricket and my married life. Playing in the higher grades on an occasional Sunday won’t cut it for me, not just for that reason. I had earlier played cricket on both Saturdays and Sundays in the 2015-16 season. I was playing City & Surburban every Saturday, along with Public Service League and Sunday Socials on alternating Sundays. I had initially done it to see what Sunday cricket was like. I was exhausted from playing cricket all weekend. Not only that, but I was also neglecting domestic duties at home, too, with the cleaning and cooking. If I managed to find the time, though, it feels as if I was being rushed, which does tire me out. I had felt the same way when I continued Sunday cricket last year, and thankfully, I stopped my Sunday commitments unless I didn’t have a game on Saturday.

As I said before, my priorities have changed after marriage, and I need to balance both my cricket, gym with my private life. Giving too much importance to my own leisure is terrible, as is cutting it out entirely is awful too. Neethu understands that I want to continue both cricket and gym for some time until my body can’t cope. However, she also expects me to be prepared to put it aside if she needs me. I reckon I can handle that aspect. I missed a few games to spend time with her last season, although to the detriment of my team. I nearly had missed a match against ANU due to a family emergency the night before only to subside in time for me to play and help win the game.

It’s honestly a lot easier to miss games if you’re just playing in 5ths as it’s only one day cricket only. I don’t see myself in playing just half a 2-day match as I have aspirations of being a dominant, if not decent, all-rounder in which I want to contribute to everything. If I had to play half a game, then just bowling and fielding is okay and not bat but not the other way around.

Anyways, sticking to 5ths is also due to the mutual respect I have not just with Chris Arcella, who’s likely to captain the side but also with the likes of Andrew Loveday and Adam O’Connor. Playing for Archie was the easiest decision I had to make because he has a vision and has excellent man-management skills. He’s already indicated to me how I can contribute and where I should look to improve on. Another reason I also believe in sticking with 5ths is that my time in the higher grades would have passed by. I feel with more youngsters coming through the Tiger ranks, they will have a crack in the higher grades as they represent the future. I am not critical in any way because I believe they need to be hardened by playing higher grades. We already have exposed youngsters to higher grade cricket like Michael Hogan and Dylan Faram, and they’re now not far from our 1st-grade side, which won’t be a surprise should they break into it for the coming season.

So it doesn’t really concern me if I just play 5ths the whole season. For me, if I at least bowl in all the matches I play in (which is very likely under Archie’s captaincy), then I’m at least satisfied. After all, cricket isn’t supposed to be the be-all and end-all. I just want to go and enjoy, and having opportunities, especially with ball-in-hand, will go a long way.

Goals for the season

I am a firm believer in achieving the triple goal of 100 games, 1000 runs, and 100 wickets in grade. So far, according to my MyCricket profile, I have 15 games, 53 runs, and 15 wickets. Basically, I have 85 games, 947 runs, and 85 wickets to go. To achieve that ultimate treble, I would need to play 7-10 games, score 70-100 runs, and take 7-10 wickets across the next 10-15 years. However, I had been told that my goals were kind of low last season.

I personally thought I would like to score at least 10 runs and take 1 wicket every game and so I guess the double of 200 runs and 20 wickets is the ultimate aim, which is achievable. The twin of 150 runs and 15 wickets is also attainable, especially if I miss matches due to the weather and when I’m out of town. It was why I initially thought the double of 100 runs and 10 wickets will just do for me, but now I am encouraged to aim further than that.

I know cricket is supposed to be a team sport, but having your own goals and achieving them can give you the motivation to go and play and help win games for your club. I learned that from reading Sir Richard Hadlee’s autobiography Rhythm and Swing in which he managed the county double of 100 runs and 100 wickets on a couple of occasions, which helped Nottinghamshire to success during his stint from 1978-1987.

Hence I personally believe that a double of 200 runs and 20 wickets can go a long way to help 5th grade into the semi-finals this season, but I need to be ready to be disappointed if it doesn’t go to plan. After all, I should just go out there and enjoy this season, but while being committed to my fitness program via the BowlFit app that I started recently.



Waiting for Pre-season, July 31 2017

I’m now waiting for Pre-season to get underway, but hopefully not for very long as our coach Mick Delaney is in the US (according to his Facebook profile).

Since the season had ended, I have been involved with my own off-field activities. Mostly playing Don Bradman Cricket 17 on my PC, which is turning out to be better than it’s predecessor in many ways. I digress though, the game is more comfortable with the ball than the bat. Simply pitch the ball on a length with some movement, and the batsmen will either edge it behind or onto the stumps.  My DBC 17 Avatar is going pretty good as it continuously takes wickets for fun, especially 8-40 in an ODI against India at the WACA and twice taking 10-for in First-Class cricket. 10-51 in a Test against India at Kolkata and 10-32 against Queensland at the SCG.

Apart from DBC 17, I had enrolled in Cricket Mentoring’s playing Spin program and had managed to incorporate their suggestions/tips into sessions I had with Masud Rahman. However, since my marriage on May 6th in hot and humid conditions in India, I’d never got around to pick up the gear ever since.

Nevertheless, I had the chance to work on my fitness at the gym. I had previously started lifting heavy and running faster in the hope I could develop my fast-twitch fiber, which could help build that extra pace. I had been advised by family and friends numerous times that running really fast could provide long term knee damage. Naturally, I had brushed off those comments, but after being warned for the third time, I stopped running quickly.

By then, a new application called BowlFit came out onto the app market. Naturally, out of curiosity, I downloaded the app and checked it out. As it appears, they only charge $5.50 a month should you want to get a personalized program. But there was a catch. We had to complete a specific pre-screening test and although I did reasonably ok with the Cardiovascular and the flexibility areas, my core, and overall strength was lacking, According to the analysis, I had been a little flat and when I checked the scales later, I was weighing 77kg having previously been 78/79 kg.

Alarming? Probably yes, with the pre-season coming up and I decided well might as well follow their program and see what I could get out of it. I may not be looking to go up the grades, but if this program helps me to dominate 5th grade at least, then I’ll be thrilled.

Speaking of 5th grade, I had told JP last month about my intentions to stay in 5ths unless the higher grades are short on quality bowlers. Now with myself being married, I will need to balance married life with my cricket. So, I should keep Saturdays free for cricket and nothing else. The only problem is that some higher grade fixtures and finals are hosted on a Sunday. On that theory, I would rule myself out. It would be a shame if I was a frequent player in the higher grades only to withdraw from the finals. My concern is what others would think. I figured playing in 5ths will allow me to play all games, including the finals, if we make it.

Initially, I would be committed to going up the grades, but my marriage has changed my priorities. I can at least go out and enjoy my cricket in the lower grades, be a senior player to the younger players as well as helping out the captain. Although it’s not guaranteed, it seems like Chris Arcella may become the 5ths skipper on a full-time basis. I just recently happened to see Archie at the shops, and we talked cricket for a bit and also on Facebook messenger. The good thing about Archie is that he has a vision for both team and individual. As like previously after the last season, he’s happy to welcome me with both arms and has already outlined me a role this season. He’s hinting that I bowl in the middle overs and occasionally take the new ball while also putting me up the order to bat. It was a role that I was satisfied with as most of my wickets last season have come from the older ball rather than the new one, including my 5-for against Wests-UC.