Adelaide Warriors vs Pembroke OS at LJ Lewis, November 27, 2021

November 15, 2021

Looking back, I was very nervous which as a result both my rear deltoids and right wrist were stiff. That contributed to my inability to swing the ball as I liked over the weekend. Now it has been two weeks that I have been unable to swing the ball and it is more to do with the stiff wrist tilt. Luke Wimbridge had warned me about following that habit and it was clear that I did not heed them. Even though I was able to swing the ball at practice with the tilted wrist, it is clear that I need a technical change. Watching YouTube videos of Kiwi quick Adam Milne and Luke’s videos on Facebook reinforced the need to avoid the tilted wrist. Why did I fall into this trap in the first place? It was to find an edge for the extra pace that I picked up at training back in September. Looking back though, it is clear that this kind of delivery should be used sparingly. Perhaps the bit of extra pace that will go with the angle following a couple of outswingers to the right-hander for instance.

That alone, my tactics will need modification as well. I usually bowl straight but on Saturday I was bowling mostly on the pads when the ball failed to swing with the tilted wrist. Instead, I should start with a fourth-stump line to see if I am able to move the ball and accordingly adjust my line. Moreover, during a bowling spell in a match, I must buy myself some time out in the middle to try and outsmart the batter as opposed to self-preserving in getting each ball to swing the ball to my desire. I am hoping once I correct the habits, this will lead towards an improvement in moving the ball come match days, provided that KP still can trust me to deliver with the ball in hand. Having struck twice in seven overs across two matches, I really want to continuously prove to him that I can do a job. It will be a disaster otherwise, that will lead me into a massive mental meltdown that I had several weeks ago, which I wish to avoid. I suppose, there may be no harm in replying back to KP with something like “Really well, can’t wait to have a bowl when my chance comes” when he asks me how I’m doing. In that way, if I come across as confident, then it gives him confidence in me.

November 22, 2021

I finally figured it out after 30 minutes of toil. I was simply trying to bowl too fast and in the process, I couldn’t move the ball of the straight. As a result, for two weeks in a row, I was exposed by my inability to swing the ball away from the right-hander. My run-up wasn’t at fault, it was more to do with me trying to whip my arms across as fast as possible. Once I started to slow things a touch, my heavy balls were coming out – Outswing with a bit of bounce, which was clearly missing. And I was able to get the ball to move off the concrete pitch in the nearby Mawson Lakes dilapidated nets. If I could do that, then I should be able to swing the ball on the turf pitch. It also helped that I broke away from the wrist tilt habit. Moreover, I had a really good session under the warm sun which was slightly physically taxing but hoping it will pay dividends as the season will heat up from December.

As usual, following my net session, I was always trying to explore any little tips and tricks to bowl that little faster from countless YouTube videos. It hardly matters though if the body is sore and I know from experience when I have on countless occasions, tried bowling full steam despite being sore. It all stems from the mind, as it seeks perfection and thereby confidence ahead of a match. At this stage, there are at least 12 people (including myself) that are available for our next match against Pembroke OS at home. Initially, I was contemplating whether to request KP to give me another go knowing that family commitments would exclude me from selections the following week. However, I’m better off not doing anything at all. It will a blessing in disguise if I get overlooked since I will have more time to attend to my bowling ahead of a potential match on the 11th of December (the final match prior to the Holiday break).

November 26, 2021

Today was developing an understanding of my bowling technique. I found that I can get through my action faster if I push my front arm forward as opposed to upward. The result was that pushing my front arm upward resulted in me bowling short and slow deliveries as opposed to fast and full. Moreover, when I ‘slide’ my bowling arm down my hip as opposed to pushing my arm to the side away from my body, I get the ball to swing after pitching as opposed to slight seam movement.

I kept bowling for an hour in trying to go through my allotment of tricks in preparation for tomorrow. After the session, I was confident and declared to KP that I am ready for tomorrow. Sometime earlier, I wondered if I was better off sitting out but KP asked me to play due to player shortage. When I looked at the team sheet when it came out at lunchtime, Boree was listed to keep. I assumed that he needed an extra seamer as a result, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if Amit Patel, will be sharing the keeping duties with Boree like he did against Kilburn. Having declared my readiness to bowl which KP was happy to head, I was hoping not only for a better return but also more overs. If Boree was not to bowl at all, I have to stand up and fill the void. If offered the opening bowling position which is likely to be with Imran Soni and Viren Shah, I will take it. However, I must be prepared to come on as a change bowler like before.

November 27, 2021

As a home team, we were very disorganized today since we had no team kit. As a result, we started late but, courtesy of quick thinking led by one of the vice-captains Amit Patel in which he managed to grab two sets of stumps and bails and cones, we managed to start as soon as we can. I think we started about 1.15 or so. Earlier, KP won the toss and chose to bat.

We had a new opening partnership with Amit going to open with Boree. They added 36 before both of them got out soon after each other. Even though KP got off the blocks quickly, he was out LBW for 17. We were wobbling a bit at 3 down for about 60 but the other vice-captain Amrish Patel with Hari Iyer steadied the innings by raising a half-century stand. Once again, after a good partnership, both batsmen fell. Amrish for 40, Hari for 16. Thereafter, we had a mini-collapse.

I walked into bat at no. 10 this time with four overs to go, with strict instructions to ensure we batted out the overs. I survived for three overs, trying to give Sonu Gupta the strike as much as possible as he was getting on a roll. I then held out on the third ball of the over, trying to hit out but failed to clear the Point fielder. Having crossed, Sonu then smashed a six before a run-out ended the innings on 187 with Sonu not out on 32.

We had a defendable total on the board and we were off to a good start. Viren had both openers caught off attacking strokes before Boree won an LBW shout. Thereafter, there was a recovery, similar to our innings, with their left-hander in an aggressive mood. I was due to come on the 21st over, but now I regret my attitude which was why Chirag Modi was preferred, following a drinks break. I was surprised by the opportunity but in hindsight, I was probably making an excuse knowing my weakness for left-handed batters.

It worked out in the end but my afternoon got worse. I missed a regulation skier. Actually, I almost had it but I lost control and the ball spilled out of my hands and onto the ground. And it pained me for the rest of the match even though I tried my very best to raise my own spirits. Eventually, Chirag broke through as he claimed five of the final seven wickets to fall. He had the left-hander caught behind as he tried another leg-side heave. From there he ran through the rest of the batting. In the end, we won by 36 runs but it could have been a lot worse, which made KP very concerned.

Even though I am three from three in LO4s, it seems as though that I am becoming a liability especially if I am not getting many opportunities with the ball in hand. Given that the move to LO4s has not worked out as I expected, internal questions will be raised about whether my competitive juices have definitely dried out. I have the week off due to family commitments to find a way to salvage my love for the game before it gets too late.

Adelaide University vs Adelaide Warriors at Park #12, November 13 2021

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.

Adelaide Warriors vs Kilburn at LJ Lewis, November 6, 2021

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.  

Adelaide Warriors vs Adelaide Lutheran at LJ Lewis, October 23, 2021

October 2, 2021

As I have learned from various people including my former captain Chris Arcella, match practice is the best form of practice. This is because you can gain experience from playing out in the middle which can be used in subsequent games. Adelaide Warriors were initially planning to schedule a practice match between the LO1 and LO4 sides but in the lead-up to today, which was when the match was scheduled for, the LO4 squad members will not be able to spare a full afternoon. Given that it is a long weekend, it made sense from a family point of view. Luckily for me, my family had no plans as such for today which made it easier for me to put my hand up. However, in the lead-up to today, I was battling with that thigh niggle from last weekend’s practice. Hence, I was wrapping myself in cotton wool by avoiding intense cardio while rubbing the affected area with Voltaren at least three times a day.

Initially, I felt I was fit and ready to go for the practice match, which was to be against Blue Brigade Sports Club. However, the niggle reappeared while I was batting which left me battling throughout the match. The captain, Mandeep Singh had wanted to look at my batting and had asked me to bat at three. I completely struggled against the extra pace where I was dropped before scoring. However, I managed to hang around for 32 balls for nine runs before I held out at the deep as I had become a liability. My innings contrasted with several other guys who smashed boundaries at will which helped us to 174 even though we were bowled out before we used our allocated 35 overs.

I only disclosed the niggle to my captain and vice-captain after completing an over with the ball from a short run-up. Apart from conceding a boundary on my second ball and the last ball of my three-over spell, I didn’t bowl badly. I had a decent shout for an LBW and had induced a top edge which was dropped. Despite my handicap, we won comfortably courtesy of a six-wicket haul to Suresh Wadala whose variations had Blue Brigade in a spin. For me, though the best ball of the match went to the 2nd vice-captain Shubhang Shah who struck first ball when the batter padded up which I suspect was a googly as Shubhang was a leg-spinning bowler.

Despite the win, there were concerns in our all-round game as pointed out by our captain. One of those concerns was the fitness of several of our potential regular bowlers, me included. The feedback was fair, and this fact will become a major motivating factor ahead of the season opener in two weeks’ time. The biggest announcement that came was that the prime focus is to ensure that the squad has enough eligible players to come to the finals where the minimum criteria is eight games. This implies that people will be rotated depending on who is available. That itself is personally a good thing as I can spend time with family without having to grumble over missing a match. After all, I need to ensure that I play at least eight matches as opposed to aiming for every single match.

October 10, 2021

The focus this week, was to regain my fitness so that I can go and bowl at practice again. I was still rubbing my thigh with Voltaren three times a day, but I was able to push myself with the running. On Wednesday, I ran at 15 km/h on the treadmill and initially didn’t feel any niggle afterward which was a positive sign. Then on Friday, I ran at 20 km/h again on the treadmill and again, did not feel anything whatsoever. I had immediately declared to Vikram, that I was fit and ready to go even though I was unavailable for the upcoming practice match.

Even though I had regained my fitness, I needed to get myself back into the cricketing groove. At this point, in our private WhatsApp group, I had proposed to meet for training this Tuesday as no showers are currently forecasted with the rest of the week under a rainy cloud. At the time of writing, no one has responded to it, implying that I may have to resort to bowling on my own at Salisbury North Oval. Moreover, even though I had indicated my availability for the season opener against MSCC, there is no guarantee that I’ll get a game which will be the case when there are more than 11 availabilities.

October 12, 2021

Training was on as four others have indicated that they will attend which itself is good enough for me. I needed practice with both batting and bowling to help myself prepare for the weekend should I play. If it wasn’t the case, I would have commenced a trend that I wouldn’t hesitate to do even if it cost me valuable game time, which was to withdraw from selection. I was willing to take that stance as going into a match without any practice could spell disaster to both myself and the team.

Today was a good opportunity to correct a few mistakes with the bat especially towards checking the grip, stance, and backlift which deprived me of fluency with shotmaking in that practice match against Blue Brigade. In that match, I didn’t adopt the back and across method that was inspired from watching the likes of Alec Stewart, Greg Chappell, Mark Waugh, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne bat, which was partly successful in practice but didn’t proceed with it was costing me time to get forward to the pitched-up delivery. It is time to experiment today to see if it helps my footwork.

Moreover, it is a good opportunity to start monitoring my bowling workloads as over bowling on my very first training session of the season led to my niggle which took a while to overcome. Given that we as a club are only playing one-day matches, it would make sense not to bowl any more than 54 balls (equivalent to nine overs, the maximum allocation in ATCA 40 over matches).

However, practice did not go to plan but there are some positives to take back. The back and across movement was very helpful against the dog thrower but my tendency to slog the slower bowlers to the leg side was due to my grip. From what I remember, the tips of the two fingers and the thumb on the bottom hand were supposed to pinch the bat handle. I didn’t remember it while I was batting. As for the bowling, my stiff upper body muscles prevented me from getting through my action quickly, and ended up banging the ball in through my muscular strength, depriving me of swinging the ball both ways. It forced me to think by resorting to changes of pace especially when bowling to the big-hitting duo of Suresh Wadala and Imran Soni. This experience was good if I have a bowl against big hitters throughout the season.

October 13, 2021

As a result of me banging the ball in, I was getting slight lower back pain while the stiff upper body muscles were still there. I did manage to find a YouTube video that can alleviate the pain which now I’ll have to do. Even though I was able to fit heavy weights for my lats, biceps, and back, I wasn’t confident in going for a run on the treadmill for the fear of aggravating my back. As for the bowling, I managed to stumble on a YouTube video on the 4 tent-peg theory presented by former first-class cricketer and bowling coach Ian Pont which will have to be a reference point moving forward. Perhaps, I may have to take a step back to practice this theory from the crease bowling extending to my usual run-up. Just to avoid any suspicions, I will have to communicate this across to all the batsmen I’ll be bowling to in practice. If I want to avoid that, I must consider coming to practice at least 30 mins before practicing on my own before going to my usual run-up.

That aside, I had just made a difficult decision to withdraw my availability for the week. It was partly due to the excessive availabilities (which will be the case throughout the season) but more importantly, I must attend a cultural event which starts at 6pm sharp. I could have negotiated my way to leave early but based on my experience, the club will not agree to it (which may impact my selection moving forward). Had I been picked for the season opener, which was in the Tea Tree Gully area, I would have to leave by around 4.30-5pm to come home, freshen up and get dressed to get to the event on time. If there are any positives from my sacrifice, it would be that firstly, any rain leading into the match might cause the match to be abandoned if the pitch was not covered.  Secondly, I will have another training session to find my feet before going into the deep end in a home game against Adelaide Lutheran.

October 19, 2021

I didn’t really miss much as Round 1 was abandoned well before a ball was bowled. ATCA had made this decision considering the continuous rain during the week. It was a surprise decision for us considering that LJ Lewis which was to be the home game for LO4 had covers put in place. Nevertheless, it was quick thinking within the club to arrange a LO1 vs LO4 interclub match which was a high scoring game where a superb hundred by Boree Kieng meant that LO1 had to chase 237 in 40 overs which they managed to do, courtesy of fifties from Vikram and Rahul Rana and a cameo from Surjeet Parmar, a.k.a Fanta for his bubbly personality which probably reflects his batting. I wonder though, would I have made much difference? Maybe, maybe not. I would have been smashed around like I was at practice or came out with respectable figures. Who knows?

I did everything at today’s training session. I started off with fielding having arrived late to practice. I caught every high-ball chance that came to me by tracking the ball and running towards where I perceived the ball may hand to give myself enough time to steady myself under the ball. After that, I was requested to bowl. As I was about to grab my cricket ball, my captain Mandeep Singh said to me along the lines of “Take it easy”. He knew that I suffered a niggle earlier this month after too much bowling at practice last month. From memory, I bowled the equivalent of six overs where I applied the four-tent peg theory. It wasn’t until towards the end of my bowling stint that I rediscovered my rhythm through my run-up (enabling me to swing the ball both ways and get my off-cutter to grip the pitch) as earlier I was running in too fast. Towards the end of the session, I got a bat. Even though I finally figured out the pinch grip, I was still struggling for fluency with my batswing which resulted in me hitting mostly to leg. It was then I realized that if I started swinging the bat as early as I could (given that my hand-eye coordinator and reflexes are not the greatest), then I can get into better positions with my feet, which is what had happened. As a result, I started hitting the ball better and was able to use my feet to Suresh Wadala’s spin. Again, it all has to do with rhythm this time with the bat. This was the session I finally got to really know my techniques which I can use as a checklist whenever I go and play. It was indeed a massive confidence-boosting session.

October 22, 2021

I have been selected for tomorrow’s clash with Adelaide Lutheran at our home ground LJ Lewis. During the off-season, the club managed to get a pavilion erected at the ground. Rather than getting changed in the open, we can do it indoors. I haven’t yet checked out the new change rooms. Tomorrow will be the first time I’ll be using it. As for the actual match, I was contemplating whether to request an extra net session to continue practicing my rhythmical bat-swing but in the end, it wasn’t necessary. I am going to back myself to remember it come game time. If needed, I can request throwdowns before going out to bat.

One doubt I had was the length of my run-up. After a brief session on the power climber at the gym, I went to the Mawson Lakes cricket nets to fix up my run-up. As it turned out, my rhythmical run-up needs 16 steps from the popping crease. On Tuesday, I had estimated 13 steps which made me suspect that I had been unknowingly overstepping the popping crease and over pitching the ball half the time. Hence, while that aspect has now been fixed, I probably need to do a test run tomorrow so that I don’t overstep the crease tomorrow.

October 23, 2021

Today was a forgettable day which left me questioning myself again whether I should really commit myself to cricket at all. I had dropped a hot chance at long-on off Fanta’s bowling. I had initially gone for a reverse cup, but it brushed my fingers and went for four. While I was able to realize that I could have taken on my side like a slip fielder’s catch, that drop brought me down yet again. It became a distraction as I mucked up a throw to the bowler as well as nearly running myself on the first legal delivery I faced. I found it hard to overcome the disappointment of letting people down thereby questioning myself. I would be happy to spend more time at home as opposed to going through the motions on the weekends whenever I’ve dropped a catch. However, If I could crack this mentality through self-motivation then it will do me a lot of good.

My contribution was very quiet. I bowled one over, got hit for four yet got my outswinger going but I had been doing a lot of chasing and retrieving in the lead up to my solitary over, which was why I was short of a gallop. I was hoping then that I might get another opportunity later which never came. I have no idea why I only got one over, but I do not want to question my captain’s call publicly. His decisions need to be respected. Chasing 208, I was hoping that at least I might have been given a greater opportunity with the bat. Instead, I strode out at no. 9 which we needed over a run a ball. I managed to hang around for a little bit with the early hinge of the bat that had helped me. But I got out playing across the line rather than playing straight. In the end, we lost by 51 runs.

While it is earlier in the season, I felt out of my depth. But this is my team and I want to be a part of it. This is because the leadership team has already demonstrated the true value of the club which was to build a family-friendly atmosphere. The only thing I need to do was to self-motivate myself back into a positive mindset. As for the limited opportunities, I need to grasp them to make myself be counted.

A fresh start, September 25 2021

Last year was a shocker off the field while I was trying to balance both my cricket and family commitments which proved to be a disaster. It was a shame that my actions left me no choice but to leave PAOC and start afresh having fallen out of favour. Nevertheless, I must acknowledge that PAOC gave me the opportunities which Adelaide Uni couldn’t guarantee, and I responded with runs, wickets and catches in the handful of games I was there for, thereby justifying their faith and confidence in me.

However, I needed to start afresh at a new club with a new mentality, which I managed to do by joining the Adelaide Warriors. So far, they have shown to be a very family friendly club and so far, several people in the club have gone out of their way to look after me. I remember one time when a couple of people from the club who were also on the Indian Mela organising committee, took me aside, shared their food and we talked cricket and the club. One of them assured my wife that cricket will not get in the way of family which matters the most. That statement gave me the confidence to just go out and enjoy whatever I am doing, whether it’s cricket or family.

While, training had started a few weeks back, I didn’t really rush towards grabbing my kitbag since there was work to do at home. Previously, I used to be desperate to go to training as I was over-serious about my game. If I was disappointed over a net session, I would be looking to go to the nets every day until the eve of the match to regain my confidence. Now, I should take the positives to keep my mind fresh and confidence high towards the match.

Today, my new mentality worked at training. Having been short of a gallop as I hadn’t bowled for a while, I regained my rhythm having adjusted my grip and eyesight and started swinging the ball both ways at pace which caught the eye of the new leadership group for the season as I troubled all the batters I bowled to, even though I couldn’t rattle the stumps. With the guidance of the seniors, I learnt how to be a thinking bowler which will help save runs and possibly gain wickets. My pace was the result of the intense diet and fitness over the last two months that resulted in a weight loss of 8 kgs. I had initially swaped the BowlFit program with the program that I received some time ago from Southern Cricket, as my technique was honed through them. As the weight ballooned towards the high end of the 80s, I added both HIIT on the Treadmill and power training which resulted in the significant weight loss.

On the eve of the training session, Vikram Rajpurohit messaged me to advise that I was to be added to the LO1 squad, which seemed that the team manager, Suresh Wadala would have had a say as he had told me that he was going to recommend my name. From what I learnt previously, LO1 is a tough division, more tough compared to the C grades in ATCA. Nevertheless, having performed well in higher grades in ACT Premier Cricket, LO1s will be no different if we bowl with a 4-piece ball compared to a 2-piece ball I was using in LO6s.

Given that I maybe a critical piece of the LO1 jigsaw, I will need to look after my body in terms of diet, fitness and workload. Before leaving training, I was experiencing soreness in my inner thighs and right now as I write, my soreness has transferred to the shoulder. As I’m only going to play one day matches where I’ll bowl no more than overs, I will need to be smart with my bowling workloads in the lead up to every match. If I don’t play every week, that will be good for the body.