November 6, 2022
Joining New Zealand and England in the semi-finals are India and Pakistan. This was after the Dutch unexpectedly killed the Proteas’ chances by beating them by 13 runs, followed by the virtual quarter-final between Pakistan and Bangladesh, where the winner would qualify for the semis. It was to be Pakistan who scrapped home by 5 wickets, chasing just 127 to victory. Except for New Zealand, all other nations have a great opportunity to join the West Indies in becoming dual winners of the World Twenty20. Interestingly, it has been over a decade since either of these three teams won the title. Although I would like India to win (as it is my family’s mother country hence why I also support them), I also hope that New Zealand finally wins a World Cup trophy after recent years of heartbreak.
My chances of playing on the coming Saturday look bleak, with showers, forecast for the whole afternoon, but you never know. This season, whenever a washout was predicted, the weather turned out to be the opposite. Fingers crossed, as it will be my only game for a while due to family and music commitments ahead (not to mention one weekend of cricket lost to the day-night test match at Adelaide Oval between Australia and the West Indies).
November 11, 2022
Selections had come out last night, and my name wasn’t there. That was because I apparently was called into mandatory music practice on Saturday afternoon ahead of the concert, which will occur in a fortnight. It was a good thing, as the Saturday forecast did not budge. It is likely to be rained off at some stage during the day. My next game will likely be after I return from Singapore for a conference. Hence, I have more time to get my bowling right. However, I did practice some bowling this week, emphasising building a good rhythm, hitting the deck and moving the ball after pitching. My epiphany had come from watching clips of Sir Richard Hadlee that I felt I was wasting too much energy in my runup, denying me the opportunity to properly rotate my bowling arm to move the ball consistently. Hence, on the two occasions I practised, I focused on developing an economical run to the wicket. Not only did it not hamper my ability to hit the deck and move the ball, but I was also able to conserve my energy. Moreover, I soon became curious about biomechanics (like what if I kicked my left foot before landing, which resulted in some extra bounce with the movement).
Hopefully, once my concert is over on the 26th, I can make an effort to train where I felt I could potentially also work on my batting backlift and rhythm, which enabled me to make 33, 24 not out and 26 not out in my only chances at the batting crease in 2020. Nevertheless, the idea of making an appearance in training is to show Gepps Cross my bowling skills which could lead to bowling opportunities on the weekends, given that playing opportunities will be in abundance (according to Mick) on either side of the break.
December 10, 2022
Music Concert over, my attention was towards club training. But unfortunately, I couldn’t make it to training last week, nor was there training on Thursday with the day-night test match already commenced. By then, the T20 world cup was also over, with Pakistan unable to repeat the events of 1992 as England became the first team to hold both World Cup trophies.
Nevertheless, I still managed to get some bowling done over the week. I was very rusty on Monday, having not bowled for at least two weeks. However, the results were there on the other end. The ball wasn’t moving much at a gentle pace, and my line and length were all over the place. However, on Tuesday morning, I thought, what if I could try to pull down my front arm. Hence, I tried that for the rest of the week and lo and behold, I was moving the ball both ways after pitching while hitting the pitch hard. Due to time constraints on Tuesday and Wednesday, I only bowled two overs each evening, but I was getting instant results. I didn’t bowl on Thursday due to a slight thigh/groin stain; Friday was my scheduled leg day. I did bowl on Friday, but I only bowled one over due to chest soreness.
Despite the limited number of overs, I felt my bowling was on the upswing. I feel that hitting the pitch hard while moving the ball both ways should hold me in good stead for a very limited summer. The key, though, is to keep me fresh for bowling. Doing major chest exercises, such as the Bench Press the day before training or matches, isn’t a good idea, as I found out the hard way yesterday. I hope, though, on the coming Thursday that I can not only show the club what I’m capable of with the ball but also make sure I get some batting practice done, having figured out the stance and backlift which helped me two summers ago.
December 15, 2022
Even though I had arrived that morning from Singapore, I made an effort to attend club training for the first time since joining Gepps Cross, having managed an extra couple of hours of sleep in the early afternoon. At the start, all of us present were doing fielding conducted by the coach Daniel March. We were initially divided into four groups where Marchy would hit the ball in the air or on the ground. Someone will have to field the ball, get it to the guy standing over the stump (or rather hit it), and then throw it to the keeper. Whenever there was a bad throw, everyone had to do five pushups. It wasn’t too bad on both fronts, particularly on the punishment scale (better than being punished for dropping a catch). Like I did in a match last month, I didn’t get any catching opportunities, but I at least managed to field the ball cleanly and get a straight throw into the keeper.
Then it was time for some net practice. I had taken out my new 4-piece Kookaburra Senator cricket ball but struggled for control. Yet, I managed to move the new ball both ways on some occasions and on a couple of occasions, I got some bounce. Truth be told, I struggled for rhythm, but I was happy with what I saw as I was mainly pitching the ball up. The biggest takeaway was the batting. I recalled the stance and backlift from two summers ago and made a slight adjustment with my hands which enabled me to drive, cut and pull while also being aggressive against spin by coming down the wicket whenever the ball was flighted. However, I had struggled against the slow-medium bowling as I was playing the ball far too early, resulting in hearing the death rattle twice. So, I had to not swing the ball too early or come down the wicket to make my own pace.
Now I felt ready for the weekend. The selections were released an hour after training, which finished at 7pm. Unfortunately, my wish to play LO6s wasn’t granted as they failed to field a side with a minimum of seven players. Rather, I was selected to play in LO3s for the second time in six weeks. As I recalled my conversation with Macca back then, he may have played some part in my selection. Even though he is not the captain, I hope to get an opportunity to contribute this weekend with the ball in hand. If I can score some runs, that will be a bonus.
December 17, 2022
Since moving to Adelaide in early 2019, I have played on turf wickets at two secondary colleges: St Paul’s and Prince Alfred College. Today, I will play in a third secondary college, Roma Mitchell Secondary College, more infamously known for a COVID cluster last year. From what I heard, the wicket within Roma Mitchell had been curated by a SACA curator, former SA and WA quick Trent Kelly, which I heard was going to be a good cricket wicket. However, ‘Tricky’ Summers advised me that a couple of weeks ago, the wicket was slow and low. Remains to be seen how it will play today, though.
The captain, Adam Antrobus, won the toss and elected to bat, despite Marion not having the minimum number of players to constitute a team (seven). Tricky and Adam Drew gave us a solid start adding 45; Tricky played a few shots upfront while Drewy held the fort. After Tricky fell for a solid 30, Drewy and Ash Mac continued with a 61 run stand for the second wicket, where Drewy attempted to up the ante with Ash Mac as support. During his innings, However, during Drewy tried to work a delivery behind square on the leg side, he usually picked out Sam Streng, who fielded either at Square Leg or Short Fine Leg. Not so surprisingly, Drewy picked him out again, this time caught trying to glance down the leg side on 46. From 1 for 106, we lost wickets regularly as we tried to pick up the pace, but in the end, we managed 7 for 163 from our 40 overs. As for Ash Mac, he managed to get to 50 off just 60 balls, in a manner no different to how Pakistan’s Shan Masood had played in the recent T20 world cup.
Hence, we had a total on the board, but we noticed that Marion had usually tried to bowl at the stumps with the fielders providing strong support. These were the two things we needed to get right to come out on top. Nevertheless, we managed to do that with some help from Marion’s opening bat Josiah Woodberry, who carried his bat for 38 off 119 balls, an innings similar to Sunil Gavaskar’s in the 1975 Cricket World Cup against England. During the bowling innings, we deliberatively defended against Josiah but attacked the other batters to get him out. This strategy, dictated by our captain, paid off, and Marion only managed 7 for 134 in reply. Josiah and Ben Capper provided a similar solid start to us, with a 55 run stand before our captain broke that partnership. Thereafter, his tactics, as described earlier, bore fruit, where Marion lost a further 6 for 39 against the bowling of Adam, Macca, Craig Loader and Jono Makai. Even though Josiah and Sam Streng added 40 runs at the end, it was too late. Hence, we won by 29 runs.
As for my contribution, I didn’t bat nor bowl but ended up fielding the entire run chase. Yet, I was again appreciated by Macca for my intensity, given that I was seen hustling around the field and ensuring that I didn’t midfield the ball while saving some crucial runs in the process. However, a few hours later, I started to wonder, even though my fielding was appreciated, when will I get an opportunity to show the new club my all-round skills, especially with the ball in hand. It started to eat away at me as I was twice listed to bat at 9 and had not yet bowled a single delivery this season. The best thing to do for now is to sleep on it during the Christmas/New Year break and raise the matter before the season restarts on January 7.