June 29 2019

Since the 2018-19 season had ended, I had made a conscious effort to improve both my physical fitness and technical skills (particularly in fielding). Unlike previous years where I was focusing on one superset for weight-training (in each gym session) in the BowlFit app, I tried to cram in three supersets into one gym session. The reasoning is that if I have to miss a gym session anytime, I know that I have managed to train every part of my body at least once. The progress from this as resulted in me putting on 6 kilos of muscle, which I should see that as a positive sign since I could use that to my advantage when it comes to power training.

My last trip to Perth at Easter allowed me to visit Luke at Southern Cricket again. As a result, I went from an action that was a combination of Brett Lee and Danny Morrison to a more slinging action like Lasith Malinga. The reasoning behind this is that it will generate vertical bounce and movement while also controlling the type of delivery I wanted to bowl without having to telegraph it to the batsman as I’m loading up to bowl.

In a bid to maintain the lessons learned from this, I spent the majority of my Tuesday and Thursdays after work bowling in the nets at Gillespie Sports in Edwardstown. Slowly the new action became natural to me, but it obviously required practice. I had started from a short run-up, which I thought might be the way to go for the upcoming season (since subsequent attempts to increase the run-up had reduced my effectiveness). However, one of their coaches had encouraged me to place a bit of faith in my body (as I have good lower-body strength) by increasing my run-up, which would reduce the impact of injury if I stuck by my ways. Cheers Levy. More work needed to be done, though.

Speaking of coaches, I ended up spending time with three of them working on both my fielding and batting. My first fielding session was with Steve Stubbings, the former Derbyshire player and coach (now coaching at East Torrens). He initially highlighted the importance of getting low and staying low when chasing the ball down and had put me through a series of drills, which he says that I had picked up and executed quickly than the Derbyshire players he previously coached. Cheers Stubbo. I instantly warmed up to him and wanted to work under him. Unfortunately, though, he was a top-rated coach, so I ended spending time with Stedgy honing my throwing skills. While there is more work to be done with him on this aspect next month, it is clear that if I slow down my throwing motion, I’ll be able to hit my target more often rather than spraying the ball all over the place.

The Batting coaching was initially more a trial to see how I go. In the end, I ended spending time with Nick, who grooved my head and backlift, which instantly allowed me to hit through the leg side without my head falling over. As he’s also a spinner, he was instrumental when batting against spin, which allowed me to come down the wicket or go back and across depending on the flight and length. He also helped me to commence hitting over the top effectively by explaining that it requires just a full extension of the bat. More work is to be done with him over the coming weeks so far; there have been promising signs.

Even though things have been rosy in the nets, it hasn’t been so away from it. I had initially been looking forward to the Adelaide University pre-season training and hopefully getting some opportunities. Just recently, though, I had learned that the majority of the club’s new recruits are bowlers, which meant I had to fight for opportunities as a bowler alone, which I had accepted since I had to work on my batting and fielding which might be tiebreakers for selections.  Moreover, it seems that preferential treatment would be given to uni students, which obviously won’t sit well with me who is seeking consistent selection based on availability.

Till now, I had been a one-club player for a particular competition. In SMCA in Perth, it was Riverton Rostrata. In the CCSCA, it was Canberra Workers Redbacks and recently Ginninderra within the ACT Premier Cricket competition. Thereby initially, I intended to play for Adelaide University in the ATCA competition. But the thought of paying full fees and playing fewer games concerns me given the current situation. I had to look out for myself and contacted Prince Alfred, whose secretary was keen to get me on board since they’re registering a 4th 2-day team, which would be of interest to me since it’s my preferred format. All it requires now is for Adelaide Uni to sign off the clearance form within two weeks. Otherwise, the ATCA will sign and process the form themselves. At this stage, I’m likely to be a Prince Alfred player.




2018-19 Season review, March 17 2019

It was, indeed, a remarkable season. I know it didn’t quite get off to the best of starts when I suffered the facial injury at preseason, but it did end pretty well yesterday. I took a catch at gully and put in some decent stops in the field, having worked on the fielding with more purpose on Thursday. Fielding had all of a sudden, becoming important for me in terms of selection and personal improvement. Come to think of it; if I could spend more time on fielding than bowling, then I won’t feel overworked with the ball every session. Just recently, I have made a commitment to attempting to work on it during the off-season with the assistance of a professional coach. I hope it would pay off.

Otherwise bowling wise, the season was a success while I didn’t get much batting opportunity. 31 runs at 10.33 aren’t terrible reading when you have scores of only 4 not out, 12, 10, and 5 all season. At least it was better than the stinky single digit the only phase I experienced after making 47 in a 6th Grade game last season. I hope for better days, especially how well I have been hitting the ball in recent times in the nets.

Now to the bowling. After an inauspicious start in 4th Grade against Queanbeyan (four wicketless overs for 18 plus leg cramp), I was on a wicket-taking spree in 5th Grade where there was no game that I went wicketless (all figures after bowling 8 overs):

  • 2/25 for Ginninderra Black against ANU White
  • 3/35 for Ginninderra Yellow against Eastlake Blue Demons
  • 1/46 for Ginninderra Yellow against Weston Creek Molonglo
  • 2/40 for Ginninderra Yellow against ANU White
  • 2/24 for Ginninderra Black against Ginninderra Yellow
  • 3/28 for Ginninderra Black against Weston Creek Molonglo
  • 2/24 for Ginninderra Black against Queanbeyan
  • 3/30 for Ginninderra Black against ANU White

In eight games in 5th Grade, I took 18 wickets @ 14.00 with an economy rate of 3.93 runs per over and a strike rate of 21.3 balls per wicket. Six of those wickets were from opening the bowling with the others when I wasn’t. Statistically, you would argue that I would be better off as a change bowler, but as a matter of fact, it doesn’t matter when I bowl. I’ll take wickets or at least keep the runs down. The six wickets I took opening the bowling in three games for Ginninderra Black, I only conceded just over three runs per over.

Overall stats of 10 games (including the one set for Adelaide University), 19 wickets @ 14.10 with an economy rate of 3.72, and a strike rate of 22.7 imply that it has been a better season statistically. That is an improvement of last season and the season before that. That is remarkable reading: 2016-17 I took 15 wickets; 2017-18, it was 17. Now this season it’s 19. Perhaps it wouldn’t be too surprising if the 2019-20 season was 21 wickets (as each season the tally increases by two), but I don’t think it bothers me too much. Nevertheless, I was happy to pass 50 wickets in Turf cricket that occurred in my last game on the last ball I bowled for Ginninderra.

At this stage, I am inclined to stay with Adelaide University since I have been encouraged to work on fielding, which will help me get more games. Moreover, I am likely to get more opportunities over the uni students as I’ll be available more often than them. Unfortunately, Goodwood is going to be disappointed, having helped me out recently, but I probably need some impartial advice from my coaches.


Pooraka vs Adelaide University at Lincoln Park Oval 2, March 16 2019

March 7, 2019

Up to now, I was confident that next season I would be training with Adelaide University; however, a comment from one of the guys rang a few alarm bells since he hasn’t been getting weekend opportunities to play probably because of his fielding wasn’t up to scratch. While I understood that because the teams were settled, I wasn’t going to get an opportunity, but I was more concerned about obtaining opportunities to play in the following seasons.

Quite honestly, I believe that if I’m available, I should be playing preferably as a frontline bowler. I have been very grateful that Ginninderra has allowed me to blossom with the ball in hand and so I was hoping more of the same this season. That comment from the other person got me thinking if there are a lot of players to fit into four teams every week, then people will have to miss out, and I don’t want to be one of them.

So I had checked out the ATCA website, go through each competition, and see which clubs are fielding the most teams this season. The standout was Goodwood with six, but Para Hills, Brighton, Multicultural Sports Cricket Club, and Prince Alfred Old Collegians stood an equal second with five. Adelaide University was in a joint third with four teams. With that in mind, I should perhaps go and train with the other clubs before the season ends. I already contacted Prince Alfred and Goodwood, and both were welcoming towards new players. It’s just a matter of deciding whom to train with on what day.

But for today, I was going to train with Prince Alfred with the expectation that I would be comfortable in their environment like I had been at Adelaide University. That’s how it panned out for me. I was grateful that they looked after me well, which allowed me to have a bit of fun batting, bowling, and fielding. Unlike Adelaide University, they had a head coach and a nets manager running the sessions, which obviously made it more structured. Moreover, I enjoyed the training on the turf wickets like I have been doing since landing here.

March 12, 2019

Today, I was training at Goodwood. I had been in touch with Nick Oag, who handled their email account and was able to get down to training once they said that they’re willing to welcome new players. Their secretary, Timothy Keen, immediately introduced himself and took my details. I mentioned that Adelaide University had transferred my details from Ginninderra, so I suggested that if Goodwood were going to play me, they would have to work it out with them. Throughout the day, I run in with good rhythm, arms pumping at the same pace as my running speed, which allowed me to load up and got incredible bounce and movement, which gave batsmen plenty of headaches, which resulted in plentiful of edges.

March 14, 2019

At the end of Tuesday’s training, I dropped a few catches, and so thankfully, Nick agreed to help me out with my slips catching today. I was grateful that he could offer advice on my set up and tinker with it so that I can take good slip catches. He also suggested how I could improve my throwing, which was very helpful indeed. It never occurred to me how vital fielding was to become until I reflected on Tuesday night. Thankfully though, when we did the 30 catches session as a team, all that practice did pay off when I was offered a one-off chance, which I took cleanly low down in front of me. Given the improvement, I should strive to give it more importance than before as better fielding, and my commitment towards it will be noted hands down by selectors.

My batting came out better than Tuesday. At the time, their coach Sam “Hooch” Turner suggested that I lowered my backlift to give me enough time to swing the bat as the bowler’s about to deliver. That advice proved to be very useful when I was able to play straight and play expansively when the ball was there with the drive.

March 15, 2019

Remarkably last night, Paul Roberts messaged me that Adelaide University intended to hand me my debut. Now that had put me in a tight spot since I was training with Goodwood that it was a possibility that they might give me a game themselves. So I had emailed Tim Keen, the Goodwood secretary, regarding the mix up because they had to right to know what’s going on. I am thankful grateful that Tim understood the situation and allowed me to play for the Uni if the opportunity arose.

Concerning my possible selection, it would have been a pleasant surprise, but I was more concerned about future seasons. Paul encouraged me not to give up since he knows that there were a few players that were no better than me that played when I wasn’t available. Moreover, he said that I should get opportunities since I’ll be more frequently available than the students in the club. He also encouraged me to work on my fielding, which the majority of the club doesn’t really do that often. Doing more fielding will not be missed by others, he says. Come to think of it, he DOES have a point. I know what I need to do, and I have to be consistent with what I need to achieve, which is to improve on my fielding. Come next season that will be one of my goals so that I’ll become more frequent selection.

As it turned out, when Luke Johnston announced the selections on Facebook, my name was indeed listed and confirms that I’ll be making my debut for the Uni in the ATCA C2 grade under Jim Peters against the bottom-placed Pooraka at Lincoln Park Oval #2. I hope to take my chance, especially with the ball in hand.

March 16, 2019

I arrived pretty early because I didn’t want to be fined for coming late. I initially did get confused by which ground we were on, but one of their guys pointed me in the right direction. The pitch had a mostly green look, which meant from experience, the pitch is going to be very flat, but I noticed that some patches were not green at all on both sides of the wicket. So perhaps there might be some hope for the bowlers.

But Omkar “Andy” Sawant (who did the coin toss since Jim was coming late from work), won the toss and elected to bat much to our delight. Theo Baker got out on the second ball, whipping a full toss straight to mid-wicket. After that, the rest of the batting order settled down with partnerships of 30, 71, 37, 56, and 31 as we powered on to 5 for 225 from our 40 overs. Mo Rafi made 17, James Kimber 61, Brad Kondakov made 42 and Tej Randhawa 25 with Jim Peters and Abhishek Gopalakrishnan not out with 65 and 13 respectively.

During the afternoon tea break, I overheard Jim telling somebody that I was going to get a bowling crack, which did please me a lot. It probably did help to come to training where he was around so he could gauge how I would go as a bowler. Just before we went out to field, Jim told me that I would be coming on as a change bowler which was pretty much my role this season for Ginninderra.

By drinks, we had them at 6 for 43 after 20 overs. Pretty much, we had the game done and dusted. But we couldn’t separate Asser and Musolino, whose seventh-wicket partnership was becoming a menace. Thankfully, Tej found Musolino’s edge that ballooned up for me to take the catch at gully. My first for the club. Despite that breakthrough, we could not bowl them out, and they finished with 9 for 110. Speaking of Tej, he kept it tight and took 4 for 8 from his nine overs.

I did get a bowl at Lachy’s end as the 2nd change bowler. I only bowled four overs, though, since we had them at six down at drinks, and Jim wanted to give Andy and Sabaresh Natarajan a bowl. But I felt I made use of the opportunity. I got the ball to move around a bit, which took several edges through and over the slips. Eventually, my wicket came. Kirkwood had appeared to deflect me into Brad’s gloves, which the umpire said it was pad first, but Kirkwood walked. So it seemed that he did hit it with the bat.

Nevertheless, it all counted. It was indeed my first wicket for the club, and it was my only wicket for the day. I wasn’t really bowling that quickly, though, since I had an overworked left calf from Wednesday’s gym session, which I wasn’t really willing to risk. But that didn’t stop me from bowling two maidens on the trot before being taken out of the attack. A spell of 4-2-8-1 was still a decent day, and I hope for further opportunities.

Canberra to Adelaide Transition, March 7 2019

February 15, 2019

Today was my last day at work with the ATO, and I finished at lunchtime. I was to fly out to Adelaide for the new job tomorrow, and I thought of having one last training session with Masud Rahman in Harrison, which did turn out.

I started off batting, and most of the time, I was facing kids who were at least 10 years younger than me. I was trying to help them out by encouraging them to use their front arm as a guide to where they wanted to land the ball. I think after my tip, they all bowled better even though they couldn’t get me out. My biggest challenge was facing Masud’s younger son Raakin who was swinging the ball both ways as well Darshima Green, whom I encountered in a two-day match in 4th Grade last year. Again, I managed ok, but I always wasn’t able to get the basic rhythm with my backlift.

I then, at Masud’s suggestion, supervised the kids for the bowling. Still, after a while, my wondering eyes detected that Raakin was mucking around with Darshima’s bowling and Masud’s throw-downs and decided to roll the arm over. I managed to get the ball to move away as I intended, but it took some time before I was able to pitch it on the stumps and eventually catch an edge that would have been caught by Gully. Perhaps the right way to sign off from bowling in Canberra.

Before I left, Masud asked me to pose for a photo that would be on Facebook as he was going to discuss me being one of the first players of his Canberra Cricket Academy, which was very touching of him. I was earlier appreciative of the fact that he encouraged me to come down and not worry about the cost since it was all about having fun. He indeed wished me well for my future and hoped that I come down whenever I do visit Canberra.

February 19, 2019

Today was going to be the first time I would be attending training at Adelaide University, a team that I had decided upon some time back while I was in Canberra. I got there late from work due to the traffic but also having mixed up the training ground. I mistook the nets behind Adelaide Oval as our training facilities since the ground was on War Memorial Drive. Still, I then realized that it was the South Australia First-Class team training there, not Adelaide University.

So after wandering around training to walk before deciding that I was better off driving, it took me a further 30 minutes before I arrived at the nets. Thankfully, an adversary from a Facebook group Paul Roberts who captains the Limited Overs division 5 side, guided me through to the right venue.

Unfortunately, though, I was greeted that I arrived with the session about to end, so I was to be bowling for the time. Which probably suited me as it was something I really wanted to do. I was to be bowling on turf wickets for a change, which I like very much since it was the same wickets that we would be playing on for the weekend matches.

I definitely struggled for rhythm in trying to land the ball with some bounce, but it was too slow. After an over or two, I decided to run in and try to swing the ball. I bowled better after that, getting a couple of edges, an inside edge onto the leg-stump, and then a caught and bowled chance that I couldn’t quite get my hands around. The biggest lesson learned was not to worry about just putting the ball there. I should just bowl with a lot of purpose of intending to be aggressive. That change of thinking helped me later on, and Paul was probably impressed when he told me that I was getting the edges. It meant that if I have the speed, the fitness, and the physique to run in and bowl quickly as I can from a short run-up, then I focus on that and perhaps get Luke to suggest little tweaks without compromising anything I’m doing right now.

February 21, 2019

Today was a lot better since I was able to get to the correct ground yet again. This time though, we were on the hard wicket nets since the players who play in the SACA Premier Cricket got first priority of the turf nets. I at least managed to do a bit of everything and enjoyed it very much. Batting wasn’t of the same fluency, but I was able to leave the balls alone that weren’t hitting the stumps. The lack of fluency was more for shot-making, but it is more to do with my backlift and swing since I have to engage my body to hit the ball. Moreover, I have a tendency to try to smash the ball. I should look to time the ball into gaps, which is more of my game.

Bowling was a lot better. I felt that if I pull the ball from my side, I would be able to release it at a fuller length quickly, which was what happened. I was at times bowling fastish outswingers and occasionally get the ball to lift from a length and seam away, which was the delivery I honed under Luke’s leadership. I even bowled a quick short ball by accident, which was miscued and would have been taken by midwicket. Basically, I had a better rhythm and pace than two days ago.

At the end of the session, we did some fielding. One session was run by Jim Peters, who captains one of the two-day sides, and the other was run by the ATCA Coordinator for our club, Luke McAlister. Jim had a group of us split into three areas. One had flat low catches, another had high-ball catches, and the other close-in catches. Jim was hitting a ball to each area again and again. While Luke was pretty much doing high-ball catches.

I did pretty well with the catching, and I felt that my throwing was getting better as I was trying to throw side-arm, which is helping my accuracy as the balls were going to the keeper.

February 23 2019

I was told before I joined Adelaide Uni that I’m unlikely to get a game for the rest of the season since I joined late. But rather than kicking my heels at home doing nothing, I came over to score for the Limited Over Div 5 side at Klemzig against Gaza, who beat them last weekend. So it was more of a revenge game. Nevertheless, Paul asked me to bring my whites just in case, but it was just that. The team had a full side. I was only scoring, which probably for once didn’t bother me since I had an opportunity to experience the standard of Turf cricket in Adelaide as well as warm temperatures as well.

Paul lost the toss, and we were bowling in the heat. What happened next was absolutely remarkable. Our 15-year-old quick Veaco Smith and his fellow opening partner, a jazz musician in the making Brock Niemann, ripped through the batting order to have them 5/27. The five wickets did not fall to catches. Four of them were bowled with one LBW.  It was only some lucky swinging from the lower order that got them to 92. Four of the last five wickets fell to catches. Only four bowlers were used to dismiss Gaza within 22 overs. Veaco took 3/13 off 6 overs, Brock took 2/13 off 5, JL Roberts 3/35 off 5.5, and Tom Spedding 2/28 off 5.

It was just a case of getting the runs with a couple of partnerships. Little we all realized that Gaza wasn’t going to give up without a fight. We were initial trouble at 2 for 4 when both Sean Nugent and Paul were bowled by Simounds for ducks. But Colin Millywood’s stodgy 81 ball resistance for 10 netted partnerships of 19 with Raghav Goel, 28 with Arbaz Kashif and 15 with JL Roberts. His wicket triggered a collapse of 4 for 14. That left us 13 runs to get with just two wickets in hand.

Earlier on, Brock dropped a catch off JL Roberts with the score at 81, which would have ended the innings. Post that drop, Gaza added 11 runs before they lost their last wicket. Now, Brock came in at number 10, and he simply had to make up for that drop. Having opened last week against the same opposition and made 14, there was no doubt that he could do the job which he eventually did. The winning runs though came off four byes, which completed a hard-fought two-wicket victory. Sweet revenge indeed for last week.

Today was, as a matter of fact, pink stumps day, which meant that Gaza had put out a massive feed, and even they had numerous supporters cheering the team on against us. I had also mentioned that it was nice that they have taken such an initiative that not many clubs around Australia don’t normally do. One of the teams that come to mind was the Canberra Workers Redbacks club.