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.


ANU White vs Ginninderra Black at Dickson, February 9 2019

February 2, 2019

New job all finalized with a starting date on the 18th of February in Adelaide,  I had to say goodbye to Ginninderra, which I did over Facebook, indicating that I much appreciated the support over the three years that allowed me to perform mostly with ball in hand. The messages from the club were incredibly supportive. Most people didn’t want me to go, but more importantly, everyone had passed on their best wishes to me and indicated that I would always be welcomed back.

The entire ACT, Premier Cricket competition, had the bye this weekend due to the test match at Manuka Oval. So instead of playing, I ended up rolling my arm over in the nets in Franklin and even bowled to Sumanth Purelli, who was having a hit with his Telugu mates. I had bowled Sumanth, a decent heavy ball that rose and hit his splice. Later on, since I was trying to pitch it on a full length, I managed to rap Sumanth on the pads. While it was indeed some positives, my run-up was a mess since I was immediately trying to sprint, which affected my rhythm and, in turn, affected my accuracy.  I had some work to do.

February 4, 2019

I had mooted the possibility of attending training today, but the chance of rain put me off. So I didn’t bother. I thought about hitting the gym instead, but by the time I left home, it was past 6.30pm and deduced that I probably wouldn’t have enough time to do my usual weight training plus stretches and be home before 8.30pm. So I instead headed for the nets, but it took me almost half an hour as I drove around the Gungahlin area for a free net for bowling practice. Having checked there initially, I ended up at Franklin nets as a last resort, and thankfully, I saw an open net. I managed to catch up with a fellow club man Simran Singh Gill (I call him Sim), who has busy coaching a girl from behind and had mentioned to him about my pursuit.

It was almost 7pm when I bowled my first ball, but unlike Saturday, I had better rhythm since I focused more on a gradual build-up of my run-up. I also made a conscious effort to pull my bowling hand to the right hip on my pre-delivery jump, which produced my desired out-swinger even when it was about a short of a length. Nevertheless, I felt I was bowling quickly.

30 balls later, I was bowling at Sim with my new ball. The next 42 balls proved to be a good contest. Even when I changed to a white ball due to the light, it didn’t really impact my effectiveness. I got the ball to move away, and since he was at times pushing the ball, I was able to beat his bat from time to time. Even though he played some excellent shots, I had him edging twice. First was my stock outswinger, which probably the few he pitched up, which would have been snaffled at second slip. The second ball was a very rare slower ball. I tried with my action, which he edged to where the keeper would have been.

At the end, when Sim called it stumps, it was 8.15pm, and both of us had mutual respect. He thought I bowled pretty well, and I thought he played some excellent shots. It was, indeed, a good contest. The fact that I still bowled a decent pace after bowling the equivalent of 12 overs was a massive tick to my endurance and my effectiveness from a long run-up in pretty warm conditions.

The progress was very positive towards my last Saturday in Ginninderra colors.

February 5, 2019

I had a chat with Luke Wimbridge over Facebook today and asked him if I pulling my bowling hand to the hip really produced the required bounce and movement. His answer was yes, but I had to rotate and drive the hand through with the drive of the right hip to generate the power. It dawned on me that my desire to be a tearaway quick was dampened by that response. Thereby, his replies meant that I should focus on improving my heavy ball that will hit the splice, and I felt better by that thinking when I immediately thought about Andy Roberts, who had a similar approach in his bowling, which made him reasonably quick during his prime. I just need to hone my run-up and focus on that heavy ball while trying to hit the right length, which would be invaluable on flat wickets.

Which is what I did after work at the Franklin nets. I managed to bowl 24 balls before the rains came, but I was able to bowl the heavy ball consistently on the same line with variable length. In the past, I would get pissed off if I’m unable to bowl my perfect ball all the time, but today I accepted that particular fact as the unpredictability of the lengths could perhaps mess up a batsman’s mind which could result in wickets.

February 6, 2019

I tried bowling again in the nets with the same action as yesterday, but I was bowling short, banging the ball halfway up the wicket. I only came to that conclusion having deliveries 36 balls. Did I know what I could fix? The answer was yes. I tried making my arms more fluid into my action, and again, I was able to bowl the heavy ball, but crucially, it was at a much better length with more outswing than earlier in the session.  Increasing the fluidity of my arms at least minimizes the stress on the back, which would have been caused by the jerkiness of the action. I’m hoping to maintain the excellent work tomorrow.

February 7, 2019

Today was the same result as yesterday. Fluid action via the arms together with a faster run-up as resulted in 30 heavy balls at a good pace. I’m learning a bit more about my action as I go along. My left (non-bowling) hand controls the line where I want to pitch the ball. The wrist on my bowling hand determines the direction of the ball movement. Perhaps while not yet confirmed, how deep I place the ball in my hand could determine the length the ball gets pitched at.

Thereby for me, it is essential to get both my left hand and my right wrist correct so that I make the batsman plays to my tunes and to give ‘em hell as long as the run-up is fast and fluid. It will be all a perfect combination. Earlier on, I felt my action wouldn’t be dissimilar to the right-handed version of Mitchell Starc, but our approaches are pretty different, and Starc’s obviously stronger and has a longer run-up.

Towards the end, though, I came off four steps and proceeded to bowl one over at a reduced pace and one over at full speed. The reason behind it is to be prepared should there be any injury or illness concern on the day, or it’s too hot to be running from my usual mark.

February 8, 2019

After a week full of practice that resulted in the equivalent of 30 overs bowled, I am ready for the final hurrah for Ginninderra, which will be my 37th game, and I need 3 more wickets to reach 50 wickets for the club. It would definitely be a great way to go, although it would be much sweeter if it materializes into a win.

I had told Adam beforehand that I am willing to go up the order to Number 3 if required, given it’s the only position I haven’t batted in for the club. It was a brave request, given my terrible past record batting in that position.

I should instead look to go out and score from ball one, and the synthetic wicket we’re playing tomorrow should allow me to do that. Of course, I need to have a good shot selection, which means defending or leaving the good balls and play shots on the slightly loose deliveries.

February 9, 2019

We are to start one hour early so that people can attend the Big Bash game at Manuka later today. I was to play my last match at Dickson as I learned that it used to be a turf ground for Northies until the Harrison turf pitches came about. I was to play my last game with Adam and Simon, and I was hoping given our combined success together this season, it would be a fitting way to finish. Thankfully, it was a perfect day for cricket also. Not too hot, thereby allowing me to run in from my increased run-up.

Adam decided to field first upon winning the toss. Langman and Lang defied us for the first 20 overs, adding just 54 on the board, although they got a bit lucky when we missed a couple of run-outs. Simon, for once this season, bowled out his allocation, conceding just 16 runs in the process. He bowled pretty well and was unfortunate to beat the bat and miss a tough caught and bowled. At the other end, Liam O’Connell and Aditya Dwivedi weren’t too bad, but they went for a few runs.

Both Adam and I came on for two overs apiece and kept it tight. My first bowl with the lengthen run-up was ok. I was at times, bowling a bit wide, but the ball was coming out quicker than before. Nevertheless, I didn’t really go for runs. I continued after drinks and broke the opening stand when I got Lang out (again for the third time this season), caught well by Aditya running in at mid-off. After that, I bowled without luck as Langman and Zahid Mumtaz held us up. Having bowled five overs for just one wicket for about 11-12 runs, Adam took me off as he needed a wicket. But his experiment with Dom Tran nearly paid off when Aditya just couldn’t get his hands to a high catch at long-on. However, Adam dismissed both batsmen in consecutive deliveries, and he immediately brought me back after Dom Tran’s three overs cost 23 runs.

The first ball of the new spell was down the leg-side, but I couldn’t believe it that Albrecht got a feather, which was well held by our young keeper Jack Stokes. That left me one wicket away from 50 wickets, but it was a bit of a wait as Ashwin Devanathan chanced his armed and whipped a few across the line. Liam came back on after Adam finished with 2/30 from his eight overs and proceeded to break the top of the off-stump when bowling Ford.

On the last ball of my spell, I got a wicket with a slower ball when Mick Burke inside-edged a slower ball onto his stumps, and finally, the 50th wicket was achieved. It was a relief to get there. My last ball for Ginninderra resulted in a wicket, and that too my 50th. I finished with 3/30 from my eight overs. So all the work with the lengthened run-up while trying to run in full tilt didn’t compromise on my performance at all. That last wicket meant this season will end with my best wicket aggregate ever as I crossed 18 wickets in eight consecutive wicket full matches (after a wicketless start in the first week of October).

The last two balls of the ANU White innings were wickets in which Dom Tran was involved. On the second last ball, he ran out Pete Foley, who was trying to get Devanathan on strike before catching the latter on the last ball of the innings off Liam’s bowling.

ANU finished with 9/162 from their 40 overs, which was a decent acceleration. Out of generosity, Dom Tran handed me the ball since I achieved my milestone, and the boys clapped me off as we head to our kitbags. We needed to chase 163 for victory, but we were confident with the likes of Mallik Prasad and Rahul Desai in our corner, especially when Rahul hit Platt for six in the first over of the chase. But our pursuit quickly unraveled.

Rahul played around an outswinger from Ganesan; Tom Gray got run-out trying to take on a quick single; Aditya tried a cut too close to his body and edged Platt to slip, and Malik edged Whittley’s outswinger to the keeper Lang. That left us 4/46, and we never recovered despite some lusty blows from Simon towards the end.

We ended up about 50 runs short, and ANU deserved the plaudits. As for me, I hung around a bit, but the increasing run-rate and little time left was the cause of my edging Burke to Lang, having made just five.

Unfortunately, like my first game, we lost comprehensively, but personally reaching the milestone was satisfying. The good thing was that people like Simon, Aditya, Umesh, and Adam wished me all the best, which meant a lot.

Despite the result, it was an outstanding stint with Ginninderra, and now new challenges await in Adelaide.

Ginninderra Black vs Queanbeyan at Kippax Fields (Oval 2),  January 26 2019

January 21 2019

For once I attended training. It is not something I do often but should have done more often. But why did I go today? It was because we were playing Queanbeyan this weekend and my gut feeling was I will be required to bat. With that thinking in mind, I needed to get some practice under my belt considering historically how thrifty Queanbeyan 5th grade bowlers have been as they put it on the spot and wait for the mistakes.

There wasn’t much attendance at the nets when I arrived and had noticed that a couple of people who arrived after me went straight to the nets. Rather than taking their lead (considering they are 1st/2nd grade cricketers), I completed my mandatory thirty catches first. For that, I requested Dom Tran to hit them and I’m grateful that he helped me out and suggested on how I could improve my throwing. It is important for me to practice watching the ball through and developing the confidence (especially with the high-balls) after the pre-season setback. Confidence was indeed high despite a few drop catches but I can only feel that I can put the setback behind me only when I have taken a high-ball in a match.

Even though it was warm, I decided to bowl from a slightly longer run-up and continued my good bowling form from the weekend. I continued to get the desired movement when I angled my wrist and but my consistency needed some work especially when I am tired (after taking the catches). However I had some positives from the session. I had Harry Chittick edging an out-swinger that would have been taken by the keeper before giving Matty Andrews a hard time. He played and missed one that bounced and move and then edged a couple into the slip cordon. I had won those battles but as it was always the case against him, he won the war.

Then I had my turn to bat to finish the session which was why I attended training the first place. Clearly though, I was rusty since I only batted twice in matches all season. But it was important to shred the rust in practice considering it’s Queanbeyan. I was mostly facing spin but while the execution wasn’t quite there, my thought processes were sound which allowed me to get back or forward depending on how the ball is coming out.

January 26 2019

It was going to be a pretty hot day today. Temperatures touching 40 degrees celsius. Because of that, the match is to start an hour early at 12pm. Adam O’Connor declares that it looks like a road and announced that he’ll bat if he wins the toss. As it turned out he didn’t and we had to bowl in the heat. As agreed upon by Adam and Adrian Brunker the Queanbeyan captain, we were to take drinks at every 10 over spells which probably made sense.

At the first drinks break, we had them at 3 for 25. Vishal Patel claimed Peter Jensen and Daniel Clugston in consecutive deliveries before Rahul Desai taking a one handed catch with his right hand to dismiss A Brunker. That was reward for a tight spell for me that yielded 5 overs, 2 maidens, 1 for 6. I had got the ball to move away from the right handers but the pitch hardly had any carry which was why Daniel Heinrich kept up to the stumps.

At the next drinks break, it was 5 for 50. Adam took a caught and bowled to dismiss Tiwary before Josh Benny got a wicket himself as Michael Weston took a sharp catch at short cover to dismiss K Brunker.  The score moved to 7 for 80 at the next drinks break as Adam claimed two wickets in an over. The first was a diving effort by Westo at short cover to dismiss Paton before Adam got one to turn and beat the defences of L Hunter.

Having done well to restrict them this far, we soon lost the plot and conceded 52 runs in the final 10 overs as we undid the effort we had put in as Jimmy Martin and Harendra Kumar made useful 20s to push them to 9 for 132. I got a fingertip to a chance at short-midwicket against Martin before dropping a high-ball hit by Kumar having done the hard work in getting to the ball but missed it as I was unable to steady myself at all and therefore was on the run.

But I redeemed myself. Coming back onto bowl and trapped Kumar LBW as he tried hitting across the line but I leaked over a run a ball in my first three overs to finish with 2 for 26. Vishal who later had Martin caught well in close by Darren Neville finished with 3 for 32 while Adam finished with impressive figures of 3 for 11.

We needed 133 to win as long as we put our heads down we should chase them down. However, our innings mirrored theirs. Rahul chipped Clugston to mid-off which was taken by Couch for 12. Niraj Mehta got bowled by Jensen playing across the line for 11. Daniel trapped LBW by Clugston playing across the line for 1. Sumanth Purelli was brilliantly caught by A Brunker in short cover off Clugston for 4. Westo trapped LBW off K Brunker despite pitching outside leg for 22. Vishal caught at mid-wicket off Couch for 11. Josh caught at mid-on off Martin for 16. It was 7 for 85 and I came into bat. Against Jimmy Martin, I was tentative but survived before Adam brought the score for 98 at the final drinks break. The equation was 35 off the last 10 overs.

I openly said to Adam that I had to come down the wicket instead of being tentative against Jimmy Martin. It was a gamble but I had taken it before against his bowling last season. First ball after drinks, Martin flighted over and with A Brunker fielding a short cover for my tentative pushes I managed to come down the wicket and play a lofted off-drive and ran three. When Adam took a further 5 runs off the over. It was soon 27 off the last nine. As it turned out Martin never bowled again as the pacers were preferred to control the run rate which worked in their favour when Adam and I played out maidens in consecutive overs. You could have argued that we should have at least showed some initiative to score off those overs but I would defend our approach given that we were the only capable batsmen left and so we had to take it deep which we did. By the time we hung around to the 37th over in which we needed 17 more, I said to Adam,  “I’ll go for it and you should hang around and finish the game”. I managed to hit two twos of Clugston after he bowled a wide but I missed the last delivery due to tiredness and was grateful that I was given out LBW because I was tired. I made 10 and our partnership was 37 which brought us back into the game which sadly was later lost when Dom Tran was unable to put bat on ball in the final over and we lost by 6 runs.

Anyone can pinpoint the real reason why we lost this winnable game but the truth it will be hard since Queanbeyan won the crucial moments. Nevertheless, out of the games I played against Queanbeyan, this is the closest we have got to beating them and at least I played a part in this match.

Looking back it was a good call to attend training this week to get that batting practice. The fact I made 10 in a crucial partnership that gave us a winning chance wouldn’t have been possible had I not anticipated a batting opportunity against the Queanbeyan 5th Grade bowlers. I can put down my efforts this week to good planning.

Weston Creek Molonglo vs Ginninderra Black at Mawson Turf Oval, January 19 2019

I hadn’t played cricket for precisely a month since the Ginninderra derby, but I was ready to go bowling wise. I had managed a couple of sessions at the Franklin nets successfully fine-tuning my pace, bounce, and movement. That was my focus, considering at times it was easy for the opposition to pump me over my head if I overmatched since there wasn’t much pace. Hence, I was trying to accelerate the rotation of both my shoulders, hoping that the ball will come out a lot quicker.  It definitely felt that way on the hard net wickets, but it remains to be seen in the match.

I was back in the 5s Black side for the weekend. This time it will be captained by Adam O’Connor as Vasu Patel’s out due to a finger injury he sustained before the holiday break. Adam didn’t do his leadership prospects no harm as the Blacks won a tight low scoring game against the Blue Demons last week. More importantly, I reunite with Simon Edmonson as well. The trio of Adam, Simon, and I have been a winning combination on two occasions this season. Against ANU White and in the Ginninderra Derby, we took 6 wickets between us. Thereby hopefully, we can combine once more for another victory.

The wicket itself looked very green but very hard. From past experience, these wickets proved to be very good to bat on, so it’s best to win the toss the bat. However, that wasn’t quite Adam’s thinking. He felt that the pitch was unlikely to deteriorate and, therefore, still be good to bat on. As it turned out, when he won the toss, he decided to bowl first. Aside from the fact, the pitch isn’t likely to deteriorate, he reasoned that our best chances of winning is to chase.

I was then looking forward to resuming my bowling partnership with Simon at the top until Adam announced that he was planning to use me in the middle overs as he preferred the extra pace of Liam O’Connell and Vishal Patel. Fair enough, I had done a middle overs job before, so it was fine by me although I felt I was at my best with the new ball.

As it turned out, Creek got off to a flyer in the heat. Liam, in particular, took some stick, and after four overs, he was out of the attack, and I replaced him as Vishal Patel wanted to bowl at Simon’s end. Simon again took the early breakthroughs. Costello chipped a catch to mid-on while Godfree chipped a catch to Vishal at mid-wicket.

I initially struggled though with the wind working against my out-swinger as I conceded leg-side wides (as a matter of fact, I bowled nine wides today), but once I got my wrist and front-arm to work as I liked, the ball came out much better. At the other end, Vishal kept it really tight and should have taken a wicket had Aditya Dwivedi not dropped a catch at mid-off.  Gradually though, due to the pressure built by him and myself, I prized out three wickets. Thomas chipped a catch to mid-wicket where Sumanth Purelli took an excellent low catch before I trapped both Bennie and Welfare LBW in consecutive overs (each on the first ball of the over). One out-swinger trapped Bennie on the back-leg while Welfare appeared to get an inside edge.  Considering that we were unfortunate not to win a caught behind the decision of Liam’s bowling earlier, that was some consolation.

Even though I never took a wicket again during the day, I had troubled Matt Wheadon (whom I previously dismissed) on two occasions. In my first over, I got a ball to rise, which hit his glove, but it bounced in front of the slip cordon. Not long after, I got a ball to jump steeply and beat his forward defense. Later on, with assistance with the wind, I got the ball to move back into the right-handers and move away from the left-handed Thomas. After all that, a spell of 3 for 28 in my eight overs was the result. No wonder both Adam and Daniel Henrich (who reckons that was the best he has seen me bowl) were impressed. As I experienced cramp in the left leg, I retreated to the pavilion for the rest of the innings, and the boys continued the momentum from my spell.

Adam claimed the wickets of Wheadon and Ringwood while Aditya breached the defenses of Coughlan. When Liam claimed a run-out, Creek was nine down and was struggling to get to 150. Ultimately with a bit of luck, they managed to get there. Their captain Nathan Spencer should have been run-out only for Liam to mess up a good return by Kushal Kotagal. To add to Liam woes, he bowled a longish over due to series of wides and no-balls. It was so bad that he tried to finish the over with spin. To be honest, Liam’s over was on par compared to that of Curtly Ambrose at the WACA in 1996-97, where he bowled a 17 ball over due to a series of no-balls. We all had our bad days with the ball in hand in the past. Hence we can empathize with Liam. I am confident, though, that he will come back stronger for the experience. He is young, and it was good that Adam was there to provide him with some tips on how he can improve.  Simon soon ended the resistance, and we had to chase 156 for the win on a wicket that is unlikely to deteriorate.

But our batting did. Rahul Desai gloved a catch behind on the second ball in the chase. Mallik Prasad, Sumanth, Kushal, Michael Weston, and Daniel were bowled, and Aditya chipped a catch to mid-on. That left us 7 for 51 after 12 overs as the top-order imploded. Little did anyone knew what was going to happen next. Simon was still at the crease who, unlike the other seven batters, was putting a price on his wicket by playing straight. Vishal had joined him and tried to attack them. Sumanth and Aditya tell me that Vishal will try to murder spinners. He will either hit sixes or get out. I suppose though, these outcomes make him our wildcard, but he provided great entertainment. He definitely looked at ease against Wheadon’s darts. However, it was chaotic entertainment against Spencer’s slow leggies since Vishal got too excited and swung the bat too early. One ball hit the toe of his bat; the other ball hit his chest, but otherwise, when he connected, it went for boundaries. Nevertheless, you couldn’t fault him for trying, and his approach really brought us back into the game by the second drinks was called (a second drinks break was agreed upon due to the heat before the toss), we were just 13 runs away from victory with Vishal on 61 not out.

Ultimately it was fitting that Vishal finished it off two overs later, in the 30th over. He launched Wheadon for consecutive sixes to pull off the stunning chase. He finished with 74 not out off 45 balls with 9 fours and 3 sixes and put on an unbroken 107 with Simon, who finished with 26 not out. It was indeed the great escape considering we were gone for all money until the miraculous happened. No wonder Adam termed it a stunning victory. It was definitely one of the best wins I’ve ever been apart of given that I had played my part with three wickets earlier on. The manner of the victory does embody “we will fight until the final wicket falls,” as described in our club song, which we definitely sang in full gusto. Having been at the receiving end of a lower order resistance by Weston Creek earlier in the season when playing for 5s Yellow, now it felt good to benefit from such strength and for them to be at the receiving end for once.

I shall not forget that this particular resistance ensured that the dominant efforts of Adam, Simon, and myself ended in victory. This time, we took 8 wickets between us as Simon earlier took three wickets with the ball to complete a reliable all-round performance. Us three together are now three wins from three and have taken 14 wickets between us. Unfortunately, though, Simon is away next week, so hopefully, next month, we will reunite.

Nevertheless, we all played a part in one of the best victories I’ve ever been in.

Mid-season Review, December 19 2019

Well, it’s now the Christmas/New Year break, and I’ve played six games across both the 5th Grade sides as well a one-off match for the 4s at the start of the season.

I would have liked to play a bit more white-ball cricket as I intended to, but my unavailabilities at times during the first half of the season counted against me. Nevertheless, when I played the one game, I got some good movement when bowling with the new ball until cramp got the better off me.

Since then, I have spent my time in both our 5th Grade sides. With the Blacks, I was opening the bowling with Simon while with the Yellows, I was a change bowler. Regardless of the role, I was handy as I was averaging exactly two wickets a game while bowling out my allocation of eight overs. The noticeable difference was the economy rate as per the below, which may be due to my differing roles.

Yellows: 3 games, 6 wickets, Average 20.33, Economy 5.04, Strike Rate 24

Blacks: 2 games, 4 wickets, Average 12.25, Economy 3.06, Strike Rate 24

Regardless of being on 10 wickets after 6 games this season, which obviously eclipsed the number of wickets I took in the same amount the games in the previous two seasons. In 2016-17, I was on 5 wickets. In 2017-18, it was 6. There was no apparent reason as to why my tally is more this season. Perhaps, I was trying to focus on my stock out-swinger, which made me more conscious of my wrist position as well as my shoulder rotations to ensure I hit a decent length most of the time.

Since the derby, I have been attempting to add a bit more speed into my bowling by trying to getting my bowling arm to ‘load’ early before delivery, which resulted in some extra bounce and movement after pitching. I consider this development to be a success considering the times when I was plagued with an illness, which restricted my run-up but not my effectiveness.  Buoyed by that development, I focused on bowling the in-swinger by changing my wrist position, which brought partial success only because my direction wasn’t perfect. That remains to be a work in progress.

For now, there will be no bowling as I head overseas for the break.

Ginninderra Derby: Black vs Yellow at the Nest, Kippax Oval, December 9 2018

December 8, 2018

Leading up to the derby, I was extremely grateful that a couple of mates who cared for my mental state went out of their way to give me advice. It was along the lines of taking the fear of getting hurt by the ball and just go and catch it. I think we can put it into perspective a similar quote by the Patches O’Houlihan character played by the late Rip Torn in the sports comedy Dodgeball, whose dialogue was “Can someone catch the god-damn ball.” Pretty strong point indeed.

Furthermore, my mates seem to think I was overthinking things a bit too much and suggested I just relax a bit. One of them suggested to perhaps whistle/hum a song. Worth a try, I thought.

Anyways, I got transferred back to Vasu’s team, and perhaps my old-team would not hesitate to take it to me on Sunday. I’ve noticed that we had 12 people, so I was hoping not to bat at all. Not so much to hide from their chirps but more so with the warm weather and my past history with cramp, Vasu thankfully agreed to my idea of me batting 12 and just open and closing out the bowling innings with Simon Edmonson once more.

December 9, 2018

Playing at the Nest was a different feel to playing on all the other grounds around the territory. The ground was indeed huge, but the grass was evenly cut, so if we get the ball in the gap, we can get value for runs even if we time the ball. No different to Freebody 1 or the Kingston Oval I played on in Sunday Social a couple of years ago.

Now for the toss, Archie won the toss and decided to bat. Perhaps getting a whiff of me opening the bowling with Simon, he was going to open with Lindsay Thompson alongside Andrew Loveday. Thommo was going to do some pinch-hitting since he was given a license to go from ball one. In retaliation, Vasu said to me, depending on how it goes, he may take me off after two overs if Thommo got stuck into me.

We got off to the best possible start in the first over. Loveday out, third ball presenting a high ball catch to Jaymin Bhatt at mid-wicket before Simon only conceded just two runs. 1/2. I came on. Thommo was circumspect as was the new man Darren Walker. Apart from the sprayed off-side wide, Thommo only clipped one to deepish mid-on. I had wanted to protect myself from Thommo’s onslaught with that fielder together with a man at cow-corner. Neither man was required at all. In my next over, Thommo did try to swing me over to the Raiders Club only to present a simple catch to Vasu at mid-on. 2/9. I nearly got a second when trying to take a caught and bowled off a hard hit by Darren Walker only to hit my thumb and still go for four.

It hardly mattered. Daz in the following over chipped Simon straight to Adam O’Connor at mid-on, and again, the Yellow 5s had another top-order collapse. Duncan Gammage batted well to steady the ship and featured in two good partnerships. He added 40-odd with Brenton Furze before Furze missed Jaymin’s cutter and clipped the balls before adding 32 with Luke Snowie before on track for a fifty; he chipped Chakra straight to Rahul Desai at short mid-wicket. What a shame, but we would take it. Duncan out for 45, Yellows 5/91.

Having slacked off a bit, we regained the ascendancy and rolled them for 139 in the last over. Andy Brains chipped Adam straight to Vasu at mid-off before Gurjiv slapped me to Adam in the same position. Snowie, who held the innings again with 40 edged Adam into Dan Heinrich’s gloves before Jaymin cleaned up the innings firstly by getting Archie to chip a catch to Simon at mid-wicket before yorking Dom Ross after he slogged his way to 15 runs. Jaymin finished with 3/25 off 7.1 overs, Simon 2/29 off 8, Adam 2/23 off 6 overs, and myself 2/25 off 8.

It was nice to see some support for the derby, especially with the likes of Jak Wilcox and Jarryd Hatton (although much is definitely left to be desired with his choice of clothing). It is nice to hear Jak give me a wrap with my bowling. He was pretty impressed with my run-up and was delighted that I pitched the ball up. I had told him it was the first time I was bowling at the Nest and was under the impression that it would be a belter if our club captain Rhys Healy made a double hundred on it.

Anyways, back to the chase. We needed 140 to get against a decent attack on Paper. Andy Brains, Luke Snowie, Thommo, Gurjiv, and Dom Ross, I thought, will probably offer us no quarter. So it was terrific to see that Rahul Desai and Kris Ravinuthala got us to a perfect start by adding 66 for the first wicket. There was some drama, though. Rahul presented a sky-ball off Gurjiv’s bowling only to fall in between Luke Snowie and Duncan Gammage. That was certainly a lucky break, and it can undoubtedly be really annoying when it really happens if you are the fielding captain. No wonder Archie got his troops together at the end of that over. Furthermore, Kris shouldered arms but wasn’t given out LBW. It looked certainly close but not quite a wicket.

Anyways, the Blacks lost three quick wickets before drinks. Rahul skied a catch to Brenton at mid-off for 34. Dan Heinrich played around a straight one from Luke Snowie and had his castle rattled for 6 before Ronak Desai misjudged a delivery from Dom Ross and went back rather than forward. We were 3 for 77, but Kris was still there, and he went on to make a very good fifty in the presence of his dad at the other end. Kris added 33 with Jaymin (who made 16) before adding the remaining 30 with his dad (who hit the winning runs and finished with 23). Our side won the derby comprehensively by 6 wickets with just over 10 overs remaining.

The great thing was we all got together to sing the song, which was indeed an impressive club spirit. While it was indeed an official fixture in terms of the 5th-grade competition, but in the end, at least the club got a win on that weekend.

Personally, I would have liked Archie’s Army to win the derby to hopefully still stay in contention for top-four. It’s just unfortunate that they haven’t quite got the rub of the green in the moments that mattered the most, but you hope that one day it will all click together, and they would re-start building the momentum.  They can do it. They just need some luck to go their way and just run away with it.

I was happy though to reunite with Simon. Once again, we worked together as a bowling pair and made crucial in-roads in both this game and the ANU White clash back in October. We, along with Adam, can be a capable trio for the Blacks as long as we play as many games as we can. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be the case as I’ll be away until mid-January.


Ginninderra Yellow vs ANU White at Scullin, December 1 2018

November 19, 2018

Even on Saturday, I was losing energy and coughing from time to time. My illness much to my annoyance has been troublesome for that last month, but I still gambled and played three matches during this time and had reasonable success except for Saturday. As my energy had been compromised due to the illness, I had been avoiding training worried that the intense fielding circuit would have got me in serious trouble and perhaps sideline me for much of the season, which isn’t what I wanted.

Having a week off from cricket since I’m off to Melbourne to watch the Indians perhaps expecting to roll the Aussies will probably allow me to hope again regain my fitness with the hope the illness finally goes away. It will not trouble me again for some time this season.

I had thought about my bowling since a rare bad day on Saturday and did come to the conclusion that my loading hand before delivery was a bit low, which was why I had been overpitching a bit and conceded boundaries. I had to get it higher, and while I’m at, I better off looking at increasing my run-up and developing a proper rhythm that allows me to gradually increase my pace.

Today was a great day to get some bowling done, but I need to find a net before it gets taken. Armed with two new 4-piece cricket balls donated by a good friend of mine, I managed to find a spare net in Franklin. I had decided for now to abandon my desire for pace and focus on hitting my lengths after my performance on Saturday. I again started with a small run-up of 6 meters (4 paces) to focus on moving the ball of the seam and hitting the lengths which proved to be successful but only after I gave my self cues so that I can bowl my stock ball around the same spot again and again. I was generous since my lines were inconsistent, but there were outside the off stump. I had read across a couple of books that the late Richie Benaud had passed down advice to Shane Warne on the lines of “Bowl 6 leg-breaks on the same spot, it will take you three years”.  The legend tells that it took Warney two years of achieving that, but a point had been made.

To hit the ball in the same spot for each ball in a single over requires endless practice. For me, it is all about getting both arms to work in sync together with my wrist position.

November 20 2018

Having revised my running technique, I attempted to get some more bowling done after work since the weather was perfect for a quick session. The emphasis was on the running technique and the cues to ensure that I can bowl the delivery in the same spot every ball in an over. It did not quite work out as I hope since I realize that I was bowling half-volleys despite landing the ball in the line of off-stump. Although I have been able to move the ball, I just realized that how I hold the ball will dictate the length, I would be bowling. It was indeed advice that I picked up before on a bowling tutorial by the late Clive Rice (who played alongside Richard Hadlee in Nottinghamshire between 1978 to 1987 and was part of Transvaal’s mean machine in the 80s before being instrumental in setting up Kevin Pietersen’s career while coaching Nottinghamshire).  Based on that advice, I pushed the ball a little back further into my hand, which helped to successfully pull the length back slightly while hitting the same lines. Very good self-feedback, which helps to understand what I should be looking to correct if I miss my length.

November 26 2018

Having the weekend off enjoying the Melbourne journey by road, I returned to practice for the first time since my recovery from the ongoing illness. I arrived rather pretty early at about 4.40pm and immediately got bowling to TC, who is intending to make a comeback. Once again, we both had a decent battle, but it’s safe to say that neither of us won it given TC played some excellent shots, and I bowled some proper deliveries, which would have created half chances.

Before I could contemplate a session against the bowling machine, it was time to field. Again, we had to do the 30 catches before we ventured into the fielding session. First of all, we were split into two teams for the best of three, with the winning team deciding the punishment for the losers. First of all, the focus was more on clean pick up and throws to the person hitting them. Each team earned a point for each clean pick-up and throw, and a set is won once a team reaches 10 points first.  My group lost the first but won the second. Then it moved to catches.  Drop a catch; lose a point. Take a catch to earn a point.  Unlike the first two sets, this one was more competitive since there were drops and catches galore. It was very tight at one stage at 8-8 or so, and then the hitters were conspiring together to perhaps make matters hard. They even deliberately hit catches in opposite directions when it between BT and the current club captain Rhys Healy but neither of them got around. But we were getting closer at 9-8 when it was soon my turn, and my opponent was Dylan Faram (quickly known as Clark Kent since he started wearing glasses). Again there was the conspiracy between Mick and Hatts who were hitting the catches before the critical chance. Mick hit me a sitter, which I accepted, but because Dylan got a chance that bounced, we had to go again. My next opportunity was a little harder, but I took it over my head while Dylan missed his. We won the best of three, having lost the first set. So the losers had to run a lap around the oval before we resumed more fielding drills before nets.

When I think about it further after training, the key for taking catches is keeping your eye on the ball. Sounds simple, doesn’t it, but that be the reason why my catching has ranged from hot to cold.

When we resumed nets, I was able to develop some good swing and bounce, unlike earlier since I didn’t really realize that the ball was reversing in the opposite direction to what I intended to do. It was why it took a while to get the ball to move in the intended direction once I worked the direction of the rough/shiny sides.

Mind you, it’s a lot easier to bowl to proper batsmen rather than those who continuously employ the leg-side hoick of constant frequency like Josh Benny. Bowling to him was a nightmare, but I realized if I take the pace off, I will fancy getting him out. I had been experimenting with the knuckle-ball, but I realized I need to disguise it better. I got lucky that day, but proper bats will notice any apparent changes and set up accordingly to negate me.

November 28, 2018

Although it was wet, I went for a bowl to perhaps make my run-up more efficient, having lost energy on Monday, and indeed the results were there. However, I had to still avoid twisting my back, which would have caused massive counter-rotations, but the truth was that the positions of my arms were the culprits since there is that obsession in trying to bowl straight and to get the ball to move away. What I find is that if my arms move straight while brushing my sides, I can at least avoid the back issues, which made it essential for my non-bowling hand to lead the way in hitting the areas. I couldn’t quite hit the same spot as I intended to do, but I, at least, as usual, kept it around the offside. The ball was coming out with more energy, and I had felt during the session I had regained my pace that was lost due to illness. I had announced to my captain in particular on Facebook that I’ve restored my wheels as Lovey likes to put it and am pumped for the weekend. Lovey asked if it meant he didn’t have to keep up the stumps. The answer was in the affirmative, but I mentioned that if he isn’t scared of losing some teeth, he is welcome to continue keeping up.

December 1, 2018

We lost the toss and had to bowl first. The ANU White openers started steadily against Luke Snowie and Dom Ross before laying into me when I came on first change. I was trying to bowl too quick, and I wasn’t able to hit the lengths as I like. To make matters worse, I missed a simple return from Luke Snowie in amongst a mix-up. I freaked out under pressure courtesy of Archie’s shout from behind, “Take it.” It reminded me of Phil Tufnell’s similar mishap back in 1990-91. It was funny seeing his stuff up, but it wasn’t when I was one stuffing up. I did manage to get the breakthrough. I got one to swing a leg-middle line and knocked out the middle stump as Lang tried to hit across the line. I should have dismissed the other opener in Whitehead as he skied a full toss only for me to miss the catch and hit my leg.

That hurt because Whitehead went on to make 118 out of a total of 6/181 at the end. I did come back a bit after that getting Burke to edge an out-swinger to Darren Walker at gully, and I finished with 2/40 off my full allocation of 8 overs. Given our usual sloppiness, we should have been chasing 200+, but Luke Snowie’s 4/17 at the end ensured we only had to chase 182 instead. He eventually dismissed Whitehead with Dom Tran taking an excellent running catch at long-on and in amongst his wickets; he even knocked over all three stumps in dismissing Boyce. That was a picture of destruction, and it’s not very often you see all three stumps knocked out the ground. I suppose though on synthetic wickets where the wickets are held together on sand that can be very dry at times, its likely to happen.

Archie was disappointed. If the catch was taken, we could have been chasing a much easier target than 182. But we had to bat well and bat the full 40 overs. Lovey and Cam Whitty gave us a much needed solid start. 76 in 17 overs before Whitty’s lofted drive landed at cover, and he was gone for 17. Just before the drinks break, Darren Walker tried a lofted shot as well and gifted a caught and bowled to Albrecht. We were 2/88 at drinks, and with Lovey having raised a maiden fifty for Ginninderra, we were well set with a long batting line-up.

Lovey was rolling along after drinks. Taking Albrecht for 20 off his over but he fell to the same bowler attempting to sweep, and the bottom edge was taken by Lang. Lovey out for 73, and we were 3 for 108. Jared Mathie and Duncan Gammage developed a partnership themselves by adding 34 for the fourth wicket, but both batsmen fell (as did Daniel Heinrich with a slightly twisted ankle) as the run-rate started to rise.  Brenton Furze tried a lofted shot and hit it to cover. 7 for 154. 28 needed off 5 overs. We still got this.

Our hopes rested on Luke Snowie, who, by far, is our best batsmen. He bats like Glenn Maxwell but without the funk. We were hoping if he stays in with Archie, we can see it home. It even got tight once the equation become 15 off 2 overs. Archie started well by hitting Ganesan for four before taking a single. It was now at a run a ball. But soon it was a disaster. Snowie lofted Ganesan to long-on, and Dom Ross was bowled off a full-toss trying to slog. 9 for 173 with the last pair of Archie and Dom Tran to go for the last over. I wasn’t going to bat after all since the hitters we required. In saying so, I did suggest to Archie at the start that let us get off to a flyer and demote me for later. At the time, I was going to bat 8 or 9, but the increasing run-rate ensured it never materialized.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work either. We couldn’t get the runs, and to make matters worse, Dom Tran wandered out of his crease and got stumped. All out for 177.

That really hurt because we laid the platform at the start. But in Archie’s post-mortem, we played out too many dot-balls, which put the pressure on the tail to see us home. In saying so, we didn’t take our chances in the field, and we chased too many. The perfect performance is still yet to come, and a turn-around is required. The derby between the two Ginninderra sides is next, and a season of hell is likely if we don’t win that.

In more positive news, our current 1st-grade captain (and chop king) Rhys Healy pulled a miracle out of nowhere. Against Queanbeyan’s imposing 330 odd, he single handedly defied a poor start to see his side over the line with a superb unbeaten double-hundred. He finished with 202 not out, and with Dylan Faram’s 97, the final score was 5 for 358. It will not be a surprise if he comes into contention for ACT selection and possibly beyond.

December 2, 2018

I just wondered whether I should carry on. I am missing regulation chances in matches where it should have been pretty easy, but it isn’t. I can certainly point the finger at what had happened in pre-season when I was fortunate to get away with just a cut below the left eye.

I can take x number of catches at training, but is it worth playing if I can’t take the simplest of chances in the field. I just need to be encouraged to go for it without worrying too much.

Playing cricket requires mental skills, then anything else since confidence is a massive factor.  It’s unfortunate that having taken some good catches last season, I’m unable to hold on to simple catches. I have to own up and recover, but I need help.


Ginninderra Yellow vs Weston Creek Molonglo at Mawson Turf Oval, November 17 2018

November 12, 2018

Having struggled a bit trying to pull over the weekend, I at least managed to ask Masud yesterday to help me perfect the shot while continuing my training with playing spin. I only just realized the fundamentals that my other coach Luke had taught me in the past, and given my lack of decent batting practice to date, I had to try to drill in those fundamentals once more. I could have easily attended club training again, but I probably need some more dedicated one-on-one assistance to help me get up to speed. The money spent will definitely be worth it.

The practice was worth it. I was able to apply the pull shot fundamentals when getting throw downs, but against the side-arm was a challenge since the pace was much quicker. It was no different from the difficulties I encountered over the weekend, but a back-foot trigger at least helped in getting into right pulling positions.

November 16, 2018

I eventually decided against a back-foot trigger after getting some last-minute advice from Luke. He suggested tweaking my bat hinge, making references to old videos he did for Southern Cricket. It was probably a piece of the missing jigsaw with the batting having tinkered it for some time without the desired results. After all, his advice helped me to a run on good form with the bat between December 2014 until February 2016, where I was reaching double figures quite often and making 20s, 30s, 40s, and even a fifty. I tried his advice with another session with Masud. Against the side-arm, I again struggled, but it gave me more power when facing spin throw-downs and proper bowling. I was timing them with some power too. It will remain to be seen how I go tomorrow. I even bowled a bit at the end. I tried my usual four-step run-up and was able to get the ball to move. I also tried a few slower-balls as variations should I need to keep the batsmen in check tomorrow. As I learned I was playing against Weston Creek, I knew that their batting approach was to go hard (even across the line) from last time. Having these variations up my sleeve will at least make me prepared, but I need to use them smartly in terms of when you should use them.

Whether I will get a bowl tomorrow depends on our bowling attack and, of course, the stand-in captain Luke Snowie. We already have some decent quality. Andy Brains, Dom Ross, Luke Snowie, and Duncan Gammage are definitely a formidable attack, with each one opening the bowling with success in the past. But I am sure I’m not too far away. I also was an opening bowler, but most of my wickets have been with the older rock than the new. If someone the quartet doesn’t roll Weston Creek tomorrow, I’m hopeful of a crack to stem the tide in the middle overs like I did last week. I would be disappointed if Luke Snowie overlooked me with the ball considering my impeccable form to date. I guess if he isn’t going to bowl me much, then hopefully he could at least bat me up the order. Likely, it won’t be in the top four as Brenton Furze, Duncan, Andrew Loveday, and Umesh Patel are playing tomorrow.

Anyways, back to the session, I did try to bowl off six steps with mixed success and accuracy, which is a sign that its work in progress. It still needs a bit of action moving forward, and the coming Monday provides a perfect opportunity in that.  I have been working well off four steps in my past two games, so there would be reasons not to fix something. Still, it would be good to return to the eight-step run-up I even tried at the start of the season, but I might have to compromise in a match situation primarily when I have recently batted.

November 17, 2018

The Mawson pitch looked similar to the one I batted last year and made 47. It was definitely a bat-first wicket. As a matter of fact, the consensus among the team felt that the pitch will get worse to bat on in the second innings. So it was good that our stand-in captain Luke Snowie chose to bat first. But we had a problem. We only had 10 men, and JP selected a guy who apparently wasn’t available, which definitely pissed Luke off for sure. Further to our woes, Lindsay Thompson was out injured, having injured his knee running through a skinny wicket at the Phillip Oval last week.

Well, the same top order story continued for us. Brenton and Duncan held out trying to drive on the up, and Michael Weston got bowled trying to drive. We were 3 for 16 in the fifth over and badly needed a fightback. We got one. Andrew Loveday, who talks more with his mouth than score runs, did much of the latter, which delighted us, but it was a real pity when he held out at long-on after drinks for a well made 33. He had excellent support. Firstly with Luke, who played some delightful drives before getting one that popped off the surface and presented an easy catch behind the wicket of Weedon’s off-spin for 24, and it was no surprise that he was pissed at throwing it away. They added 37 for the fourth wicket.  Umesh Patel also gave Loveday support in a partnership of 41.  Umesh hung around, but he also punished the loose ball. He got to 32 until he missed a ball that hit his back-leg to be adjudged LBW.     

From 6 for 115, we were in slight trouble, and only Andy Brains got us up to 150. Both the Dom fell cheaply, and then I came in. I only faced one ball which clipped my pad and ran for the leg-bye. Two balls later, Brainsy went for a slog and got bowled. We were bowled out inside the 33rd over. Again, like last week what a waste. We did set out to bat our overs and still failed miserably.

We had a job to do with the ball and with 10 men. Luke Snowie started the rot by dismissing the openers. The first one was caught at slip by Duncan, and the other bowled, trying the hack. That second opener had burned the number three just before. He played the ball to what seemed a vacant point position, and me, fielding at forward point, went after the ball. Somehow, the ball stuck nicely on my left hand, and only then I realized an excellent run-out opportunity at the bowler’s end with both batsmen at the striker’s end. I thought I blew it when I try to throw the ball quickly, and it went wide. All the fielding training I did at pre-season went down the drain, I thought. But Westo backed up my wayward throw and got the ball to Dom Ross, and the number three was run-out. Terrible cricket all round, but we got a free wicket.

Brainsy replaced Snowie before the 13th over and promptly picked up a couple of wickets himself. He had their number five fending at a shortish ball, which Umesh took a good catch at Gully before trapping Spencer Coughlan lbw with a yorker. At the other end, I replaced Dom Ross. I started with a loose short ball hit for four by Weedon. Next ball, I sprayed the ball for an off-side wide. But I soon found an element of control until my fifth ball he tried going down to seemingly slog-sweep me to the leg side and hit him on the thigh. I instinctively appealed, thinking I might have a chance and was rewarded with an LBW dismissal. Remarkably it was my 3rd LBW wicket this season, which was the same amount of LBWs I gained in the last two seasons. But I then come into some stick by Godfree and Hyauaison, who remarkably brought their team back within touching distance. Yes, I was a bit loose, but I should have at least a second wicket with perhaps fewer runs conceded overall.  My figures were terrible after five overs, but I at least tried to pull it back slightly for the rest of my spell. 8 overs, 1 for 46. I deserved better, I thought, but I could have bowled a bit better.

Loveday did break that troublesome 7th wicket stand by bowling Hyauaison with a brilliant off-cutter and brought us back into the game again. But Godfree was still there and got to fifty. Eventually, his partner hit the winning runs off Snowie in the 37th over. Ouch, more than last week, this really hurts. We were dominating, but we really let it slip. We lost it ourselves after drinks before we didn’t maintain the intensity in the first half. Quite frankly though not batting out the overs again hurt us badly, and still, the top-order failure was a problem.

Queanbeyan is next,, but I will not be there for it.    

Blue Demons vs Ginninderra Black at Phillip 203, November 10 2018

November 5, 2018

I had spent a week off from cricket trying to regain the fitness that was lost due to illness. Lifting reasonably, heavy weights were not an issue, but running at 80% intensity was. I managed to keep up with the intensity, but I needed to catch my breath after each run. The annoying thing is that it would take some time to get over a severe illness from a couple of weeks ago, but there are some encouraging signs. I was raring to go to training today, but with my sister-in-law dropping down to exchange some food after work made me change my plans. Fortunately, my old coach Dr. Masud Rahman agreed to help me out at the local nets with my batting/bowling. In a way, it would have been good to spend some private time with a coach instead of attending club training as I would have ample opportunity to work on both my batting and bowling.   

On the game front, there could be a strong possibility of having to play on Synthetic wickets in 5th grade, which is something that I’m not really fond of. This is because the usual 5th-grade Turf wickets are being used in higher grades. I like playing on Turf since the wickets can be unpredictable, and it rewards for proper cricket. There has been some talk about moving our club’s 5th-grade matches against both of the Eastlake teams so that we play on Turf on Sunday but nothing yet.

Anyways, back to Masud. We spent the evening working on my game plans against spin, trying to play as straight as possible while opening the face to in-front of square. It was tricky against the sharp turning spin, but as Masud says, I need more practice against it to keep getting better. Nevertheless, as long as I can judge the flight of the ball from the bowler’s hand, then it should be easy for me to be decisive. I need to regain the daringness of my play: think of last season when I came down the wicket to the left-arm spin of Martin from Queanbeyan immediately and even hit him over the top for two next ball or even when I charged both Albrecht and Armstrong and hit them for boundaries during my grade best of 47.

November 8, 2018

I eventually managed to get some bowling done before the sun was out after spending the whole of Monday batting. I started with the run-up from my last game of a fortnight ago and even tried to add a bit of speed to it. Pretty impressive of four paces. I spent four overs bowling from this run-up bowling to imaginary right and left-handed batsmen, ensuring that my front-arm effectively controls the direction of where I would pitch the ball to move. I even tried the three-card trick that Malcolm Marshall applied to dismiss Mark Waugh in a Benson and Hedges Semi-final match between Hampshire and Essex back in 1992 (reference in Mark Nicholas’ book on Cricket, A Beautiful Game) with decent success as long as I again put the ball in the right areas. Having successfully bowled reasonably fast from a four-step run-up, I moved to six as I was still feeling good and not tired. It took a bit of an adjustment of my length, but the results were always the same after two overs of bowling.  Good signs. At the start of the season, I was coming off eight paces, but a combination of cramps and then illness eventually left to a shortened run-up till now. It will be useful to return back to 8 paces, but given that I can still sprint through of a shorter run-up and perhaps my past history of cramp, I might stick to six paces for the rest of the season. Especially if I need the energy to contribute with both the bat and in the field even after bowling a full allotment of overs in a one-day/Twenty-20 or a decent amount of overs in a 2-day match. If whatever reason I suffer cramp or lack of control in a game, I can always revert back to the four-step run-up given the success I had against ANU White two weeks ago. In saying so, there’s no harm trying to increase my run-up gradually during the season, preferably when training on my own or when I’m in an exclusive one-on-one duel with a batter.

Anyways, returning back to the bowling session, it later got so dark that I couldn’t even remember my starting position, so I figured after bowling six overs overall, I decided to pack up and head home. I gained a lot from that session. Bowling quick from a short run-up (the sprint sessions may have helped) while getting to swing the bowling and hit my productive areas was a significant takeaway.   

November 9, 2018

As confirmed that I’ll be in 5s this weekend on synthetic, but there’s little else we can do as not all Turf grounds are available (perhaps partly because the Women’s competition moved to Saturdays this season).  Aside from that, I will be reuniting with my good mate Chris Arcella (rather than possibly opening the bowling again under Vasu Patel’s captaincy). Archie told me with Dom Ross and Gurjiv being away, my bowling will come in handy to support Luke Snowie, Lindsay Thompson, and Andy Brains. Plus, with the batting performances not being up to scratch so far, I could very well provide some solidarity. I’m willing to open the batting. Go out there, knock it around and then take the spinners on before putting my feet up scoring before we go out to bowl (if we bat first that is). The Blue Demons from Eastlake will be a challenge for us considering how easily they chased down ANU Royal’s 200 at Deakin’s Synthetic pitch. Nevertheless, we will back ourselves to restrict them and get ourselves back into winning ways.     

November 10, 2018

After driving around Ainsworth St, I managed to find the Phillip Synthetic Oval, which was next to the turf pitch. This oval itself was very skinny compared to a regular strip. For me, it was no issue trying to run through the crease close to the stumps, but if you consider somebody like Lindsay Thompson, who is a big bloke, he might struggle. Given how skinny the pitch was, it felt though that everything will be within every batter’s hitting zone. We lost the toss and had to bat, which is what Archie wanted to do anyway. Win-win. We started poorly, though. Zeeshan Aslam (our first new player) ran himself trying to go for a third; Jay Singh, having started brightly with a few boundaries, got a leading edge off Garth Davis’ off-cutters to slip. Then Dom Tran went for a single that was never on. At the other end, there was me witnessing the early carnage. I would have gone early, too, on four occasions. I attempted a pull off Nick Unger only to just sail over Davis’ head for a single. I then got dropped by the keeper Frost off Davis’ bowling before nearly becoming another run-out victim on two occasions. I was very subdued in the batting, especially against the left-arm spin off Fox. The old me would have shown some intent towards him, but there were three reasons for not showing that. First of all, the pitch had bounce, which I felt was suitable for more back foot play. Secondly, I haven’t had a proper bat all season apart from Monday, and also, the situation of the game dictated that we needed a partnership. If I lost my wicket trying to show intent and I got bowled, stumped, or caught, then it would have lead to disaster. Eventually, I caught down the leg-side off my glove as I tried to pull. I only made 12, and when I got out at the 11th over, we were 4 for 45. As it appeared, Andy Brains didn’t show up, but we managed to grab a couple of mates to help make up the numbers.

At drinks, our score moved to 7 for 103.  Luke Snowie was smoking them until he got a jaffa from Declan Robinson on 41. Pitched middle, hit off, which would definitely made Dale Steyn proud. Shahnawaz Rasheed, our other import smoked one big six off Fox that landed in the next door oval. Massive hit that following a series of pushes and nudged. Tuk, Tuk, then Boom. Boy, even Misbah-Ul-Haq, would also be proud. Shah smashed another six as well together with two fours before he succumbed to both cramps and Robinson for 25. He never played a part in the game after that. But he at least helped get the floundering innings back on track allowing for Lindsay Thompson to take center stage. Thommo, having been twice dropped at cow-corner, went on to make a priceless 64, which lead us to a very good 202. Pity though we didn’t bat our full allocation of overs. It’s always a crime not to do that as we would be missing some valuable runs in those left-over deliveries.

The plan at the break was simple. Dot them up, build pressure, and let the wickets flow. Luke Snowie started following the script with a maiden. But we were soon in for a shock from the moment Swan top-edged a leg-side hoick for two as he soon started middling those hoicks to the leg-side. Both Snowie and Thommo (who dismissed Arthur caught behind by Archie) suffered his wrath. Hence, Archie tried Dom Tran. It nearly worked, but Jay Singh had the sun in his eyes and dropped a skier. That hurt because Dom soon suffered more punishment.

I soon had my turn at Snowie’s end in the 11th over. Given the pitch, I abandoned the six-step run-up and went on four steps. Swan tried attacking me too. My first ball was an inside edge past the stumps for two before his next hoick went to deep square leg to Dom Tran. Ok, easy single, but it went through his legs for four. I was fuming because he should have stopped that. After the game, Archie felt Dom did the right things, but it was just bad luck it went through. Swan got to his fifty. He tried another hoick though on the leg-side, but Snowie took a good catch at long-on. Out for 52 off 28. The damage he did was massive and left us with fewer runs to play with. Time to switch-on and fast.

Next over, I trapped Frost lbw. He went back rather than forward, and the ball was going to clip middle and leg.  Two wickets in two overs. Doesn’t it get any better?  I kept it tight and no further success as I got the bowl to move away appreciably, especially from Martin Boland.  Unfortunately, I even dropped a flat ball hit by Fox off Jay’s bowling. I tried taking it to my right reverse cup, but in hindsight, I could have either got my face in the way (which may not be wise given what had happened in pre-season) or perhaps taken the ball like a high slips catch by pivoting to my right. They were ahead of the rate at drinks with the score on 3/126. The Swan assault was indeed massive, and they only need 77 runs.

I bowled out after drinks as Fox was in a smashing mood showing the form from the 71 ball 102 he made last weekend. He even smashed a straight six over my head, but I soon had the last laugh. Smashed a ball straight to ball to short cover and departed for 48. I eventually finished with 3 for 35 off my full allocation of eight overs. Good, come back after missing last week. Although Thommo dismissed both P Hillian (courtesy of a great catch by Michael Weston) and Frost, the Blue Demons chased down the runs in the 32 over. That hurt. We batted well, but we couldn’t defend it with the ball and in the field. No wonder Arch was disappointed, but there was progress.

Archie messaged me later that he was impressed with how much I progressed. Having pressed him to explain further, he told me that in the past, I was overthinking things and appeared hesitant with ball in hand. But today, he noticed that I seemed to be confident and had backed myself. It was also the case with the batting, as he felt I showed intent and intelligence at the same time. Earlier, he was far from impressed with me when I was fielding as he had his game face on. But he mellowed down and appreciated me. At least, I was back in his good books. He was hoping that I could play a crucial part in his team since he thinks I could do a job in the middle overs like I did today.


Ginninderra Black vs ANU White at O’Connor Oval, October 27 2018

October 8, 2018

I was conscious of the weather. If it was going to rain, I wouldn’t bother attending practice like I have been doing in the past. However, when I checked before heading out, it was going to be clear skies. Hence, I’m off to practice. Since I finished work late than expected, I ended up arriving practice after it started.  I did my catches; 10 short, 10 medium, 10 long, and just before I was about to head to the nets, Mick Delaney, our coach decided to call everyone in and sent us on a fielding circuit that was started in pre-season. Rather than doing it pairs, we were doing it in groups of four. I got some considerable help again from Lukey Ryan during slips catching with the Catch It ramps since he noticed I was not relaxed in the hands since I had a tendency to reach out to the ball with the hands, which explains why the ball pops out of the hand. So he suggested two things: One, to be relaxed and allow the ball to come into the hands and Two, to use my body rather than my hands to go to the ball. It worked….. part of the time, but I was still showing the same habits which the catching continues to be a lottery. Later on, when doing slips catches with BT, I had better luck despite being closer to the bat, so the advice did me no harm at all. During the fielding circuit, I was doing high ball catching. Despite my fingers being pointed occasionally to the sky, which isn’t quite a good idea, I was able to still catch any high tennis balls that came my way because I was trying to get to the ball to get into a steady position to take the catch.  Given that my success rate was pretty good on that day, it was a great confidence booster after the pre-season mishap.

After the fielding circuit, it was time for the nets. I ended up spending the whole time bowling simply that I was more focused on fixing up my run-up, which can also help in fixing my accuracy together with my running technique. I was bowling well as I was beating the bat with either length or with movement. Mick Dentrinos who started giving me crap because I played for his club’s enemy Riverton Rostrata (he used to play for SJ Blues in the SMCA competition in Perth) was kind enough to notice that I was slowing down before delivery (I was worried about the front foot no-ball) and suggested that I tried to breath to pump oxygen into my muscles to help me power through the crease (perhaps it might also help me to relax a bit since I might be a little tense).  I started incorporating the suggestion, but I will probably have to try over a more extended period and see if I can maintain energy on the ball for a full spell of bowling or not.

Overall, it was the right decision to attend practice today even though I will not be playing this weekend. Had I not gone, I wouldn’t have received such invaluable advice from senior players and perhaps would continue to struggle for a little longer (especially given how I bowled over the weekend).

October 10, 2018

I was starting to get a bit obsessed with my running technique. Especially my set up position and stride lengths in particular. Rather than hit the treadmill today, I decided to focus on my running routine at the gym but in the functional rooms. Jock Campbell, the former Australian fitness coach, calls it the Running ‘As’ in the BowlFit app that I use (co-initiated with Mitchell Johnson). From the repeated efforts of these ‘As,’ I was able to work out a decent bowling run-up so that I can gradually increase my speed before delivery. I still need to practice this continuously, but as long as I run on the balls of my feet, then the technique itself would be efficient. My only regret was why didn’t I work this out during the off-season or even pre-season. Only because it never really occurred to me. Still, I was happy with what I came up with, but I need to try it out in the nets soon.

October 11, 2018

Today would have been club practice, but I was under the impression that it would be a hard session, as Mick Delaney would have told me. I interpreted as if practices would be similar to how we would play in a match. For me, it’s probably no good for two reasons. One, I’ll be away from action this weekend, and Two, I’m not mentally ready as I’m still trying to get my bowling right. Hence, I ended up practicing on my own after work rather than go to Kippax to practice.

I started off by focusing on the running technique working on the drills from yesterday before gradually moving to bowl with the same technique. I was trying to sprint through the crease, but I slowing down in momentum with my rhythm going astray. Gradually, I worked up a happy medium in terms of my running speed that will allow me to maintain my technique and momentum. I was bowling a bit full and wide, but the pace was there. Not extreme pace but enough to maybe beat the bat. But I had to be careful since I soon realized that I was twisting a bit, which could give me back trouble. So I adjusted myself that can get closer to the stumps and altered my running technique slightly so that my hands are brushing my sides. My lines suddenly improved as I bowling a lot straighter, and I didn’t feel any back pain at all. My front arm is going to be the key in terms of where the ball will land. I still am trying to hit the right length, but if I don’t give too much room that I might be okay. Later on, I realize if I can get that front arm higher, than I might be able to hit the right lengths. Significant progress has been made, and I’m ready for training next Monday.

So, training on my own proved to be the right decision.

October 20, 2018

Unfortunately, I did not do any sort of cricket activity outdoors for the whole week as I was really sick, which lead to me taking time off from work as well. The doctor did advise me to rest instead of undertaking physical activity for a week. So I ended up being stuck at home instead of going out to the gym, training, or even going out to play. Missing out on game time wasn’t a big deal, given that the club had full availability across all teams that weekend. I told JP that I was disappointed to miss out because of my sickness, but he told me to rest up and assured me that there will be opportunities later on since it’s only the start of the season. Today, because it rained so bad around mid-morning, I was doing a rain-dance, which helped me feel better with regards to missing this week. As it turned out, most of the matches were washed out.

October 21, 2018

On the way back from a short gym work-out, I thought I might try to roll my arm over at the Franklin nets, having had the week off from physical activity.  I was experimenting a bit more regarding my load up technique before delivery, which allows me to rotate my bowling shoulder a bit quicker. That involved angling the loading hand a bit so that I can also swing the ball. When I tried this approach, I was able to swing the ball a lot better at an extra pace. Then, an old colleague of my brother’s Ashok (who now works for APVMA) came down to practice. As he recognized me from previously, he asked me to give him a few balls to face. I immediately obliged. I was bowling a bit short, which was reflected when Ashok was backing away and hitting strong uppercuts. When I pitched up a bit more, he was going after me still. Then I realized that I was giving him width, which made him free the arms regardless of the length. I tried to focus on bowling straighter, wicket to wicket, which provided immediate results. I was beating his bat more often than not with my out-swing, even knocking his poles out once as well as hurrying him with a short ball that would have grazed his elbow. Today was a success in terms of fixing my running technique and my bowling arm. If I can maintain it for a more extended period, then I could well be too hot to handle.

October 22, 2018

Given that I was still on the recovery trail after a week off cricket due to illness, I decided to go for another short session of bowling instead of practice. I wasn’t quite at my peak health either, and it showed in my bowling. After the equivalent of 2-3 overs of bowling at full tilt, I was out of breath. I did try cutting down my successful intensity, but I felt that I would be more potent if I can recreate the efforts from yesterday. Perhaps it was a right call not to attend practice today, given that we now have the fielding circuit in place, which is at full intensity. I could have fallen even sicker and miss another week of cricket, which would have been a disaster. Nevertheless, despite the minor setback today, I finally felt at peace with my run-up, having managed to video record my bowling to find that I had been able to land my front foot in the middle of the popping crease.

October 27, 2018

So I managed to get picked for today, but in the 2nd 5th-grade side, that will play ANU White. Last week I would have been selected there since they didn’t have many bowlers compared to the other 5s side lead by Archie only for my illness to prevent me from playing. Today, I wasn’t really that great as I was coughing and sniffling, but I keen to have a crack regardless because I won’t be able to play next weekend.

When I got there, the wicket looked green (similar to the wicket I saw in Kippax three weeks ago; hence I thought it would deteriorate slightly) but looked good to bat on. I shadow practiced bowling of a shorter run due to my slightly improving health. I knew it was the opposite of bowling off the long run, but at least I can try to get through as many overs as I can.

We lost the toss and were bowling first. Simon Edmonson and I were primary out-swing bowlers, so we had to compromise on who gets the end with the breeze. In the end, I gave in, allowing Simon to bowl with the breeze blowing away. Simon immediately bowled a maiden, and I had my chance soon after. The first ball went down the leg side, but instead of being penalized for a wide, I got away with it and also proceeded to bowl a maiden. Simon then conceded two runs (albeit of an edge that fell short and bounced over our keeper Dan Heinrich’s head). Three overs, 0/2. I bowled another maiden but after bowling two wide and loose deliveries (one full and one short) that were not punished. Again 0/2, which stayed that way after another maiden from Simon. Both of us were keeping it tight. Pretty good start on a batting wicket.

However, I was getting a few deliveries to jump and keep low at times, and despite the breeze blowing into the right-handers, I was able to generate my out-swing movement, which explained why I had yet to concede a run so far. It stayed that way for my third over, but I had a wicket on the 2nd delivery. I over-pitched, Lang tried to drive, but Malik Prasad took an excellent low catch to his right at short cover. I got a wicket on return with a bit of luck, but it was created by all the pressure that was created.

Considering the situation there were in (6 overs, 1/2), the other opener Whitehead chanced his arm against Simon and I and picked up a couple of boundaries. Their run-rate improved (for the record, I finally conceded a run in my fourth over, eventually going for just three) slightly. Before my fifth over, Vasu Patel, our captain, told me it was my last over since he was saving me up for the end. Fair enough, but it would have been nice to bowl out. For that reason, I gambled with a slower ball (the only one I bowled all day), which was a full toss hit for four by Whitehead, but I got a ball to keep low, which the breeze helped it to pitch on the stumps. After a prolonged appeal (by then, I was on the ground after a slip), the umpire gave it out. I finished my spell with a wicket and had both openers dismissed. They were 2/18 after 10 for which my analysis was 5-3-7-2.

Adam O’Connor replaced me with his left-arm spin and prized out two for himself.  Bell caught well at slip by Simon before having Giddens lob up an easy catch to Sumanth Purelli at slip.  They were 4/49 at drinks after 20 overs, and we were over them.

ANU White improved their run-rate by the end of the innings, but we still ensured that we restricted them to a straightforward total. In the process, Brandon Edgerton had a wicket with Simon taking a good catch at deep-mid wicket to dismiss Ford after Vasu Patel bowled a tidy but wicketless four-over spell. During his spell, Vasu went over for me for advice. He was telling me that with the shiny side on the left, it should swing into the right-hander. Technically that’s correct, but I suggested that he angled his wrist though since swing was also from the wrist. I thought he got a few to swing back after the chat from the way the batsmen were defending him rather than letting him go.

Adam O’Connor replaced Vasu and got the wicket of Blackman, who hit a full toss straight to Malik at cover. Knowing that they were going after the bowling, I suggested Malik to stand back, and thankfully, he was able to catch it since it came at chest height. Adam apparently told me that he tried a front of the hand variation, which didn’t quite come out, but it prized out a wicket nevertheless. He finished with 3/22 from his 8 overs. Simon and I soon came back on to close out both the innings and our allocations of 8 overs maximum. Simon kept it tight as he did earlier in the day and finished with the wicket of Connor Boyce (who anchored the innings with 28) LBW as he tried to hit across the line. His figures were 1/17.

At the other end, I leaked two boundaries to the wily old fox in Peter Foley. I firstly over-pitched, which he cleared Malik before swinging me over mid-wicket for two boundaries. But I came back. I nearly had Foley holding out at long-on, but Dan Heinrich (who passed the gloves to Sumanth at drinks) couldn’t quite get around it, and it went for four. Apart from that, I kept it really tight and only conceded nine from my last two overs. I finished with 2/24, pretty good return despite not being at my best health.

ANU White, therefore, finished with 7/119. If they perhaps batted a bit smarter with intent, we could have been chasing at least 150 if not 180. But we have no complaints as it is just a matter of batting sensibly to get the runs (simple maths, exactly 3 runs an over).

We didn’t quite get off to a good start. Malik tried to drive but hit a catch to mid-off in the first over. But Rahul Desai and Sumanth guided the chase, but they soon departed to leave us on 3/53. When Simon got out, we were 4/70. We were slightly shaky, but we just needed one partnership to guide us home. Aditya Dwivedi ensured that the chase went smoothly as he punished anything loose to the boundary as he compiled an unbeaten 58, his first fifty for the club. At the other end, Vasu supported him initially, but he soon perished. He nearly got run out. He pushed a ball to the off-side, called for a run, which Aditya denied before he tried to scramble back. He dropped his bat mid-way, but the ball missed both the keeper and the stumps by which it allowed Vasu to return to safety. Nevertheless, it triggered a series of discussions on how not to run out the captain on the sidelines. I overheard Simon telling us that he had run out the captain once, and he ended up fielding at fine-leg and not bowling for three games. Ouch!

Vasu eventually perished when he tried to sweep a ball away on the leg-side but was bowled when the ball hit the back-end of the bat and onto the stumps. It was 5/103, but it was soon all over just before drinks as Aditya continued his merry way.

We had won by 5 wickets and continue our unbeaten start to the season courtesy of an all-round performance, and we ensured that we sung the team song with full gusto. I went over to the Keith Tournier Memorial Oval to see how our other 5s side was going. But by the time I arrived, I heard the team song chanted nice and loud, so that meant they won too. It was great catching up with the guys I played with last season.