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.