Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Quaking in my shiny new boots

There's one topic I've hardly mentioned so far - fielding. The simple reason for this is that I'm absolutely terrified by the thought of what my ability in the field will be like.

When I was at school I was never the sporty type, partly because as a boy I unknowingly suffered from a heart defect which has since been dealt with, but mainly because I was just plain useless at sport. I was too small for rugby, too unfit and unskilled for football and tennis, wasn't a particularly good swimmer... Well, you get the picture. In fact at school I only ever got into two teams - a reserve runner for the cross-country team, and player/scorer for the 3rd XI.

The cross-country thing was particularly cruel. I'd have to run several miles but since I was a reserve runner I wasn't nominated to score points for the team, hence there was absolutely no point in all that effort. I did beat some of our nominated runners occasionally, and regularly beat one or two of the other teams' runners, but as far as I'm aware it made no difference. Anyway, enough of my grumbles...

I owed my place in the 3rd XI to the fact that you only had to have a pulse to get into it, and I was never a particularly prominent member of the team. Essentially I was just ballast. I don't really remember my fielding being bad exactly, but I don't recall it being particularly energetic. Slow and steady wins the race.

I do recall however one occasion where we were being hit all round the park by one particular team, who in 35 overs amassed 249 for no loss, and in about the 30th over the batsman mistimed a shot followed by large shouts of catch from the bowler. If I'd legged it, and I mean really legged it, there was perhaps a 50% chance I could have caught it, but instead I wimped out and positioned myself to collect the ball and stop the single. It's not that I'm ashamed I didn't try to catch the ball so much as regretful that I didn't have the confidence to back myself and have a go.

Now so far we haven't done any fielding drills so I haven't been able to gauge just what my level is, but I'm pretty sure my main problem will be that in my head I think I can't catch. Any catch that comes to me will have my heart sinking - not only will I be unlikely to take the catch, I won't WANT to take the catch. So confidence would seem to be the main area of work.

Clearly, my fielding will often have much more impact on the team than my batting, and as such I really, really don't want to let the side down.

1 comment:

MPA first eleven said...

Yeah catching is problematic aspect to the game. I'd never put my hand up and say that I was anywhere near good at it, but there's a couple of things you can do to help yourself out. For one you'll find that they'll put the people they know are good at catching in the key positions and they'll hide the people that are not so good in places where they wont see a lot of action. The captain will get a sense of your abilities and will move you around the field in order that you don't get the chance to do or die. But I think more important than your ability to catch the ball is the ability to not let the ball go past you if it comes your way. So this means getting your leg down everytime and forming a good safe long barrier or diving and stopping the ball with your body - any part, better with your hands if you can, but if your hands can't find the ball get anything in front of it and stop it. Usually this involves some pretty impressive dive and sacrifice of your some part of your body, but honestly, unless it gets you square in the bollocks it doesn't really hurt that much and it's normally appreciated by your team mates. As for catches - you have to just try and take them and accept that you're going to get sore hands and brusied fingers, palms and stuff, yeah it hurts - but it's not like treading on a weaver fish or something really painful. One of the things you have to do is when you see the ball coming is back yourself - say to yourself 'I will catch this ball' and at some point one will stick and that'll give you confidence. But honestly in club cricket when everyone has got to turn up at work on Monday morning you'll find that a lot of catches are put down, blokes will have a go but they're not going to break their necks for a run or two. The main things is to have a go and back yourself to make one or two stick.

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