Saturday, 29 May 2010

An empty Saturday

No cricket for me today, but I wouldn't have been playing even if it'd been dry. Instead I'm relaxing at home and listening to Test Match Special, which has reminded me that my performance with the bat last week has one upside: I am now at last eligible for membership of the Primary Club.

Anyway, the one event of note this week is that I was bowling in the nets on Thursday. I'm not sure exactly what the deal is with nets but there was no-one from the senior teams there, so it was just me and a handful of young guys who were hanging around while an Under-15s match was being played on the main square. I got a pretty good time with the bat but it was a bit mixed.

Against a decent leg-spinner I was hopeless - missing virtually every ball as I just had a mental block about adjusting to the line after pitching. He was very impressive - he bowled a very good, very consistent line and length with a decent amount of turn, pitching right on off-stump so I was compelled to defend in case it went straight. He mixed in a varied amount of top-spin and backspin, so it was hard to play cross-batted as I couldn't bank on the bounce. All in all he had me coming and going, but while my batting didn't improve much it was very educational as far as my bowling is concerned.

Later I was facing two off-spinners of varying talent, and again I was under the thumb a bit, losing wicket after wicket, but after a while I adjusted my play a bit and ended up hitting some decent cross-batted shots later on. I was using "Virginia" as I wanted to use the extra weight to beef up my batting muscles a little so that when I go back to "Hyacinth" I can get into position quicker and hit more powerfully. It might mess up my timing a bit, but my timing's all to cock anyway so I can work on that later.

As for my bowling, well it was pretty encouraging. I was really getting my spinning finger to whip round and the ball was coming out of the hand beautifully. I had a decent control of line, within limits, and my length was good. I also avoided the roof most of the time, although now the problem is that from the batsman's point of view the ball sometimes disappears behind the frame of the net, particularly when I give a ball topspin and a lashing of flight. I didn't seem to be getting much drift but I'm not really in a position to see it myself. I'll have to get the camera on it one day and see exactly what I'm doing. I also tried a couple of sliders and the result was encouraging - the batsmen didn't get bat on any of them, so I just need to get it reliably on target and it should be a good weapon.

How I use my ring finger (i.e. the finger that imparts most of the spin) seems to be really critical in terms of how much pressure I use and how much I let it flex. If it's too weak and limp the ball just slides out of the hand without any extra spin from that finger, but if my finger is too firm and inflexible the ball just falls out of the hand like a brick with no spin at all. My grip's also subtly changed so that my fingers are less perpendicular to the seam, more wrapped around the ball. As my index and middle fingers "unwrap" they start the ball spinning, with the ring finger whipping round to do most of the work. It seems to be working - I always seem to get lots of admiring comments about the amount of spin and turn I am achieving.

Hopefully next week I'll be back playing, and if so I'll be desperate to get an over or two...


MPA first eleven said...

How you doing? haven't seen you on the forum much, hows your season going? Another thing I want to ask is how do you get all those adverts on your blog, I've clicked a few for you - so are you seeing any revenue from them?


Pencil Cricket said...

I'm afraid I've had a long layoff for one reason or another - no injuries or anything, just too damn busy. Hopefully I'll get a game at the weekend. I'll post about my layoff shortly.

Sadly the ads don't generate income - Riverway Events is a revenue-generating arm of the cricket club that they're keen to promote, BEEP, Stafford Railway and Dean Statham are companies my family work in and the Metropolitan is my local pub. They might not raise any cash but any publicity is good publicity and I think they help make the blog look the part.

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