Monday, 31 May 2010

Where my bowling's at

After four and a half months of bowling what would properly be called right-arm wrist-spin (although most call it leg-spin) I thought I'd jot down a few scribblings on where I am.

I started off from a pretty unpromising platform, having not played cricket at all for ten years and having hardly bowled at all ever, and never in a match. My fitness was probably about average for a 28-year-old English male, which can be taken to mean that it was woefully inadequate for any kind of sporting activity, not helped by thirteen years of smoking. I still smoke but my fitness has improved.

When it came to choosing which type of bowling to pursue I very quickly reached the conclusion that my body would be unable to put up with anything more strenuous than spin, as I've always had pretty weak shoulders. For some reason I plumped for wrist-spin and I haven't looked back since. Its distinctiveness, variations and reliance on obscure scientific principles makes it perfect for me, not to mention it's the one form of bowling that tends not to penalise my round-arm tendencies.

I started off bowling in the garden, and it was pretty unpromising - balls sprayed all over the place with only a tiny amount of spin. I realised it was going to be a slow process though, and set about developing a sound basic action that gave me a foundation from which to build. Very soon I developed a diagonal five step run up with a 1,2-3,4-5 rhythm which with some tweaks is still the basis of how I bowl. Next came the follow through, then the "ramp" up to the delivery stride, and then I found a major flaw in my action that was in urgent need of attention. Instead of rolling the right arm round the shoulder, I was stretching the arm back into position and then pinging it forward, similar to how you'd flick a rubber  band about. Like a rubber band, this involved a large amount of tension in my muscles, and it was causing me constant shoulder pain. I changed my action as soon as it was pointed out to me, which took a surprisingly small amount of adjustment before I was back up to speed, and the shoulder issues have never come back.

Only four days later I had my first match, an 3rds V 4ths friendly, and bowled the last over once it was clear the match was lost. The records show I bowled four balls for 13 runs, but I'm pretty sure there was a wide in there that wasn't recorded. Another thing the records don't show is the keeper not quite holding on to an edge... Anyway, it was an OK start.

(this is an old post I drafted but didn't finish... I'm afraid it ends here)

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