Friday, 27 August 2010

Playing tomorrow

It looks like I'm in the team for tomorrow's game with Oldfields Cheadle 2nds, against whom I played earlier in the season, picking up my first ever golden duck as we won by 7 runs in an exciting, high-scoring game. Looking at it today there's nothing like an England middle-order collapse comprising one golden, one silver and two bronze ducks to make me feel better about my own performances with the bat... I'll probably be available for the match next week as well, but can't be sure I'll play so I'm approaching tomorrow as if it's my last match, hoping to end the season on a high with a solid all-round performance so that I can go into next season looking back on how much I've learned and developed this year.

In the field I'm looking to be as energetic as my knee will allow - it's still a bit painful but mainly healed. I also want to use good orthodox fielding techniques, back up well, maintain my concentration, give encouragement to the bowlers and of course I'll want to take any catches that come my way. I've dropped two and held none this year so it's about time. As for my throwing I can't really change it overnight so I'll just have to do my best and if it's a bit limp and off-target so be it. I don't have a very powerful upper body so that's something to work on for next year.

With the bat I just want to carry on where I left off from the last match. I want to relax, maintain my concentration, stay on my toes with my head steady, bend my left elbow in the backlift and get forward with a bent knee. This time however I don't want to start hitting out as soon as I get the odd run, I want to play a sensible innings and stick around. Of course, I may well get a good ball first up, but I'm aiming for double figures and a decent partnership tomorrow. It's about time I scored a few for the 4ths as currently I'm averaging 0.33 for them!

As for bowling, it's very unlikely I'll get a go but if I do I've only got one thing in mind: A WICKET! I'm simply bursting to get one! I'll have to pitch up at the club early to see if I can get my action suitably synchronised and consistent, but if I can and the ball gets thrown to me I'll be as aggressive as I can be, trying to really fizz and turn the ball and throwing in the odd variation.

I don't know if the Captain would let me set a field but if so I've got a decent idea of what I'll want as you'll see from the picture: two slips, a forward point and a forward square leg for any hits up in the air, a deep square leg and a deep mid-wicket to cut off sweeps to that boundary, a deep backward point to cut off any square cuts, a deep mid-off for the drive and a straight fine leg to cut the losses from any leg-side wides and possibly catch any thick top edges. However, if I am going to bowl I'm going to have to make sure my head's in the right place. Last time I bowled in a match I began my over feeling rather flustered and nervous, so I've got to make sure I stay within Philpott's circle - "Steady yourself, set your grip, decide what to bowl and where, run in rhythmically, focus on the target, concentrate on just this ball, spin it hard!" Oh well, I'm sure I won't get a bowl but at least I'm prepared.

Above all though, I've got so much going on with me that I just want an enjoyable and absorbing afternoon's cricket to take my mind off things.

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