Monday, 7 March 2011

At least my inconsistency is consistent

Apologies for the lack of updates lately, I missed nets last week as my dad turned 60 and we had a family day. I've finally finished the post on nets the week before last, and that's below this one. As for nets today, rather frustratingly while my batting was much better than last week, my bowling took a dip. Why I can't get them both to improve simultaneously God only knows, and it's rather a pain.

So first, the bowling. I suppose I'm being hard on myself, as I was bowling a reasonable length from the start and feeling fairly rhythmical, but the end result somehow failed to satisfy. Again, I was lacking spin and not feeling that "flick", something I'm becoming increasingly concerned about as I'm simply not turning the ball as much as I could last year. My top-spinners do dip and my zooters do float, but I'm not detecting any drift from my leggies. For once I was disciplined enough not to venture outside these three variations, but the batsmen didn't seem to be in any way uncomfortable. At least my mental field settings seem to be fundamentally sound, and in the middle it probably wouldn't have been anything like the run-fest it looked like.

As is now standard, the introduction of a left-hander saw my bowling fall to pieces, and when I tried coming round the wicket it got worse, if anything. Maybe I need to remind myself that I'm still a learner and it's OK that I'm not at too high a standard just yet, but it still infuriates me. On the plus side, my zooter is growing to be a very useful variation and again today I successfully employed it to foil a batsman trying to play square.

By contrast, my batting felt really good today. Not flawless, by any means, but good enough to make a respectable score every now and then. I wasn't very defensive-minded, but what blocks I did play seemed OK. I was moving back and forward better that I can remember having done in the past, so maybe a recent change of contact lens type is helping me see the ball better and judge length well for once. There were some lovely pull shots and while the one sweep I played resulted in a top edge, it was poor execution rather than the wrong shot. If I can work on that it should be a good weapon. I do need to work on my drive though! I got a fair few compliments once I was done so it's good to know my improvement isn't wishful thinking.

Afterwards five of us went outside for some catching drills, and my catching was pretty poor by anyone else's standards. I'm still shying away from the ball though, and it's causing me quite a few problems. However by the end of it the coach had given me some tips that caused a significant improvement, and that's all I can ask. I really don't want to be the one dropping catches as I know the bowlers work hard to earn their chances.

P.S. I simply MUST finish this post with a mention of an event this morning that showed why cricket is such a magnificent game. It took place during England's incredible victory over South Africa, as Jacques Kallis got a feather on a ball from Broad, with Prior taking a very sharp low catch and appealing wildly to the Umpire. With no finger in any danger of lifting, Kallis turned to Prior and asked if the catch was clean, which Prior confirmed. Kallis walked.

What a magnificent example of sportsmanship, especially in view of the fact that in the end it probably cost his team the match. It's this kind of integrity that cricketers should guard as if their lives depend on it, as it is this spirit that marks cricket out as such a very special sport compared to so many other professional sports we see these days. Mr Kallis, I salute you.

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