Sunday, 13 March 2011

Double Plus Good

Finally today, everything felt right. It feels as if I'm beginning to get the hang of this ridiculously technical sport. OK, it wasn't perfect, but for once I came away satisfied with both my batting and my bowling.

As usual, I started off bowling, and in fact I asked Sam to give me the last batting slot so my bowling wouldn't be interrupted. One thing which helped was that I didn't face any left-handers today, but while that's still a question mark I should focus on the positives. My bowling was a little wayward at the start, but in a short time I found a decent length and was bowling a lot of dot balls and possible singles. As usual the batsmen were out to slog, but I still think my imaginary field would be a very effective one in the middle.

Sadly about half way in one batsman hit the ball straight to long on, and the ball I've been bowling with got stuck in the top of the net. I was pleased with what seemed a likely catch but having to change ball did cause problems. I got a new ball out but the shiny surface played havoc with my grip and I was spraying all over the place. As soon as I swapped it for an older ball (the sort of age I'd bowl with in a realistic match situation) I was quickly back to bowling well. The way the batsmen were playing and missing quite often against my bowling I do seem to be deceiving them in flight, so that was very encouraging. Shortly before I padded up someone went in behind the stumps to keep wicket and before too long I had an absolute cut-and-dried stumping!

So on went the pads with about a quarter of an hour left and immediately I was feeling good. I'm feeling very comfortable with my new bat now, and with today's brief being to watch the ball for as long as possible I was getting some really powerful hits on the ball. Most of my shots were cross-batted, so next week maybe I need to really focus on playing with a straight bat as often as possible. I certainly seem to be developing a bias towards back foot and on-side shots, and I need a little more range if I'm going to build an innings. I did edge a few but that's to be expected, and after playing aggressively for most of my time I decided to be purely defensive for the last few balls and got well behind the ball denying any chances. Another good session and I'm beginning to think I may have to set a more challenging target for runs this season.

After that we went outside for some fielding practise, and my catching is certainly improving, as is my throwing. I should be able to hold on to any dollies that come my way, but high skiers are still a big problem and added to that I seem to have injured my left thumb. My right hand was also stinging a bit but five hours later that's gone and the ache in the thumb persists. I've never broken a bone before but it seems I'd better get used to the idea that with hands as skinny as mine my run of luck in this area is bound to run out sooner or later if I keep playing cricket...

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