Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Getting away from it all

I've had a few things on my mind lately so nets last Sunday was purely about isolating myself from the real world for a couple of hours and having fun. As such my batting was pure village stuff, and my bowling wasn't as focused as usual although it wasn't too dreadful.

When I arrived only Amar and Scott were there so I lead them in and padded up, with just their off-spin to face to begin with. Amar, whose ready smile, beard and patka inevitably lead to him having the nickname "Monty" among those who can't be bothered to tell the difference between right arm off-spin and slow left arm orthodox, was bowling at me for the first time and he's a much better bowler than I previously gave him credit for, pretty quick with a bit of turn and a change of pace, and Scott's not bad too, so I struggled to hit any but the looser balls well although I largely protected my wicket until Shaun turned up bowling quickish seam-up yorkers. I did try charging down the wicket a couple of times to Scott and both times it resulted in a spectacular failure to hit the ball, but I had a good giggle about it at least. I've got to start somewhere with it. I really have got to start playing the drive more often, but I wasn't concentrating as hard as normal so I'm not going to beat myself up about it this week.

As for my bowling, it was pretty loopy and not tremendously quick even by my standards. Ali said I was bowling with a bent arm again, which is rather a pain as it's a classic sign that I'm trying to compensate for problems elsewhere in my action. Amar is, like all Indian players, an unusually good player of spin but I got in a nice groove, tried the odd variation and they seemed to work pretty well. Against Ali (left-hander) I found it very difficult to find the right line, which is a very narrow channel between giving him something to swat off the pads and bowling it too wide to threaten off-stump, but my length seemed to be improving. I still can't get the feeling in my hand consistently right though, and that's a real headache. I really can't wait for the outdoor nets to open so I can get to the bottom of it. One of the guys batting is clearly not very experienced and Ali said exactly what I was thinking - he looked just like I did two years ago, backing away, eyes not level, bat not coming down straight, trying to pull everything. He's just got to work at it. It was a nice little reminder of how far I've come myself.

After that we did the one fielding drill which is absolutely my least favourite and I lost my temper a little, retiring to the bench for a sit down. I hope everyone understood and I think they did. It was just one of those where the ball seemed to hate me, and when I went to pick up the ball and looked up to find someone had given me one stump rather than three to aim at I wasn't best pleased. There's no point making it harder if I can't get the easier stuff right first. One bright spot was that I managed to channel my rage into a very fast overarm throw to the keeper which hit the stumps with a satisfying clang. We then did a more satisfying pick up on the move and throw exercise before going outside, where I helped out with the high catches rather than taking part. That's another one that's bound to frustrate me, and I can't be bothered with that just now.

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