Sunday, 12 February 2012

Steady progress

Third net of pre-season today, with plenty of positives and the odd reality check - all in all a very useful session. As I was one of the first to turn up, I padded up and went in first. I like batting either first or last, as it means my bowling doesn't get as disrupted and allows me to concentrate on one thing at a time. Kieran was there today, and while I'm sure he'd admit his not the world's best bowler, he's a switched on guy and his bowling is consistent and pretty well thought out, a bit like the Tim Bresnan of the third team. There was also an off-spinner I haven't seen before - it seems he's down here at Uni and wanted somewhere to practise.

My batting didn't seem as good today, but I think the truth of the matter is that against better bowlers I got a truer picture of my current level. I was seeing the ball well but I was moving poorly particularly at the start, and Kieran soon found the gap under my bat to have me clean-bowled twice with yorkers. Same old, same old. It's a little frustrating but it's better that I'm found out now rather than later, as you can't fix a problem you're unaware of. That said I did get a few more yorkers bowled at me and I dealt with a majority of them well enough, so there is some progress. I'm having a lot of problems playing straight bat shots though, and I'm still heavily biased towards back foot shots.

After two weeks of bowling pretty poorly it was great today to finally find the answer to it all. I told Ali there was something wrong with either hand or wrist, and after he'd watched a few deliveries he suggested I was perhaps gripping the ball too hard compared to how he'd seen me bowl last year. As soon as I relaxed a bit I started bowling much better with more consistency, and although I still sent down the odd poor ball most deliveries were OK and several were very impressive. We had quite a few players who aren't club members practising with us today and I bowled one very nice ball that turned and bounced quite a bit, inciting a pleasing "Oooh!" from those that hadn't seen me bowl before. With Kieran and Ali I had two left-handers to bowl against and while it wasn't universally brilliant I wasn't suddenly falling apart like I did last year. Overall I was fairly pleased with my bowling, and now that I've solved the main problem I feel I can start making real progress.

I stuck around for the fielding drills and we had a very good session. My basic catching seems to be getting much better, even if it falls apart when I'm asked to catch one handed. I was concentrating well, watching the ball right into the hands, and when the pace increased I wasn't great but I was better, and that's the main thing. I did pick up a rather weird injury in my left arm though - I launched myself towards a tough catch, just failed to hold it but then had to put both hands out pretty quick to stop myself from going face-first into a breeze-block wall, and in doing so my left elbow bent a strange way, leaving it a bit sore, and my left tricep seems to have a sustained a strain - it's nothing major though.

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