Sunday, 19 February 2012

Tonk it like Trumper

For whatever reason nets today (someone said the traffic was particularly bad) was only attended by six of us, and while I'd sooner have a few more turning up for the sake of the club, for me this was one of the best sessions I've had as far as my batting's concerned, and I didn't even bat in the nets!

I'll deal with the bowling pretty quickly. It wasn't great again with the odd great ball but very poor consistency, Although I did find that I was pivoting up and over my front foot a lot better, especially on the good balls. I suspect it's more likely to be indicative of a good action in other parts of the body rather than the initiator of them, but it's good to get a sense for what it feels like and hopefully when I ramp up my outdoor practise I can really nail this part of my action.

As I said, I didn't have a bat in the nets today as with much of the hall empty I had the space to get a few throw-downs to find a solution to my problem with yorkers, which I thought would be a lot more useful than just swinging the bat at the assorted bowers we had present. I got some throw-downs on or slightly short of a yorker length from the coach and I think we found the problem. What I seem to be doing wrong is going the same distance forward for every ball, and with yorkers that means I'm too far forward and trying to hit the ball as it bounces, rather than just after, hence the ball ends up going under the bat. It's good to know as I find it slightly counter-intuitive - I thought you simply play back to shorter balls and go forward to fuller ones, but I'm now clearer in my mind that when it's very full that stride out should be a bit shorter.

After that we all did some work on just two shots, starting with dancing down the wicket. It's a wonderful shot and a really great asset to the game of cricket, with the batsman taking the bowler on but in such a way that he's taking a big risk of stumpings, and catches at mid-on/mid-off if he hits up. Get it right and it's a massive statement of confidence, and it's such an exciting thing to watch. The set up was that we were in a pair, with each in turn feeding half a dozen tennis ball drop-downs to the other, and we'd hit after the second bounce. We started off trying to hit along the ground, and to my astonishment I was hitting the ball really well, ending up in a nice shape. I'm reasonably tall (5'11") and quite long-limbed so I was able to move a surprisingly large distance in a small amount of time, even adjusting pretty well to the odd one that bounced funny. We moved to hitting in the air (over the bowler's head) which isn't really my style, but I was still pretty good. I've never played the shot in nets or matches so it was good to get some confidence with it and next time there's a slow spinner bowling I'm going to try and have a go and see if one day it may be worth gambling on in a match.

We moved on to the sweep shot, and the difference was absolute night and day. I could barely hit the ball at all, let alone with any control - it really was quite comical! I stuck with it but I just couldn't get bat on ball, and Ali who was feeding the balls simply said "well I guess that just isn't your shot mate", which was fair comment. "Oh well," I said, "I'd rather be Victor Trumper than Kevin Pietersen any day!"

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