Saturday, 21 April 2012

A new season dawns

Well that went quick! Later today I kick off my season with a league game against Leek & Moorlands, quite a tough first game for us. My own preparations haven't been perfect as the good weather came in March but the outdoor nets weren't open until April, but I have been gradually finding a rhythm and a length, albeit that my long-hops and full-tosses are endangered rather than extinct.

This feels like quite an important season for me. I made a huge amount of improvement last year so I need to carry that on if I am to really make a decent fist of this cricket thing. If I can't then it would appear that I will have found my level. I need improvements in all areas of the game - bowling, batting, fielding and last but not least captaincy.

My bowling of late has been so-so - I do feel a little undercooked but it's hard to bowl when it's pouring with rain. My stock ball is reasonable and my top-spinner is coming along nicely, my zooter isn't terrible but my attempts at a wrong 'un have all failed - they just come out with top-spin on, if they come out at all, so I'm still very much "LB" rather than "LBG". I did try a little bit of conventional off-spin but they were worse than my wrong 'uns. I've been concentrating hard on getting my front arm high and ruddering the action, and it seems to be a good improvement although it has caused soreness in previously untouched muscles. It's allowed me to straighten my run-up a touch so hopefully I'll be a little less vulnerable to back-foot no balls compared to last year.

I really don't know where my batting will be, I have at times felt a significant improvement in winter nets but there's still some pretty fundamental kinks in my technique to be ironed out. Maybe I can finally reach the lofty heights of double figures. Time will tell. I haven't had much fielding practice, but helping out with the juniors last night involved a lot of catching, so that's boosted my confidence a touch.

Of course all this is immaterial if, as forecast, the heavens piss on us from a great height this afternoon.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

You really can't grumble about a girlfriend who buys you a massive cricket-themed cake and the latest copy of WISDEN for your birthday, and it did make the discomfort of turning 30 on Wednesday a little more bearable. WISDEN 2012 is as usual a great read, and I'm heartened by the brief mention of club spinner Jim Eyles, who took his best bowling figures at the age of 72. So there's hope for us all.

As next year marks WISDEN's 150th edition they're holding a competition for people to write a piece on any cricket subject and the best one gets printed in the great book. There's no way I'm going to let an opportunity like that go begging, although as yet I'm a little unsure as to my topic. I've got until the end of November though, so there's no great rush...


MPA first eleven said...

Pencil, what's the deal with the captaincy - how come you're working on captaincy - you been promoted?

Pencil Cricket said...

Yeah I'm the Vice-Captain of the 4ths this year. Will probably be called on to skipper a game or two when the Captain's away.

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