Monday, 4 February 2013

Another frustrating lay-off

Well it seems I'm fated to forever suffer minor injuries whose inconvenience is out of all proportion to their actual severity. You may recall I had a cricket ball hit my toe while batting last week. I thought initially it was just a bruised toe, and the toe itself seems nicely back to it's more normal colour with virtually none of the purple that developed in the first day, but the nail is now a concern as it is painful and discoloured. I won't say I've been in agony because that would be wrong, instead I've got just enough of that consistently low-level pain to keep me awake at night, as the pressure under the nail refuses to go away.

Having rung my old friends at NHS Direct yesterday (0845 46 47, I know the number off by heart now...), they suggested I had it checked, so off to the surgery I popped where I was lucky enough to take advantage of a cancellation. Having taken off the carefully modified shoe and sock (with toe sections cut away to put no pressure of the toenail) he took one look at it and his face did the medical equivalent of a plumber tut-tutting at a stuttering boiler. "Ah, so we've got a subungual haematoma" he said.

After confirming how old the injury was, he said that since by now the fluid under the nail had coagulated there was, essentially, nothing to be done other than wait for it to sort itself out, and in the meantime to stay away from any opportunity to have the nail bashed again. Actually I didn't need him to tell me that last bit. Furthermore, it may be the case (and I suspect it is) that the nail has broken inside the toe, in which case I will have to wait for the broken part to grow out and the nail to fall off and regrow itself. This regrowth can apparently take over a year, so I have no idea (and have yet to speak to anyone who does) at what point it will be possible for me to get back to cricket, and at what point the toe will feel right in terms of sensation.

So in addition to the weeks of discomfort, lost sleep and prolonged grumpiness this entails it would appear a large part of my pre-season prep has been kiboshed by a single delivery. At this point I can't even comfortably put on a pair of cricket boots, let alone run in to bowl and put pressure on that toe, especially since that toe plays a part in my bowling action that is quite literally pivotal.

Pissed off? You're darn tootin'.

Friday, 1 February 2013

First day back

Sunday saw the first indoor nets of 2013, and my first injury of the year, but more of that later. In the meantime, an explanation is required. The reason I left my blog virtually untouched for so long until now was simply that there didn't seem to be much to write about that was positive and interesting, so I didn't bother. I did play a lot of games last year but overall it was rather a downbeat season as my bowling never fully recovered from the broken finger enough for me to be bowling well, and I suspected that if I poured out the grumpiness within my head here, the act of assimilating it into prose would lead to it increasing. Anyway, now I get to start again with a clean sheet.

Just to catch up a little, Phil is now captain of the 4ths this year, our 4th official Captain in the 4 seasons I've been at Stafford, but at least he's been around for a few years and I know him well. He was the only candidate after I decided against having a go myself, because I did captain two games last year and still don't really feel up to it on a full-time basis. I've had a pretty cricket-free winter so far, lacking the obsessive reading of previous closed seasons, but I did get CB Fry's very entertaining autobiography for Christmas and recently bought Gideon Haigh's book "On Warne".

So on Sunday it was rather fun for the first net to sneak up on me. I'd almost forgotten about cricket and felt refreshed and ready, as opposed to the rather jaded feeling I sometimes have had towards the end of previous seasons, and much to my surprise my bowling action was reasonably well-organised right from the start with excellent turn and a really beautiful shape on only my second ball. I was bowling faster than normal and a little fuller than I intended, so my only concern at this stage is whether I may be repeating a previous mistake of slowing down the ball to land on a length rather than keeping the speed and dragging it down a touch more to find the target. Anyway, it felt pretty good overall so I'd rather not get bogged down worrying about technical aspects at this stage, I did get a few "wickets" and it seemed to come pretty naturally.

 As for batting, well it's hard to say. I did start off quite solid but as the stint went on it got worse, and I think it was more to do with bowlers finding their target than anything I was doing differently. I hit one or two nice shots and showed some decent blocking too but I was - as ever - clueless against out-swingers and not moving my feet far enough to meet the wider deliveries. Unfortunately I had to abandon the net a little prematurely when I rather foolishly chased a leg-side yorker, which struck my left big toe flush and on the full. A small amount of swearing ensued and I limped rather forlornly out of the net to inspect the damage, which appears to be some deep bruising but nothing more serious. It's swollen up a bit since and wearing shoes is a little painful, so until that goes away I'm out of action. Rather frustrating but what can you do.