Thursday, 17 April 2014

And so the campaign begins

All the waiting is (nearly) over, and so on Saturday I start my first season as a team captain with the new 5th XI. The Thirds have had a few problems with the ground they're renting and their game is off this weekend, so my selection's been relatively easy with a few more players to choose from than will I imagine be the norm. The team's got a good mix of core 5th team players, juniors and a smattering of 3rd XI experience and we should at least be reasonably competitive.

For me personally pre-season has gone pretty well. I haven't had to entirely re-learn my bowling action and I've been able to find a good length more often than not. My batting is what it is but my bat just keeps getting better - I'm not sure it was properly knocked in before but the ball's been really flying off the blade on the few (but increasingly frequent) occasions when I've found the middle. I'll probably place myself at about eight in the batting line up, and hopefully I can get the team to bat through its overs more and I'll be able to look to score some runs this year. There's still issues, particularly a tightening of my right bicep that's throwing my bowling off occasionally, but I'm feeling confident enough and that's tended to be the main factor towards whether I bowl well or not.

As for my captaincy, I'm starting to believe that I am just about ready for it. I've had a decent four year apprenticeship in the fourths and especially towards the end of last year I was starting to really feel as if I was reading the game well, particularly on those two or three occasions where I unilaterally positioned myself right underneath catches, even if I did drop them. One great thing about being captain is I'll no longer have that nervous feeling as the overs tick by of wondering when, or even if, I'm going to be brought on to bowl, but I'll have to take care not to inflict that on others. There's a lot for me to learn and a fair amount of "fake it 'till you make it" in terms of being vocal in the field and giving off the right physical messages with my body language.

I found an apt quote today, and given the team I'll be leading will probably lose more often than it wins I think I'll make it the team motto. It's from Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics:
The important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle; the essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well.
In my view what I need to get right is to get the team really playing as a team with everyone knowing their role, keeping everyone happy and seeing if I can make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Ultimately I'll know if I'm doing a good job based on how easy it is for me to find 11 players each week. It's going to be a really fascinating challenge.

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