Sunday, January 14, 2007

O ye of little faith

Oh ye of little faith
Like me I guess you spent quite a bit of the weekend practicing or training. You may have noticed the weather was dry for once with most of Sunday actually sunny. That meant as far as I was concerned it was cricket weather! Saturday ill prepared with only 10 balls I only managed to bowl the equivalent of 20 overs back to back with a lot of time spent walking from one end of the wicket to the other. Sunday I had 21 balls with me and bowled in excess of 33 overs back to back. Needless to say with that amount of practice (despite it being slippery underfoot) I got some stuff sorted.

Here’s a breakdown of my progress with each of my deliveries.....

Leg spin; I’ve made a big advance with this since the last indoor practice (Previously mentioned) in that my wrist is coming into play as well as the arm and fingers. Previously I’ve relied on the finger and arm action, but now the wrist is part of the action I think I’m going to be making some big advances. I also noted that The ball was coming out of my had more like a top spinner, so I’m working to rectify this and the majority of the balls thrown today and yesterday were my basic leg spin trying to get the ball to come out of my hand right, on target and turn when they hit the ground. I made some advances with the accuracy with about 80% on target. I spent the whole session both days almost throwing entirely long balls either Yorkers or full toss, but then laced that with some conventional 4 yards in front of leg. Overall I was pleased with the consistency but not with the spin. It may be that wet grass doesn’t allow it to spin as much as it should? It certainly was taking all of the bounce out of it that’s for sure.

Wrong-Un; Had a session of these as well last weekend and discovered I can do them easily. They seem to be easily done and turn into stumps from off with ease. Because they seemed so easy I’ve left them for a while. Had a go today and was surprised at how accurate they were, so Wrong-Un’s look promising for dryer weather.

Top Spin or Over Spinner; As above – seem really easy and accurate, but this one just goes straight, a faster ball.

Flipper; This is the one I like. Apparently it’s difficult to master. This is the reason I walk around with a ball in my hand 24-7 as I’m flipping it, building the strength and dexterity in my fingers to bowl it. Again this is one I’m confident about but acknowledge because it’s totally different to all the others I usually bowl a couple of lose ones till I get my line, but then I lose the element of surprise with it. It’s something I’ve got to work on with regards the line. The technique and length are all there, just the accuracy when it’s mixed in with other variations. The ‘Flipper’ element of it I reckon I’ve got cracked. Yesterday I threw a couple of overs and the back spin on it as they hit the deck was chucking up divots! These blokes turn as well on dry grass, it’s a nice ball to throw.

Slider; I’ve had a go at this and seem to be able to do something with it, but it doesn’t feel right. It’s like the wrong un and the over spinner in that it’s easily thrown on target, but my action felt wrong so I need someone at some point in the future to have a look at it for me one day.

In addition to this I’m training, doing all sorts of exercises to increase upper body strength. I’ve got a pull up bar jammed in the doorway of my office and I’m currently doing 15 – 20 a day in 5 at a time stints and then holding a chin tuck while I bring my knees up to my chin at least five times, that as well as others that I wont go in to. But needless to say I’m taking this seriously.

In the nets Saturday

In the nets this Saturday can I stake my claim to having a bowl a Thomas Slater and can I request Richard Sainsbury as the wicket keeper please as the F****r reckons he can knock me all over the park – we’ll see.
Back to the title of this entry in the blog.
I cannot imagine for a moment that any team we come up against at this stage what with playing friendlies is going to be any better than us – especially sports science. I reckon if we practice as we are, we’ll be okay and I’m supremely confident in that over the next few months my bowling for one is going to get so much better. I cannot wait for May so that I can go and watch some cricket teams playing on village greens to see if they’re doing what I’m doing and give myself a benchmark to work against.
I’ve had a couple of people already who have never faced me with a real ball in my hand, or have seen me recently say outright that I’m shit or that they can bat me all over the park, I can’t wait to face these people and see how they get on. Bring it on!

Finally pertaining to the title, I’ve just read an article from a website called on the website there’s a load of tactical stuff and ideas. In amongst that I came across the following…

It’s a little known fact that most club cricket games are won and lost with spinners. The reason is that most club batsmen tend to have a decent defence and not many shots while most club seamers tend to not be good enough to fire out the opposition.
That leaves the spinners to step in.
The great news is that club spinners don’t need to produce magic balls to rip through the opposition like seamers do.
They can do it with a decent level of accuracy, a confident captain who sets the right fields and an opposition who cannot resist having a go (and let’s face it, most club batsmen fancy themselves against spin).
You may have noticed a great big proviso in that last paragraph: Spinners need to be handled well enough to do their job. It’s very easy for a captain to think a spinner is bowling badly when he is buying wickets.
So how do the captain and spinner work together to do this?
The role of spin bowlers in club cricket
As we have discussed before,
players need to know their role in the team. So what is the role of spinners?
Without a doubt the number one role of club spinners to take wickets.
While some spinners will be more stock bowlers and some wicket buyers, all are the key to bowling sides out in
most conditions.
The quality of batsman is also a factor, with better players needing less flight and tail enders unable to resist loopier bowling.
Spot the difference
Although all spinners are wicket takers, almost all spinners are different too. Each spinner will have a unique style which will make a difference to the way they get wickets. These include:
Crease Position
Variations (arm ball, googly, over or round the wicket)
Batters preferences need to be taken into account too. Batsman who use their feet to drive will need more in the covers than sweepers for example.
While all these are vital factors to take into account, the key difference is whether they are off spin, slow left arm or leg spin.

So there you go we are going to win - You must be trying to win even at the risk of losing.