Even though it's Dec and the temperature has been around 2 - 4 degrees centigrade the last few days I've still been managing to get out and bowl quite a bit. I've been submitting loads of questions and reports on my bowling progress on the forum at www.simplycricket.net as well as getting advice on what to do about my damaged calf muscle and on both fronts I've been getting loads of feedback that's been helpful.
My calf muscle at last seems to be definitely on the road to recovery after being advised to take it really easy. For more than a week now I've had no twinges and it seems as though it's okay. I've even leapt up flights of stairs in the last few days and it's been fine. Despite this I'm going to continue to take it easy and not do any exercise on it till the new year and then start to get it back in action.
My bowling in the last week seems to have undergone massive improvement. One of the blokes on www.simplycricket.net in discussion made this point -
Ok, after reading this, one thing screams through my head.You have the leg spin variants, but you don't have the stock ball. This is pretty, i wouldn't say worrying, but for a leg spinner not being able to bowl it, then it isn't effective, you need one ball which spins, and when i say spin, i mean its the ball you fall back on when everything else fails.So, my suggestion, just how good are you at offspin? Because you can keep all your variants of legspin, and if you can spin using offspin, then i'd say we're onto a Sachin Tendulkar kind of moments, where you can use both.
Off the back of the comment I made a decision to look at the Leg break again and see if I could re-learn it. I looked at the Shane Warne Vid's and sussed out what I need to be doing and started throwing balls around indoors. I've now progressed onto bowling spells where I concentrate on the leg break and bit by bit it's coming together. In the mean time I'm still spot bowling with all the other variations except for the slider. They are all getting much better. I've now bowled 7 consecutive balls onto my designated 3' x 10" spot and regularly hit it now in sequences of 3 and four. Today I had an exceptional practice where for a 20 minute period bowling primarily flippers, Wrong Un's and Top spinners I was bowling 6 out of 7 good balls all on the spot or very near or turning into the stumps, which is probably the best bowling I've ever done! So tomorrow as the weather is dry I'm going to go over to one of the local fields with a set of stumps and try it with real balls and see how much success I have.
Two of the key things I've realised is that with different variations the leading arm has to point in different places. For instance the Flipper needs my leading arm to point in the direction of leg slip almost in order that the balls is directed towards the stumps. The other thing I've noticed that has changed is the walk-in. I now do this thing which is like a dance move where my right leg passes round the back of my left leg as I twist my body so that the delivery action is bodily sideways rather than forwards. It's difficult to explain - I've tried to do a diagram but it's not that easy. What I'll try and do is get hold of a video camera or someone with a phone with a video function and youtube it or make it available somehow for people to comment on.
I've also found someone who'll give me some coaching for a very reasonable price in West London. So if you need coaching checkout http://calypsocricket.co.uk/default.aspx I'm hoping to have at least a session with him between now and the new season.