Seven days to go till the first match of the season assuming I get a game. But I am so up for it and I cannot wait.
A good day with the Leg Breaks
Once again the field was used for football (When does all that lark finish)? The damage sustained wasn't too bad, but I reckon some repairs will need to be made over the next few weeks as later in evening I cut the grass and it does seem pretty uneven. There's some bare patches that should be filled with some earth and some seed so I might look at doing that over the coming weeks especially if there's more rain due as that'll get the seeds going.
I had a look at the potential for bowling up against the wall of the building at the edge of the field and it's do-able but not that good. I gave it a go but wasn't happy about it and decided instead to set the stumps up on the field with a bucket of balls. I started with 11 yards and gave it a go but it wasn't that productive and after a short while I reverted back to the 22 yards and worked on some proper bowling. With a bucket of 34 balls throwing them from one end to the other for an hour and half I got through the equivalent of a lot of overs and it was very productive right from the outset. Remembering all the points from yesterday I started out with all those attributes included and it went great right from the start. There were still dips and troughs were instead of turning away to off the ball went straight, some of the balls bounce ridiculously low others bounce high like Top Spinners, but over all my line and length was good pitching the ball right up and on the off stump for it to turn away towards off in varying degrees of spin, with varying degrees of bounce. I didn't muck about with hardly any variations and kept plugging away at the leg break and it seems to be paying off as I was more than happy with my progress. How well it'll convert to a proper wicket I don't know, all I know is on this sticky and damp wicket I can get it to turn well and on concrete with a hockey ball I can get it turn well too. But I know from bitter experience last year that real wickets are often dead with no potential for the ball to turn, so I've got to keep this in mind.
I was so pleased with the results today that I'm tempted to get the video camera and set it up on the stumps at the bowlers end and chuck down a bucket of balls and upload the results onto youtube so that all my chums can have a look and evaluate my progress. I've also been bouyed by learning about Anil Kumble http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anil_Kumble & http://content.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/229949.html This bloke reputedly had a weak Leg break and a bucket full of variations including a killer Fast Wrong Un, Flippers and Top Spinners (A man after my own heart). The bit I like about him is the fact that despite the fact that he had this weak leg break he is the 3rd most successful bowler of all time behind Warne and Murali. For years he lacked variations and it wasn't until a long way into his career and nearing the end of it did he learn the variations. His tactics included varying the speed and length and this apparently was one of the key elements to his bowling that brought him the wickets.
I had a couple of hours break and had my dinner, batted with the Bradman bat and tennis ball up against a wall and that's still going well and then cut the grass. Then found I had 1/2 and hour and went and threw 2 buckets worth of balls (70 balls) wondering if I could repeat the earlier success. The answer is yes. The second session also went really well including some bowling wide of leg that came back in and hit the bails. I also bowled a few variations earlier today including The Gipper which I don't really bowl that much, but despite this I managed to pitch them all up at a good length and they all turned like leg breaks. I also looked at the potential of bowling it mixed with Wrong Uns and starting the Wrong Un with the ball held like the Gipper because it has got a very distinctive grip at the start of the gather. So if I was to use it the bat would see the grip at the gather and think 'This is that weird ball that's going to turn away from me' and then it would come back in faster into the stomach! The Gipper also has the potential to go straight without any reason, so it's dodgey old ball for the batsmen.
With 7 days to go I'm going to focus on the Leg Break and try and improve on the accuracy with my line, length and flight. I'd like it to be more loopy with dip and at the minute I don't really know how well it dips, so it'll be good to see how it works at nets this week? Overall running up to the new season I reckon I've improved a lot over the last six months. I've put in a lot of work to get my Leg break back and this now looks as though this work is coming to fruition. At the close of last season The Gipper was still in a developmental stage. I'd lost my confidence to bowl flippers and I couldn't bowl a leg break at all. I go into this season with -
1. The Leg Break.
2. A good Wrong Un with variations in speed, dip, bounce and spin.
3. A decent Warnesque Flipper.
4. The Clarrie Grimmet Flipper with In-swing.
5. A good Top-spinner that dips.
6. The Gipper.
In addition I'm beginning to grasp tactics and starting to recognise weaknesses in batsmen's play. I know longer get the Yips and will probably bowl with a lot more confidence.
So it's looking good - I can't wait! All of which leaves me very optimistic with regards this season and beating my mate the Wizard.