Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cricket and more cricket

The weather continues - 26 degrees today as warm as Italy and places in the Med and Australia (Although it is their autumn). On the weather tonight they were saying that down here in the south we've not had any significant rains since early February. So far we've had about 3mm of rain which is nothing, but I'm not complaining that's for sure and it looks like it's going to stay like this till beyond Bank Holiday Monday. So we've been getting into the paddock and having a bowl and getting the net up in there and getting some other kids involved - Ben's mate Kieran who's not too bad.

If we're not in the Paddock we're over at the old tennis courts playing in there with a rubber ball. Ben's bowling well, once he's a couple of looseners he's fast and accurate. Joe's bowling is up and down and he seems to do better when you focus his attention by saying 'Joe...4 good balls on the trot I want' and then he seems to bowl well. Some days he spins it some days it just goes straight and this week he's been bowling straight and fast, but seems to appreciate that he get more wickets when he bowls slow with the prospect of it turning. He's got a good Wrong Un that he can just turn to, but like me his Leg Break although good isn't as good as his Wrong Un, but saying that he's bowled a couple of people round the back of their legs a couple of times in the last couple of months.

This was April 19th in the morning, warm and dry and I'd cut the wicket the day before and I'd lowered the blades a bit, but nowhere near their lowest setting. As I've said before, the wicket this year doesn't seems as good as it was last year in May, but it could be still I reckon with some rain. There are big cracks already appearing, but as yet not in the middle of the wicket.

From the bats end (Above).

Here's Joe and view that I've not posted on the blog before. I'm currently compiling a video of the 19th which I may post up on Youtube on my channel.

My own bowling is coming together slowly still impeded to some extent by the fact that I've got this knee injury that I'm slowly nursing back to health. On a plus side though I had a bit of an epiphanal moment a couple of weeks back with regards getting the ball to spin from the hand more. I can't remember what made me do it or trigger the idea, but I just flicked the ball from the hand in a new way and noticed that it spun really well with what appeared to be little effort and lots of control. I've always found that when you ask Leg Break bowlers about their release, trying to get them to explain it, they're a bit vague on the mechanics of it and their response is usually pretty much short of useless. On the internet you have Warne and Jenner showning you how and loads of other people including myself showing the same basic method AKA "The 2 up 2 down grip" spun off the 3rd finger. But even by my own admittance that's pretty vague. You have to have read further to then understand that this isn't definitive, Peter Philpott for instance says that this is just a starting point or basic template and that many people have different varitations of the same thing. But it's the concept of spinning the ball off the 3rd finger that again is difficult to grasp, especially when some people do it and tear their fingers to shreds on the seam and other people have no such problems which then suggest that they've either got exceptionally soft hands or maybe I'm doing something wrong myself?

With that concern that perhaps I am doing something wrong? I'm always open to new ideas and approaches to flicking the ball out of the hand. There's also the concept of not only a regualr leg break with a standard flick that produces for most part the ball that spins approx 45 degrees off it's forward axis, but the 'Biggun' a Big Leg Break with the ball spinning with the seam rotating 90 degrees or thereabouts to the line of flight with the seam tilted forwards in flight. This ball drifts, dips and turns at right angles almost if it hits some rough. For the Wrist Spinner it's the Holy Grail, the ball that we all covet and for most you may be able to get the ball out of the hand with the 90 degree seam, with a lot of practice, but then controlling its flight, length, line and when you want to produce one in a game is nigh on impossible. In essence there's a lot going on when you bowl one of these boys and the final part of the equation is the way the 5.5oz ball flies off your 3rd finger. Now when you think about your 3rd finger and what it does during your life, it doesn't add up to much does it? And, usually when it is doing it, it has its mates working alongside it, so precision and strength in throwing a leather ball 22 yards, making the leather ball rotate fast enough to cause an audible fizz through the air is a big ask. Hence the experimentation on my part and this..........

which may seem a little bizarre on first inspection. (Ah! It's coming back to me where the influence came from, read on......). The idea came about through observations of the pictures in Peter Philpotts book - yes he of the 'Big Leg Break' and the 'Big Flick'. If you own a copy of his book 'The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling', have a look at the photo's of him releasing the ball and his hand position as soon as it's released, especially his thumb (Pages 19 & 38). As soon as the ball is released his hand is akin to a clenched fist, but I knew that my hand wasn't after my release and this led me to trying to figure out what he might be doing and whether this method was easier in any way and Lo and Behold it was!

I've run this past a few other wrist spinners on forums and they've come back with an acknowledgement that there is something in this and some have said that this is what they already do, but would have been stuck as to explain it. I've found that it gives me (In the short term) a lot more accuracy and the ability to spin the ball harder and with more control e.g. I can decide to release the ball with a 90 degree seam presentation with only a little concentration and effort and it massively reduces the potential of drag downs. At the minute I'm not bowling it particularly fast, but it looks very promising for the longer term, so watch this space for more news.

Knee news

The knee does seem to be getting better and I bowled again today with the bound with no consequences. I've trotted around a bit today, but sprinting is still a way off yet.