I have a patience problem when I am batting
I’ve been exchanging emails with my good mate Robert in Colorado Springs over the past couple of days. This isn’t unusual; we talk a lot about cricket and lately the discussion has revolved around the imminent exodus of the Australian cricket team. With much of the side pushing their mid to late 30’s it’s only a matter of time before we see fresh faces in the squad. A lot of fresh faces.
Robert is from Trinidad & Tobago; our resident West Indian cricketer in the Colorado Cricket League made up of mostly expat Indians and Pakistani’s.
He’s also a dear friend not only to me, but my wife and two boys as well. We’ve stayed with Robert a number of times during our weekend-long cricket trips to the Denver area.
Robert said something in his most recent email that got me thinking about my cricket. He said:
Hey Mikey,I was smiling when I read this and had to send it to you because you immediately came to mind. It sounds like something that would be on your report card too …
“During a training camp at the Academy when he was in an under-17 squad Gilchrist was singled out because he hit too many boundaries.”
It was part of the Cricinfo article talking about him being the first man to hit 100 6’s in Tests … he’s on 97 from 88 matches and Lara’s second with 88 from 131 matches. Ain’t that amusing?
When batting my natural tendency is to nudge and curdle like a Bevan or a Hussey. I have found though, while playing in the Colorado Cricket League, that my game seems to be better suited playing aggressively. Here’s the thing though – I still have to learn patience. I’ll tell you why.
When I scored 55 against Littleton this year, it was the first game of the season. I got to 50 in about 20 balls. Because I was batting so quickly without any false strokes, I had so much time to go on and make a really big one. I had just pulled Dharma for six to bring up the half century. I then slapped Kit straight down long-on’s throat because I got caught up in the moment.
Then when we were playing CSU at CSU you gave us a tremendous start and I came in with Ray to give us the advantage. Ray played beautifully smart while I gave an early half chance (long on spilled a tough chance) before finding my groove and scoring faster than a run a ball on the tough CSU ground. With a 50 in sight, and who knows what else, I tried to hit their innocuous medium pacer for six only to sky it straight up. I gifted my wicket when they were clearly rattled and wondering how the hell to get me out.
And the best (but worst) story of the lot. Playing for Berridale in Country NSW with my cousin. When asked what I do I told them I was an all-rounder. They put me at #7. I didn’t protest to bat higher or anything, I was a guest. But I walked out with the score at 5-38, the grass was long, and I could be forgiven that it had an eerie Colorado feel to it. I received a bouncer first ball that I pulled for six and didn’t look back. It wasn’t charge and bang cricket, it was calculated destruction. One full ball on my pads disappeared for six; you remember what that looks like, I hit one just like it against Denver Sluggers in a pre-season game and you told me yourself it had Viv Richards stamped all over it. I tore the other team apart with six 6’s and a four and raised my 50 with a six to long on that dented a fence about 30 yards beyond the boundary. Next ball I left my crease for the first time in the innings and skied their spinner to long on, out for an even 50. I could have scored 150 that day.
I’m hoping I remedy this problem when I finally settle near Sydney…
I know what you mean … big hitting generates so much adrenaline, you have to consciously talk to yourself and concentrate even more to play each one on its merit. The opening over against DSCC in the 20-20 happened because the bowler self-destructed where a decent bowler like say Nadeem or Dipal might have adjusted.
I think the key as a batsman – against decent bowling – is to not try to make good balls into bad balls and to take caution around milestones. By the time I had the first two boundaries, I just had to wait for the next hittable ball because Rahul wasn’t mentally tough enough to correct his mistakes. Then each successive ball sank him deeper into trouble. Of course the size of some of those blows might have rattled him too … having a lost ball and almost having to fetch a 3rd new ball in the first over! 🙂
Just talking about that day makes me want to pad up and have a knock 🙂 … I’m always shadowing short balls at work while waiting on the microwave … practising my footwork for the pull/hook shot and thinking about how much time I would have to hit Jarrar like that! 🙂 Seriously, I do that! Do we love this game or what?
So what’s going on with you … are you in CA now … what’s your timeline?
That’s excellent advice! Caution around milestones, that’s clearly a big one for me. Trying to turn good balls into bad ones, well… I still have some work with my thought process there. If I’m dominating a bowler I just don’t want to give him a sniff of confidence. Your example against Rahul was great. You hit him for 32 in the first over of the game and 2 balls were lost! What if you had have decided to block one because in the back of your mind you were worried you were overdoing it? What if you were beaten? Out playing cautious? You’d kick yourself for going into your shell for no apparent reason right?
I’m thinking that walking across or hitting across the line because you’re getting carried away is a big no-no. But if you’re hitting cleanly through the line and destroying a bowler, I say keep doing it. Yes… I want to pad up and knock too. I have some unfinished business, like raising a century in a league game. I’m going to have to wait on that one…
Still in CA. House still hasn’t sold so we’re in a perpetual limbo here.
Hi there, saw your blog profiled on IT2M. I’m in the opposite situation: an American living in Oz, my husband is a born-n-bred Sydneysider. We have a couple hybrid dual citizen kids too. Good luck with all your plans to move! Guess you’ll have to change the name of your blog now… *g*
I can’t tell you how many games I’ve watched where a batsman has lost his wicket immediately after hitting 50 or scoring the century.
Never having played other than on the schoolground (where scores were never kept) I’m not sure I’m qualified to make observations, but if I bring my golfing experience in to play, that’s a whole different ballgame. Just like in cricket, a score of 100 is a big deal to the average hacker. My father broke 100 a couple of times, I never did. I had quite a few opportunities but always ended up choking and shooting a 101 or 102, or worse. It’s sad when you need a perfectly achievable 4 on a Par 3 to break 100 and you shoot a 102 or worse.
I think in cricket, just like in golf, you feel the pressure as you approach that milestone, whether it be 50 or 100 (or higher still). You’re at 98 and on edge, until you hit a boundary to break the ton. Now the pressure is off and you’re all relaxed…too relaxed even. Because the next ball is a long, slow full toss and in your elation at breaking the ton you try to pull this easy delivery for a six, and instead you get caught out at silly mid-on, which leaves you feeling a bit silly, too.
I’ve even seen batsmen break the ton and try to casually pad away the next ball (a little too casually) only to be clean bowled because they misjudged the delivery.
I think it’s important to be relaxed. You cannot play your best game if you’re on edge all the time, but you also cannot let your guard down or you’ll make silly mistakes.
You sound like a very talented batsman, and I’d be surprised if I don’t see you playing for New South Wales sometime during the next few years, but I also think that will only happen if you can keep a cool head and keep your wicket after hitting those milestones.