I'm well chuffed with this, I had a look at this back in late September. I scrolled back through page 100 + on Google looking to see if my new website was making any impact on the searches for the theme 'Wrist Spin Bowling' and there was nothing. But today I only had to go back to page 7 in the searches to find one associated with this website, so that's a massively encouraging sign and a big thanks to all my readers.
It looks as though all the effort put into putting that specific page together has paid off, so I'll keep going. It's good to see that my old blogs were still up there in the first two pages, so if you're still looking at them another big thanks and while you're over there on those old blogs click the adds for me as they'll page for the up-keep of this website!
I managed to get out today just before lunch and have a bowl. The air was dead still so no wind to assist with getting any drift. I bowled 3 buckets of 30 balls. The initial bucket (Red dots) using an upright arm which is usually the more accurate. I went straight into it rather than warming up, so emulating a situation where you’d be thrown the ball and perhaps only have time to bowl the ball at the mid-off players before bowling for real. The target area was set fuller today - about 9' from the stumps (6' approx.) from the batsman and my younger son Joe did the observation of where the ball landed and marked it on the sheet below. The positioning of the target are wasn't intentional and is probably a bit too full.
The top illustration shows the 1st 30 balls and in comparison with the following two buckets of 30 is very full and lacks the accuracy that I’m after and this was using a delivery method I usually consider to be the more accurate of the two arm positions I’m currently working with. This set of 30 was with a more vertical arm.
The Yellow ball illustration was the 2nd batch of 30 and the blue ball illustration was the last 30 and it's obvious that as I get into a rhythm things improve. But, as Wrist spinners looking to be in the game we/I need to produce accuracy from the outset..
I reckon this definitely too full and needs to be pulled back another 3’ or a metre.
This is definitely a good drill to do and easily recorded if you've got a mate that can watch where the ball lands and mark it on a piece of paper to show how accurate you are when bowling, it also puts a little bit of pressure on you and you have to bowl with purpose. So in terms of its usefulness it's SMART...
Specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and timely and uses resources easily put together other than the 30 balls.
Balmy end of October here in the UK. Today and yesterday the temperature was in the region of 15-17 degrees centigrade. It hasn't rained much of late, so the ground is still dry and I'm still able to practice. Hopefully this'll continue over the weekend and then I can't imagine it'll continue, so this will probably be the last two days.
I had two practice sessions today, 90 + balls each session, working with the accuracy drills trying to land it on the target zone. Despite the fact that I'm constantly doing this I still find that I have to remind myself to do things like loosen my grip and push my knee through in the delivery during the pivot, probably due to years of doing it in the wrong way and I'm still in the process of un-learning these things which is kind of frustrating.
The other thing I did today which I've done a few times of late is return to the run up off of 5 steps which I was working on last year till the start of the season when I twisted my knee. I still haven't totally discarded the idea of running up and the reason I've come back to it a little is the fact that I tried it with a slightly more round arm approach and was surprised to find that it was quite accurate and an awful lot faster than bowling off of 2 steps. Hopefully the weather will hold and I'll get at least two more sessions in over the weekend and then I'll have to come up with a plan for over the winter to keep things ticking over, I feel like I've made some decent advances in the last couple of months and it would be good to carry this forward to next season.
I wrote a post up yesterday with regards to the psychology of the game advocating the use of social media/blogging as a method of getting under the skin of batsman. See 'Local Bunnies', but thinking about it a bit more I'm not sure whether its a good idea as it might invite a confrontational reaction? I did suggest alongside keeping a data base and a record of all your successes and battles and posting all the info on-line e.g. in a blog with the names of the batsman, you might also put their photo's up on-line. I think that part of it I might retract on. I reckon I'll look at it again and emphasis that you make it about you and not so much about the batsman and to dilute that aspect slightly, so I don't think the use of a photo is such a good idea.
Had a drive around the local area today trying to get shots of some of the local pavilions before they're pulled down or have their usage changed. Alongside the main pavilion project I've kind of got another project on the go involving places where there used to be pavilions or/and disused pavilions. In two hours and a round trip of about 40-45 miles I shot about 5 pavilions focusing on the traditional style. Although I did re-shoot the Lake Meadows pavilion in Billericay which is the bog standard rectangular council shed style.
I shot two in Billericay, Essex. The first is the Billericay CC pavilion which is rather grand and their ground is used by Essex County Cricket club for different purposes. This pavilion has within its wall two full size indoor nets on the ground floor.
The other pavilion in the Billericay area was the one mentioned above - Lake Meadows where I played a number of times when I played at Chadwell & Pitsea CC. This is a council facility and is in a very nice section of the Lake Meadows park - ringed almost 360 degree with mature trees. The wicket turns as well, I had a fantastic game there years ago under the captaincy of my mentor Neil Samwell where we won by 1 run.
The project as it stands at the moment can be found here http://www.wristspinbowling.com/pavilion-typology.html or via the tab at the top of the page.
Half term so I'm off and able to go and shoot some images of pavilions. Hopefully if I can get off the computer, get some practice in and do some decorating I'll be able to slope off and shoot a few. Last week I got some shots of defunct pavilions in Tilbury, Essex. At the moment I'm doing some research into Tilbury's cricket history, so it was good to get out and shoot two that are still only just there before they're pulled down or changed beyond recognition. The one here was used by Tilbury Cricket Club up till the late 1980's early 1990's. I lived in Tilbury as a kid and vaguely remember it being built late 1960's?
When Tilbury CC disappeared, the players went on to join Grays and Chadwell cc as far as I'm aware. The pavilion which was a dual use facility e.g. Football and cricket as far as I'm aware continued to be used for football, but in recent years the building was burnt down by arsonists and looks like this at the moment.
This is part of my Pavilion Typology project (See tabs) or link via this http://www.wristspinbowling.com/pavilion-typology.html
Progress on my research into Tilbury's cricket history can be found here - http://mpafirsteleven.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/cricket-history-tilbury-essex.html
I've not been able to get on line at all for the last two weeks as my internet went down and my provider Talk Talk couldn't resolve the issue for about 18 days. My family have been banging on about changing over to BT, so I rang them hoping that if I swapped I'd get back on line quicker than Talk Talk would be able to send and engineer and fix the problem. Nope, post Brexit it seems we're much closer to The Abyss than I thought and it's going to take BT 3 weeks to get me on-line and I'm a new customer!!!
Tonight my neighbour has given me his Wi-Fi pass code and I'm on for a short while, but I should be up and running again with BT on the 23rd of Sept.
Missed out on two of the final games of the season as I've been up to Derbyshire to celebrate my nieces birthday. While I was up there I managed to shoot another batch of images for my Pavilion typology. One of the main ones that I was hoping to shoot was Risley CC and the research seemed pretty straight forward and I thought it would have been the easiest to find. In the end I had to give up on it at the first attempt to locate it as I couldn't find it and the locals - one of whom said "I've lived here 13 years mate, there's no cricket pitch here in Risley". As we stood unbeknown to both of us 30 metres from the entrance to the track to the pitch. The thing I hadn't made a note of was that it was set back some distance from the main road - 1/2 a mile or so along the track.
Having gave up with the light failing and three locals all claiming to never heard of the club I returned home to check Google maps again. In the end having noticed the pitch backed onto the A52, I stopped on the way home in a layby adjacent to the pitch and scrambled through some bushes and up a bank and came in via the backdoor as such. Well worth it though.
Others like this can be seen at the main gallery http://www.wristspinbowling.com/pavilion-typology.html or via the link at the top of the page.
How slow can you bowl spin?
The answer is slow. I’m sure you’ve all been in games where you’ve seen decent players dismissed by what looks like ridiculously slow bowling. It’s one of the things that drew me into the game when I saw Shane Warne bowling back in the 1990’s.
I came to cricket late in life, so missed out on my physical peak, so for me it’s a reality that I’ll just get slower. Being the age I am, I have to look after myself otherwise I’m going to sustain injuries. In the past I’ve suffered chronic injuries to my rotator cuff when learning how to bowl the ‘Wrong Un’ and over the last 10 years of developing and learning wrist-spin I’ve gone through phases where I’ve explored trying to bowl significantly faster than my natural speed.
I noticed a few years ago that I had a conundrum - if I bowled faster the ball was flatter and therefore didn’t really get above the batsman’s eyes and was therefore easier to play. Also with the speed came a reduction in turn. If I bowled slower and loopier, the batsman just played me off of the back foot. Basically I was screwed, but I realised there was something missing. Reading further (Possibly Amol Rajan’s book “Twirlymen”) I came across a quote from an international batsman who spoke about both Warne and Mushtaq Ahmed. I can’t remember the exact quote, but it related to the manner in which the ball left their hands and ended up with the batsman’s wicket. He said initially the ball looked innocuous – slow and as though the trajectory would mean that it would land full and be readily driven on the half volley, but then as it neared, he said in both cases (Warne and Ahmed) the ball seemed to momentarily hang in the air, before suddenly viciously dipping and at the same time swerving to the leg-side (Drift). The dip then meant the ball was no-longer on the predicted trajectory and was now on a length that made it problematic, it then spat up and turned viciously making it totally un-playable.
Warne and Ahmed both do this at around 55mph. I knew at the time that if I was to have bowled at a trajectory at that speed – getting the ball above the eye-line it would have ended up in their neck/chest area. So what was I not doing? The answer is I wasn’t spinning it. I was spinning it, but nowhere near-enough, I was rolling the ball out of the fingers rather than flicking the wrist and giving the ball a good rip.
So I had to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t consistently giving the ball a good rip, despite the fact that I constantly do this when at home and with an apple or an orange in my hand like someone with OCD.
This season I feel like a lot of things have come together for me, although I haven’t had a particularly good one, but I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that at 56 I’m not going to be able to run-in like Stuart MacGill or Mushtaq Ahemd in his peak. So I’ve had to revert to a Jenner –esque approach to the crease as seen in his BBC videos and the ECB’s ‘Wings to Fly’ video. But I was still concerned about the speed, but then I remembered a bloke from one of the recent cricket world cups… Majid Huq. He’s Scotland’s highest wicket taker in ODI’s with some big scalps to his name and yet he is known as the slowest bowler in international cricket, bowling occasionally under 40mph https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTYPSw9KUG4
This for me was a lifeline and provided the inspiration to dig deeper into the question what is it I need to do to get the ball to have the attributes that were described by the batsman above?
I put in a lot of time last year looking to speed-up my approach to the crease and it was going well, but there was an issue with getting the right shape and action at the pivot (FFC). It was observed by a mate of mine who is a coach that it came together when I slowed down at front foot contact, which then made it almost pointless running in I thought. Furthermore I noticed with my son when I bowled at him, he was smashing me for 4 with the fast approach and rarely losing his wicket, but was getting out all of the time if I bowled slower.
The final part of the jigsaw came together via a discussion about drift on a forum. One of the blokes made the comment (having seen one of my videos on Youtube) that all the time I bowled with a near vertical arm, I was unlikely to get the ball to drift.
Since the realisation that I wasn’t ripping the ball that much I’ve worked on that and I’m probably spinning the ball harder and faster than I ever have. That seems to have been improved by the slowing down of my approach to the crease. But the biggest development came with the lowering of the arm. With the lowering of the arm I’m now getting the ball to drift, dip and turn massively. Along with this has come in recent weeks an almost exponential improvement in accuracy. Unfortunately at the end of the season rather than at the start!
But if you think you bowl too slow – don’t give up, just scrap trying to be MacGill, Tambe, Shah or Afridi work on getting the ball to spin hard and try lowering your arm perhaps?
Game played at ‘The Rec’ Langdon Hills.
The last league game for me this season, with the potential for a couple of friendlies in September. Earlier in the week it looked as though this game my be called off as there were no players available, but the club contacted people that no longer play that much and they turned up thankfully, so there were very few in the way of regular players. We had hardly any batting and the bowling was massively weakened with the exclusion of my son Joe.
We lost the toss and Orsett who we knocked over a couple of weeks ago for about 40 runs decided they’d bowl first. Their team looked different to the previous game and they got off to a very good start getting one of our openers in the first over for 0, but then there was a sequence of key wickets at regular intervals. One of the ‘Stand-in’ blokes made a good fist of his innings scoring 42 before being dismissed. ‘Extras’ was the next best scorer who helped us to limp to 109 all out. I went for 0 having faced about 4 balls, I wont even go into how crap it was. So they only had to score 110 off of 55 overs as they’d finished us off within about 30 overs or so.
We had one seam-up bowler – Ryan Davies who opened and I bowled as the opener from the other end.
I’ve been doing a lot of work with accuracy recently and I’ll try and post some stuff tomorrow showing what I’ve been working on. But today it paid off. The two blokes that opened the batting for them scored all their runs and one of them scored a 50 +. Our captain Lee Dutton gave everyone a handful of overs each to see how they got on. I had four and went for 18. Unfortunately I bowled two full tosses which went for 6 and 4, but other than those two anomalies my bowling was pretty good. The ball was turning and I got the edge of the bat two or three times and each time it managed to get past the slips/wicket keeper. But the good news here is that the persistent practice I’ve been doing seemed to have paid off today. I was relaxed, I had a nice relaxed grip, I bowled primarily round arm and the ball was coming out of the hand with plenty of revs. My line and length was spot on with the exception of about 4 balls, the two that went to the boundary and a couple of off-side wides when I tried to bowl faster. I had to bowl into the wind which was tricky and it was a pretty stiff breeze, but one or two of the balls drifted in the 2nd over which was good to see and it looked as though the ball was doing that thing where it suddenly dropped. So all in all a good day at the office as such, my mate Neil who bowls left arm orthodox bowled well too, but like the rest of us came away with no wickets having found the edge a few times and had a few skiers that fell into spaces.
The gutting thing is – after such a poor start season, with injuries and a bout of the yips, it looks like it might be coming together now right at the end of the season. The conclusion that I need to draw from this that at the start of the year I need to be fitter and stronger as it’s obvious that as the season goes on I get fitter and stronger. Also the amount of practice that I do increases exponentially as the summer goes on and to replicate the same levels of practice over the winter is problematic.