Haine Stops Play - Cricket can be a lonely game
07 Jul 2010 - 10:27:38
If you are reading this blog I think it is fair to assume that you like cricket. You may well even play cricket from time to time. And if you do play cricket it is almost guaranteed that you are better at it than me.
I haven't really progressed at the sport since the age of about 13 and, although I am not at liberty to divulge my age, I can assure you that a sufficient enough time has passed for my abilities to show some sign of improvement. Sadly they have not.
I'd like to attribute my failings to a lack of practice - the training sessions at my club fall on an evening when I'm unavailable, hence my only practice is usually out in the middle on a match day.
But, prior to the start of this season, I had a gap in my hectic schedule which I decided to use up by heading down to the local nets. The unfortunate thing about this was that I had nobody to accompany me and - as you may be aware - cricket is best played when more than one person is involved.
But "not to worry" I thought to myself; I would just bowl at the unguarded stumps in order to find a bit of rhythm, oil the creaks in my weary action and get used to my new bowling spikes.
I made my way to the club and found it to be completely deserted, which I saw as an advantage as it meant I would not have to field questions about why I was bowling to an invisible batsman. As I approached the nets I instantly noticed that they had undergone a makeover; with a brand new surface recently laid down. This is where I hit my first snag.
In years gone by, it had been permitted that spikes could be worn on the tired and torn bowling deck; but a newly erected sign clearly pointed out that this was no longer the case. Now, I could have quite easily got away with putting my new spikes through their paces - seeing as I was the only person there - but I have always been one to respect rules and regulations. I never received a single detention while at school.
"Not to worry" I thought to myself; I would just wear my trainers and, despite their inferior grip, I was sure they would do the job just fine.
And then it hit me - there were no stumps. "Not to worry" I thought to myself; I was sure there would be some in the groundsman's shed. It was locked. Bugger.
This meant I had to whittle some makeshift stumps in order to provide something to aim at. When I say "whittle", I mean I used my rucksack as a substitute wicket. At the bowler's end I used a bottle of water to mark out the popping crease (a sensible choice seeing as my bottle would have only exploded should I have left it in my rucksack/wicket). Admittedly, this was not the ideal scenario for some serious bowling practice, but it would have to make do. I also put one of my spiked bowling boots down on a good length as a visual marker; that is about as rebellious as I get.
After about half an hour of giving the invisible batsman a relatively easy ride, I was interrupted by a dog which had managed to squeeze itself through a garden gate that runs adjacent to the nets. It was soon joined by another dog. I was appreciative of the company, although I couldn't help but feel they were being critical of my slingy action.
When you begin detect a dog is mocking you, it is about time you went home.
When match day finally came around I bowled preposterously badly. My three overs went for 38 runs and included four no-ball beamers. Back to the drawing board, then. Perhaps I should have listened to those dogs. "Not to worry" I thought to myself.
And another thing...
Former Aussie Prime Minister John Howard has failed in his bid to secure the vice-presidency of the ICC after I said he would make a "lousy" president in a previous blog. You don't think...