September 2, 2010
When people say that sport builds character, this is what they really mean. In a sideways manner, games explain to us how to handle life.
A cricket player has to play his best every game, in life you have to get up each morning and do it all over again, you never get to coast. More importantly, cricket teaches us how to handle failure and the randomness that's inherent in life.
It's important not to let failure discourage you and make you think negative. Just like in cricket you shouldn't become negative after someone hits a six off you, the next ball might be a wicket, but only if you continue to bowl at your best.
Another point is that cricket seems to be a random walk. Batsmen have hot and cold streaks. Statisticians have looked at similar distributions (baseball batting averages) and discoverd that they look pretty much like random data. Randomness is a huge part of life and cricket will teach you to laugh it off. After all, if you keep tossing the die you'll win eventually. In life, you really only need that one win. It's rare for someone to become successful and then go down in flames (this is excepting high-risk occupations where each day is basically a huge risk).
Recently, I read cricket with balls' take on the pakistan match fixing thing. This is another good point. It's not always your fault when you fail at something. You might be the only one with real skill, or the only honest one, and your team could be dragging you down (in my case I'm the one doing the dragging - so I'm safe ;). The administracrats could be holding you back. This all teaches you to not be unduly harsh with yourself.
Cricket teaches humility, mental fortitude and the fact that life is not fair, and in fact, can be incredibly random.
In other words, we lost a game after a three game winning streak and it set me thinking. I hope someone finds this interesting.
August 18, 2010
The games are tightly contested, mentally tough, emotionally exhausting and an absolute comedy of errors. In short, it's like watching Pakistan vs. Bangladesh. I even try to eat the odd action cricket ball. Guess that makes me like Shahid Afridi.
In reality I'm a meat shield, giblet shield, bone shield, molar shield. Whatever my team needs, I'm there.
At least we are undefeated in the league of blind kids and underage girls.
Personal best of 3/11 & 22 for +11. It just keeps getting better and better the weaker our opponents are. I even caught the easiest catch ever caught in the history of cricket, ever.
We still managed to nearly lose it, but there were two glorious sixes in the final over that saved us from an inglorious defeat.
You could see the defeat in the eyes of our opponents. It looked like terrified, pre-pubescent angst.
August 2, 2010
Stats for last season have been posted:
- 13 runs average with the bat - not too bad, but it needs to get about 7 runs better.
- 8 runs per over economy - almost there, but needs to get lowered by about 2 runs.
- 1.5 wickets per game
Hopefully I'll reach my targets this season, but it doesn't look good.
July 30, 2010
Three games, two weeks. Two smashed fingers (and two blows to my genetic future closely avoided), two blows to my shin and now a blow to the face and a chipped tooth.
You'd think with all that we'd at least win one of the three games.
Since these were grading games, we're moving down one league (from E3 to E4). On the plus side, we might be able to win more games now. On the down side, we're now playing against ten year old girls from the school for the blind.
To encourage them, I will tell them that the gift of sight doesn't help me avoid glorified tennis balls to the face.
I will ask the dentist how a tennis ball wrapped in leather is able to chip a tooth on the inside of my mouth and keep you posted. He'll probably say that I don't drink enough milk.
"Hey, even the Mona Lisa's falling apart." -- Tyler Durden, Fight Club.
Game 1: -3 runs and 5/-3 (total score of 0).
Game 2: 4 runs and 4/9 (total score of -5).
Game 3: 14 runs and 4/9 (total score of +5).
July 21, 2010
Karma has us marked down as a team that is destined to win a game, lose 9, then win again.
After finally winning a game in what seems like ages, we attended a four-a-side action cricket tournament. We were split into two teams with our Captain leading the one side and me leading the other.
He lost all four of his qualifying games.
I managed to lose five.
Luckily this meant we won the final match in our regular league.
And so, we were able to play out for third place in our regular league.
Of course, karma had already decided that we were to lose that one.
So our final standing is fourth. Not too shabby, unless you consider that the league only contains six teams.
Also, our opponents had screechy supporters. We are already planning octogenarians in bikinis for our next encounter.
June 25, 2010
I sucked so bad two weeks ago that everyone on the opposing team came.
Then last week we had to cancel due to the soccer.
But this week: 10 runs for 2 wickets in 2 overs and 14 runs with the bat. There's still no pace in my arm, but at least there's accuracy and it doesn't hurt at all any more. I didn't get the chance to practise batting much, because I was mostly dodging wides and no-balls. The couple of shots I got off looked goodish though, in line with my new technique.
Altogether +4 runs. That's a 24 run improvement. Yes, Captain. I shall not be needing the pink wrist bands and white sweatband of shame any longer.
We still lost though. At least we took two skins. The first skin I bowled over one and four. Only one extra in the fourth! We drew that one thanks (in part) to my efforts. So the second skin would decide the winner for skin one and two.
They had won the second skin, but there were two balls left to go. Then one of my team mates took the exact same catch twice in a row. Whoop. I think he might be our best fielder now ;)
Then they utterly destroyed us.
But the first part was good!
May 25, 2010
So today was a good day.
My shoulder-strengthening exercises done for the day, I decided to get in some late afternoon net practise. Since my net buddy skipped out on me, I was flying solo. Whatever, thought I, I'll just work on my line and length.
When I got to my spot (a community sport park with two uneven, grassy "pitches" that playslike shit), there were a couple guys practising and using up both nets.
Damn, guess I'll have to come back tomorrow.
Then a wave of grade-school nostalgia hit me, so I parked, took out my kit and walked up to the guys.
I'm apprehensive. A couple of weeks ago some high-school guys were playing cricket in the net next to us. They asked if they could join in and a few minutes later they were demolishing our bowling and taking wickets. 17 Years of gaming, programming and drinking has left us with a large gap to close.
Remind me to tell you about the time we got wasted by a team of 13 year olds.
At least I brought a box.
"Mind if I join in?"
"Sure, why not."
I'm sure they're better bowlers than the guys I usually practise with on Saturdays. They've got consistent line & length, good bounce and some spin too. For some reason batting was easier against them, though.
I think it's because I stepped back in my crease and played my shots a lot later than usual. I'm definitely going to test that out later in the week.
That's a theme of life: mix things up, experiment - it usually leads to some discovery.
I'm sure my action is completely transparent, though. In fact, it's more like I've got three actions. One for leg-spinners, one for off-spinners and one for top-spinners. I would work on that if I could find any information on wrist-spin actions that doesn't make my head explode.
Whatever. At least I get more turn than Paul Harris. I'm much better looking, too.
Pick me instead Cricket South Africa! Damn your black hearts.
Welcome to "We Can't Play Cricket" - a blog about how much we suck at the best game in the world. Here you'll find stories of our embarrassing defeats, retellings of epic trash talks and a good deal of trash.
This will be the first season I'm a starting player for my action cricket team, having been a stand in for the past two, so in the interest of context and all that, I present some statistics:
- Testicular blocks*: 1
- Distractions by the game in the neighboring net: 2
- Finger-weeks** lost: 6
- Barrel rolls: 2
- Games won (that I played in): 3
- Games won (total): probably much more
- Games lost: 20?
- Batting average: 12,25 (4 overs each game).
- Bowling average: 7,63.
- Average runs conceded per game: 15.25 (2 overs each game).
- Economy: 7,63 runs per over.
My team calls me a "big hitter" (well one member does), but in reality I just don't know any real cricket shots. I used to be a slow-medium (I flatter myself) bowler that went at around eight runs an over. Poor shoulder muscle strength lead to slow pace and an injury that has rendered my right arm... "clacky".
So now I'm a slow leg-break bowler that goes at around twelve runs an over.
My grandmother always said those hours of programming would render me a worthless wretch.
But I don't give up, I'm a sort of cricket masochist, here to entertain the sadists and hopefully provide some pieces of advice to other pasty 20-something aspiring cricketers. Hopefully it will be an entertaining narrative as I try to improve those figures above. I'm targeting a batting average of 20, and an economy of 6 runs per over, for what it's worth.
* A testicular block is when you
keep the ball from hitting your stumps using your crotch. Not recommended if you want to spawn.
** A finger-week is the weeks your fingers work, sort of like man-hours or man-weeks. This is important when you're a programmer by vocation.