Monday, 24 November 2008

NZ vs Aust - Gabba - Day Four

"Hello mate,

No nerves, no pressure, just belief. Take each ball on its individual merit and knock them off. You have 2 days to do this in, it can be done.

Watch the ball onto the bat, cover your stumps and FFS get your feet moving and get forward. Run hard but run sensible.

Play it or wear it - fear nothing!

Ultimately, beat the f**kers - they're not the team they once were, go out there and prove it.

I'm staying up all night mate, i'll be hitting every ball with you boys."


An email I received from a mate early in the morning before heading down to the ground. I thought it was one of those messages that would share with you all. It's pretty much the chat we had the night before in the changing room and the one I was having with myself all night and the following morning. It sums things up really well.

A pity then that we didn't get close. Didn't even look like getting close on Day four. Needing 184 with 4 in hand was virtually a miracle task. And you don't to often get two of those in two days. With our Rugby League boys becoming World Champions, defeating the very, very heavily favored Australian team, the previous night, I guess it was just asking to much for two in 24 hours.

Loosing by 149 in a game that we took 20 Australian wickets for less that 480 runs feel really bad. I knew it was going to be a massive ask going into Day 4, but you always keep hope. It did really sink in though once I was out and had got back into the changing room. Like a truck it hit me, I felt angry again, I really wanted to throw my kit around (I'm not a gear thrower at all), I wanted to kick holes in walls (I'm really not like that at all), I wanted to punch holes in the shower doors (again, not me) and I really felt drained of energy and emotions. I spent some time, alone, wondering around the shower area, really trying to calm myself down, trying to not be so angry, getting myself back together to face the rest of my team, and then soon after, shake the hands of the Australians. a) I was angry to get out like that, I have been working really hard on my batting b) I really hate loosing c) This was a massive chance to win a test, create history and 'climb our personal Everest.' I guess, it'll have to happen in Adelaide.

We lost Dan in the 7th over of the day, and then Rossco in the next over from Johnson. That meant I was in. I had had a really good 'net' in the morning with our batting coach, he fed the bowling machine and helped me with (quite) a few things. All simple stuff that would help out in the middle. I asked for the bowling machine to be 'cranked' up, in order to try to get used to the pace that will be coming at me in the middle. Shit it was quick. To go with the not so good viewing in the indoor nets, it was quite hard work, and I was honestly worried for my health and well being. Not as worried as I was going to be out in the middle though. So, I'm in, Mitchell Johnson with the ball in hand. I lasted one quick ball from him in the first innings. First ball, quick, full, and I defend it. Next ball, bouncer, oh shit, I hate bouncers, I duck it, and get under it well. I stood straight back up and stared straight back at Johnson. I wasn't go to show him nothing. "Whatever pal, you can bowl quick, but I'm not taking a backward step." That was a thought of course, I wasn't going to start to get into verbals with them. Next ball, I just didn't pick it up till quite late, I start to get out of the way of it, it hits me, takes a little of the numerous pieces of protection I've got on, my chest guard, and takes quite a bit of chest. My left tit to be precise. That hurt, and not how I wanted to play it. But I turned around, stared at him again, I really wasn't going to show him anything. I was in this for the fight. Another one at the body, fuller this time, I should have got some bat on it down to fine leg, it hits my thigh pad and drops to the man in close. The full ball follows, I'm all over this one. Beats mid off and I'm running like the wind. I'm sure there's four there, and maybe four overthrows there too if we do it right!!?? I turn for the fourth, the throw is already in the air. Just can't risk it. That was the last ball of the over, I'm going to have to face Clark.

I leave the first one, maybe a little dangerous as he's claimed two wickets to leaves in this innings already. It sails past off stump. Next ball, fullish, and I'm through my shot, spoon it weakly out to point. How damn weak was that. I thought I got myself into a good position to hit it for at least one. It's not till I see the replays on the news later that I realise it was a slower ball. Maybe I need to get my eyes checked. I really didn't pick up on it, and I'm actually normally pretty good with picking up on them; sure hitting them is a slightly different story, but normally I pick up on the wrist or finger change at delivery. Not this time.

Tim hits a couple of 'homers' and the game is all over very soon after.

Shake hands with them, sit in the changing room contemplating this test loss. Lunch is served soon after, we all filter through to sit there and eat somberly. Soon after we head back to the hotel. It's only midday, what to do with the rest of the day? I organise with Howza, Rossco and our fitness trainer to get to the gym at 4.30. So some time on the bed watching Prison Break (series four) on the computer, a quick nap and then up to the gym for a strength session. It was a toughie too. I wanted to get it out of the way early so that I can have a couple of full days off to recover from the bowling loads in this match. Organise with Howza a curry for the evening, I send out a group txt and a group of nine went out for a quite curry and a couple of cheeky reds. Great curry, good company and our moods are coming around. I think the couple of wines we had before we left helped too!

And that's the end of this Test Match blog. Stay tuned for the next installment, live, from Adelaide.

Till then, that's all for now.... except I played golf today, at Sanctuary Cove. Look that one up, that's a special course. That was a little gloat, if you couldn't work it out.

46 comments:

Polo said...

Hope you guys are feeling better...a painful loss but we have faith the batsmen can turn it around in Adelaide and put a good score on the board. And your mate is right, the Aussies arent what they used to be and guys CAN beat them, everyone back in NZ has faith in the team.

Love reading these posts mate, keep up the good work. Good luck in Adelaide, i'll be watching every ball live (like a lot of kiwi's i'm sure).

Anonymous said...

Great blog man. So much more enjoyable than PR-itized player diaries on blackcaps.co.nz. Keep it up and good luck in Adelaide.

Descorpio said...

It's lovely as an avid cricket fan and player to get the insights of what goes on through the head of an international player! Lovely stuff. Unfortunately haven't got a chance to see you play yet (we dont get cricket on TV in Switzerland)

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to add my thanks for this great blog - by far the best writing on cricket I've read in ages. Fascinating to have the inside track and it told me far more about what the game's really like than all the journos reports put together. Keep up the fine work and good luck in Adelaide! Tom in the UK

Pstyle said...

unlucky mate.

Great read though, either way. Good luck for Adelaide.

Anonymous said...

Great bowling from all the NZ bowlers - we have a frequent visitor who is usually very negative and he was full of praise of the bowlers, Iain, so well done. I'm passing on to others about the blog and they're enjoying it too. Best of luck for Adelaide.

James Nixon said...

Hi Iain, would you mind contacting me please at james.nixon@cricketweb.net - would like to discuss your articles with you.
Cheers,
James

Brian Carpenter said...

Nice to see that 'Rat's Pace' has joined the blogging world! Keep up the good work (in the middle and on the computer)

Dave said...

Great blog Iain. Fantastic to hear what it is really like playing in a test match.

Had me gripped for 3 days, just a pity those two wickets fell late in the afternoon, otherwise we might well be celebrating still. Looking forward to more late nights (over here in the UK) watching you and the rest of the boys taking it to them.

They aren't what they used to be and I'm starting to believe we can definitely win the next one.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic blog, full of the stuff that we'd like to know, but never usually get to hear about. Looking forward to hearing how you take it to the Aussies in Adelaide...

dc_red said...

Great writing, thanks Iain. It's a real insight into how a test cricketer thinks, and the preparation and effort that goes into a game.

Good luck for Adelaide!!

Jrod said...

Iain, Genius.

I don't care if you have to fight the NZC administracrats off with a rabid beaver.

This blog must continue.

And if you ever want to do it over at cricketwithballs.net under an alias i can accommodate that as well.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff, Iain. Really hope you can keep this off; there is not enough real honesty in the game and it makes fans lose respect for the players. Less platitudes, more swearing! Cheers

Som said...

nice, genuine blog by a cricketer. Keep it up Iain.

Sandy Cameron said...

Keep up the astute work and good luck in Adelaide Town. From an Aussie fan.

Local Authority said...

Adelaide is a batsmans paradise dont get put off by watching the bowlers come steaming in from side on when waiting in the shed. It would make my bowling look dangerous. Its a good deck, always is. Be patient and wait for the loose ball

Ben said...

Great work in Brisbane OB. Four good wickets. (Symonds was a cracker!) By all accounts you'll have your work cut out for you at the batting paradise at Adelaide.

Love the blog. You must be aware that we are all talking about it. Looking forward to hearing about your experiences in the next test.

Bored Member said...

Iain, Thanks for this: "Forty runs later, Ponting scoops an ice cream. O’Brien an Irishman foresees his dismissal."

It's now certain you can write a better book than the whole lotta them put together. Play with the pen, pal.

The Old Batsman said...

Iain,

just as everyone's said, brilliant to hear a genuine voice from the middle. Have really enjoyed watching NZ over the past year against England and now Oz. Hit them hard in Adelaide, buddy...

As jrod says, this blog must continue.

MrKistic said...

Great work Iain, keep it up. So good to hear someone actually saying something about the games at hand. As an Aussie fan, all we get from the players is the same bullshit and spin about the 'spirit of the game'. Good luck in Adelaide - you'll need it!

Mel said...

Totally fantastic - please don't stop!

Just wish the England guys would produce anything even a tenth as interesting at this (please NEVER write the phrase 'putting the ball in the right areas').

If you don't get a book deal as a result of this I'll eat my hat!

Len said...

I hope your 'left tit' recovers quickly.

Len

Leg Break said...

Put another stud in the body and you'll be OK Iain.

After a while people may even be able to spell your name properly.

krishna said...

Great Blog!!

And very good writing!

Keep up the good work on the blog and on the pitch!

Soulberry said...

Loosing by 149 in a game that we took 20 Australian wickets for less that 480 runs feel really bad.

It felt bad for spectators across the globe too.

I hope your team gets it up there with the bat.

Good luck, and interesting blog.

Jonathan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan said...

Really impressed with you mate, i must admit i was not your biggest fan at first but now i see your defiantly a very important role in the bowling attack due to your consistency good job man :)

wildkiwi23 said...

Awesome to see an international player blogging about their test experiences :). I know you guys tried the best you could against the Aussies I think its a good achievement that we bowled them out for under 300 in an innings, our bowling I believe is of a good standard its our batting and building big partnerships that we need to work on, which wil in turn create bigger innings and trouble more teams.

Cmon lets see you get a hat-trick :)

From Rob.

P.S: please have a look at my cricket site at www.whoplayscricket.com and if you want to do a link exchange with me let me know. Or perhaps emblazon it on your playing shirt haha :).

tgoodmannz said...

Great blog Iain. Congratulations on your excellent career so far (still some chapters to write too!). You've come a long way since we played together at the Palmy Cricket Wicket in the mid-nineties!

Knock 'em dead this Friday...

Sachintha said...

Great stuff man! Congrats from Sri Lanka!
And yes this MUST continue... it's great to have an insight into an international circketer's life, especially written by a real player other than a ghost writer.
Good stuff,
Keep up the good work!
Cheers!

Iain O'Brien said...

Thanks for all your comments. Todays been a tough day so far with the press comments about my blog... We'll see what happens, aye!

Again, thanks for the support on my blog!

OB

muslim said...

new zealand bowling is goooooooooood, It is the batting

Goutham Chakravarthi L S said...

The Press have little else to do than look for stories that can sell their papers and magazines. You're one of a kind - one who writes what he thinks and one writes his own posts and not have it ghost written. You are a winner all the way. Please continue to post your candid thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Screw the press!!! You told it how it is and you should be applauded for that. The cricketing public needs a blog like this, it is a great read and a fantastic insight into what actually goes on in a test match and inside a test players head. This is far better than all the PC bullshit we normally have to hear from players. The public wants some emotion or else it looks like no one cares. Keep the posts coming mate!!!!

phaniindra said...

Hi Iain....well played,the Gabba test.Though you guys didn't win it,you have almost ensured that Haydo's retirement,Punter's loosing grip (in his batting,on the team) and the rationale or the lack of it in picking Roy in the Aussie team.All the best for the 2nd test and plz remember,get 1st wicket quickly,then the Aussie captain is at his most vulnerable,batting.

phaniindra said...

Hi again...just a sudden thought,why dont you guys contact John Wright? He was the India coach when they beat the Aussies (when the Aussies still had their star players in the team)

aniket said...

Hey Iain,

It's truly a great feeling to read about what the guy on the TV behind the helmet thought while he was playing. And it's again a great feeling to be telling the guy to keep on giving his best. Although I must admit that I'm not used to reading this kind of language on blogs, yet it's not abrasive as anyone can see that the slangs mean no malice.

The blog must continue in the same vein. It's one breathe of fresh air among all the droning Victorian era lectures by 'experts'. Good luck to you for the future matches. Hope to see you playing here sometime soon.

Aniket
Hyderabad, India.

aniket said...

Screw the press I say! Putting you under stress for writing such a great blog. Of course they had to create a furor, the suckers! Doesn't this kinda undermines their authority!

All the best to you mate. Don't let this affect you in any way. Keep giving your best like you do.

richard said...

Keep up the good work Iain, loving it mate. If the PR team tries to cramp your style, just say 'Hey look everyone, there's a funky eyewear sale in the optometrist across the road! Race you there!'. That room'll clear faster than you can say 'web 2.0'.

I've written about your blog on my site - would love to hear about that nets session yesterday ;)

Ceci said...

How enjoyable to read a thoughtful analytical blog by a player instead of the usual anodyne pap ghost-written by a hack. Fab stuff

Dave Gee said...

Great blog Iain, only wish I'd discovered it earlier!... At least the media blitz has given the site some free publicity :-)

Hope the PR gang don't force you to stop blogging, or make you turn it into a PR-controlled santised version.

Paul Tudor said...

I have just read the disturbing news in this morning's Herald that NZC are going to "vet" future blog posts.

The reality is that Cricket Australia have nothing to complain about as far as your comments on the Gabba crowd. If you heard more than one person use that offensive term, then you heard it. Cricket Australia has a very ambiguous attitude towards sledging in general and some of the remarks that their own contracted players have made on camera, in the middle, could rightly be construed as against the spirit of cricket.

I would be interested to hear from other readers of this blog. What do they think of Cricket Australia's high handed attitude towards visiting players such as Iain? Is Cricket Australia becoming an anachronistic non-entity (with what is now taking place with the Indian leagues) and should be kow-tow to every little demand that they make.

Combined with the media boycott over ridiculous restrictions, their reluctance to do anything about Andrew Symonds repeated indiscretions, Cricket Australia are not doing themselves any favours at the moment!

Keep blogging Iain. To Lindsay Crocker and other NZC staff who read this - please support this initiative, your fans and players (and in my case, coaches) want more of this and we fully support Iain's right to report on what was said, what happened etc. As for Iain's opinions on aspects of the tour, that may be another matter between you and him vis-a-vis his playing contract and obviously you all need to be careful there.

Great blog!

Paul Tudor said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jordan said...

Ive heard fantastic stuff about your blog and some great reviews about it from various people. So i finally got a chance to visit it today and see it for myself, and well all the reviews Ive heard don't do it justice. Its better than what they say and i don't think they could have said anything better about it. Awesome job, love the way you recount for each ball you faced, I thoroughly look forward to the second test tomorrow and and more posting by yourself. Good luck to you and all the boys.

North Harbour Junior Cricket said...

Keep it up Ian, I have included your blog on our blogsite and will get all my North Harbour Y6 lads to keep in touch with what you are up to. Don't worry about the press, the important thing is that you have the support of all young Black Cap wannabes!

WDX said...

Awesome stuff Iain. Keep em coming :)