It's blog time...
I know this is a day late, for that you must forgive me, or not.
Yesterday, when I would normally wrap up Day 5 and the test match in this blog, was not a day for me to be doing to much; except that I was flat out trying to sort out recovery from the Test, travel plans, visa applications, get a hair cut, attending and speak at the Wellington Cricket Age Grade Prize Giving and then eating, which I had almost neglected all day. Not the day that I needed after three days (273 overs) in the field. The day I would have prescribed, in a perfect world, would have been a sleep in till 9 or 10, up for some breakfast, off to the pool for a swim and a spa and then the rest of the day doing nothing but eating and drinking water. That didn't happen, I was busy all day!
So, Day 5. We needed early wickets, two wickets, as I said, would hopefully open up the tail. We had to get two early to have a chance of getting the next couple with a harder newer ball and then the tail to come. Tommy opened up and he had Sachin caught by Baz at a time that kept us in the game. We then went as hard as we could, doing everything we could think of to dislodge VVS and Gambhir. I took over from Jeets and hit the crease hard, got through my first two overs with out really troubling either of these two. So the plan had to change. Dan and I decided I would just go as hard as possible at them, bounce them, bowl full, slower balls, just go through every variation looking for either something out of the deck or a mistake from the batters. Round and over the wicket to both, a lot of bouncers with a field set for hook shots and fended shots. I came as hard as I could for as long as I could, three times I asked Dan for “one more over” and he gave it to me, and then called me off after and eight over spell. It was good honest competition on a track that offered no variable bounce and very little spin doing everything we could to force a mistake.
I didn't feel to bad out in the park. My body was tired, sure, but I was still feeling energetic, still feeling like I could be the one to make a difference, the one to take a three wicket spell and change the game. I didn't take a three wicket spell, let alone take a wicket in the second innings, but i gave it everything until the bails were lifted mid way trough the last session of the match. I was happy with what I gave to the day. I kept my pace up right through the innings and even bowled my quickest ball of the match in my last spell. I did though miss a catch off Dan's bowling. I was at mid on to Gambhir and Dan got him to hit one, pretty comfortably, to me about waist height just to my right. I saw it early, felt like I moved well to get in a good position, but I grassed it. I can't tell you why, it hit my left thumb, which was strange, never really went it and bumped out. I almost picked it up as it bounced out, but it was just out of my reach. This is about the worst feeling there is, dropping a catch of the skippers bowling! I spoke to Baz about it later and got his thoughts on what happened from his view. He watched it all the way to me and said that it actually 'swung' on the way to me really late. This would make sense as to why it hit my thumb as opposed to the middle of my hands. It's not an excuse, just something I have to watch for harder. More work I have to do to be better. I really wanted the ground to open, swallow me up and transport me to a different place. I even gave the earth a chance to by scratching a long line in the grass so that there was already an opening it could open up and take me away.
So the day finished, both teams shaking hands and we're a pretty tired, but happy team. That is a massive turn around from the Hamilton Test and had it been a boxing match, we would have won on points. It's not though, and the result is a draw, we trail the series 1-0 and are looking forward to playing back at the Basin; my favourite ground in NZ to bowl and play on. It's normally windy here and this is something I've learnt to do pretty well, bowl into the wind. It's a tough job and someone has to do it. I learnt early on, while playing for Wellington, that if I was to make it for Wellington I had to pick a tough job and do it well. Often there isn't a tougher job than bowling into the wind, so I picked that one as the one I would take on. If you find a job that no one else wants to do, learn to do it well, it's yours for as long as you can do it for, and that's been my secret on me making and staying in the Wellington team, and how I got my chance to play for the Black Caps.
This morning has been a little stressful, I've been trying to get a Visa application sent away so that I can get over to the UK and play for Leicestershire CCC. It's been a tough process and time is really against me. I have tried to call in as many favours as I can to get it worked through quickly, but as the application has to travel to Canberra, Aust. to get completed, the travel time is probably what's going to kill me. Fingers crossed that the good people at the UK High Commission like cricket and push it through ASAP... please! Courier Post NZ and Pace Couriers NZ have been very helpful in getting it away as quick as possible, thanks heaps Jimmy and the others involved there! Fingers crossed there, hopefully it gets back to me before I intend to fly out on the 9th.
A light couple of trainings this week for me and the other bowlers before we start on Friday in the last and most important Test match of the year. Of course they are all important, and in fact every Test match is the most important one of the year, but the next one is always the big one, and this one is huge.