This weekend saw two 40 over preseason matches and a run out for most of the 1st and 2nd XI regulars.
The results were not important. The key for me was to see players putting off season work into some real cricket. Now is the time for focusing on getting processes in place and feeling like we are cricketers rather than blokes stuck in a shed.
The way I encourage players to deal with games is to ask, however well or poorly you did, three questions;
- What do I need to stop doing?
- What do I need to start doing?
- What do I need to continue doing?
This takes the emotion out of it, which tend to make us focus on the bad stuff as the WORST EVER and the good stuff as the BEST EVER. Neither is true very often.
Instead, answer those questions and decide what it is you need to work on at practice. So, one player who scored a few runs (continue) but went slower than he is capable (stop), might look at ways to score from more balls (start). The bowler who bowled with good pace (continue) but pitched the ball on indoor length and got pulled too often (stop) might work on bowling outside and bowling fuller with more consistency (start).
More generally, the matches were played against good opposition in a 40 over format with batsmen retiring on about 50. Everyone on the West side got a chance to bat and bowl in at least one game. The pitch was slow but true and there was really only one batsman who scored freely, everyone else struggled to score faster than about a strike rate of 50. The positive point was a clear improvement on running between the wickets even when barely any boundaries were being scored. Last year our team strike rate could barely make it to 50.
The bowling in the first game was a little looser than hoped. With our main strike bowler away with rep cricket, the two other first team seamers got to bowl a few overs and both went well. The second string seamers were less successful, with one bowling too short and the other getting attacked successfully from an overseas player.
In the second game, both first team spinners bowled well with turn and bounce, but will look to improve their accuracy further. We used eight bowlers in total with several second string bowlers having a few overs too. It's clear the bowling is well stocked for the year.
The first league game is on Saturday.