July 29, 2009

County Cricket 2009

First visit to the Umpires room

Iain O'Brien

Time for another catch up..

I didn’t quite get out the post I wanted to last week during the Essex match for which I do apologise for. I said I would and I didn’t get them done; I’m starting to wonder how I have managed to get my blogs done after a day’s play during the nine Tests that I have blogged through. Somehow I have got each day's play round up and thoughts down and got it posted before the next day’s play has started. I have to admit it’s getting harder to keep it fresh and keep it interesting, although I’m sure you’ll let me know if what I’m blogging isn’t up to scratch. I’ve got a couple of things I want to start doing during this two Test tour to Sri Lanka, and with Suneer’s (a guest blogger) thoughts on other things happening in world cricket, I’m pretty sure I be able to keep it fresh, interesting and most importantly a good entertaining insight into this world and my head.

We (Leicestershire) had a Pro40 match at Northants last Sunday, which I quickly previewed in my last blog. I had been looking forward to this match for a bit as the pitch there is one that I knew would suit me. The pitch has been, over the last couple of summers, a belter, a good deck with a bit of pace and bounce. Unfortunately, I only got to bowl one over on it and I was maybe lucky to have even managed to get that one in. Rain was forecast and the rain came. We lost the toss and we were put in and got off to a great start; Allenby (who has been in brilliant form throughout the summer) and Cobb (a current England U19 player) both scored 43 in two completely different manners. Allenby has been the ‘bully’ in the past, this time it was Cobb who took the sword. We sat in the changing room, on the edge of our seats watching a young confident player play some audacious shots, one in particular, a straight bat through wide mid on from a length that probably should have been worked to square leg for a single; seriously one of the best shots I have ever seen, that’s no hyperbole either!

We were on and off a couple of times and ended up losing a couple of wickets at tough times with the stop start nature of a rain affected innings. It’s always tough batting first when the innings is interrupted because a good score is a mystery and it was a good partnership by New and Dippenaar at the death that put a handy score on the board. More rain then came and it cut the chase to a 17 over, 122 run affair. We got into the 5th over before the rain finished us off for the day and both teams shared a rained off point each.

I then turned into an Uncle for the first time. My ‘big sister’ had a healthy eight and a bit pound boy. Happy days, he’s a beauty and got a great ‘appeal’ on him already!

Next up was Essex in a Championship match; I trained really well for this one and had one of the best bowls of my summer in the nets the day before the game. I felt great and a small change I have been making to my thumb on the ball was working and my release was as good as ever. Unfortunately this form in the nets didn’t quite transfer to the middle after we won the toss and bowled first. I bowled ok but as I so often write; ‘it’ wasn’t just quite there. Whatever ‘it’ is, I didn’t have it. We had lost the first day to rain, a complete wash out so after winning the toss the pressure was on to take wickets and get the game moving forward. I picked up one early, again with a yorker, and if you’ve been reading my weekly updates, you’ll know that they’ve been really successful for me in the last three weeks here. If you’ve seen any of the Sri Lankan-Pakistan series you would have seen that the yorker has been a good weapon. Obviously then I needed to make it more of a part of my ‘red’ ball bowling plans and so far it’s going great. And that wicket was the only one I picked up in the innings. I had a catch dropped but nothing else really happened for me. I missed the rhythm I had had in the last couple of weeks and in reflection I tried too hard to get it back. I need to just let it come sometimes, relax, breath and just run in and bowl. I’ve spoken about this before a couple of times before too and it is probably one of the hardest things for me to work on. Technical things, no problems, I can feel where my body is and can generally fix those things by myself, but the ability to just drop it all from my head and to run in and bowl is hard.

I didn’t bowl badly, I just set high standards for myself and as my own worst critic I am very hard to impress; which is part of the above problem. I know I can’t bowl the perfect ball every time and I have to accept that more than I do.

This match also saw my first ever visit to the Umpires room for anything but picking a new ball. I got in trouble for the first time on the park. I’m no angel, sure, but I’ve always managed to stay within the guidelines and rules set. Not this time though. And it happened when I was batting, is that irony!? I’ve been working hard on my batting and I’ve got the bruises to prove it, I’m always doing stuff I hate in the nets, trying to get better at the parts of batting no one likes. So when I was given out caught behind on a surface that I felt great on and was really looking forward to batting for as long as I could, I was a little miffed (well, maybe miffed is an understatement!). I didn’t hit it, I don’t know if I can actually say that, but I have. The strange thing is, I thought it had bowled me. Good length ball, just swung away a touch, I missed it and heard that horrible sound, the ball clipping the off stump. My head went down straight away and I then realised they were appealing; what for??? It had bowled me?? I looked up at the Umpire and he raised his finger. He doesn’t need to raise his finger for a ‘bowled.’ I looked at the stumps, the bail hadn’t come off. It was at this point I made the mistake of showing ‘dissent.’ I hung around, I didn’t walk off like I should, I then told the Umpire that the ball had clipped the stump. I’m also not allowed to do that either. I didn’t swear or show any real anger and I’m guessing that is what helped me to not be penalised greater.

Lesson learnt! I didn’t like the feeling of ‘getting in trouble’ and am disappointed that my clean record has been tarnished. It was, though, fair that I be reprimanded for my actions, I have no problems taking my medicine if I’ve done wrong. I did get in a bit of bother for this blog though going back a bit(http://iainobrien.co.nz/node/67); that was the blog that a couple in the media with nothing to write about picked up and ran and grossly blew out of proportion my comments about the crowd. Oh and then there was the dismissal of Ponting at Adelaide that the media again reported stuff that wasn’t there which I covered in this post: http://iainobrien.co.nz/node/60.

So hopefully that’s the end of that, my first real on-field digression, I’m not saying that it won’t happen again, but I’m pretty sure that I’ll react better next time anything like this happens.

Next time you’ll hear from me I’ll be in hot and humid Colombo with more regular updates. Hopefully it’ll stay interesting and I’ll keep my nose out of trouble!

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Fast bowler Iain O'Brien played 22 Tests for New Zealand in the second half of the 2000s

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Posted by Nu Zeelander on (August 10, 2009, 13:27 GMT)

Dissent + Iain O'Brien = ????

Good to see though, it shows that you're truly competing and wanting to play the best you can. And why not a bit of controversy now and then. I'm bored hearing about the Ashes, bring on Sri Lanka and New Zealand already.

Can't wait for you guys to put on a good show for us... good luck!

Posted by matthew on (August 9, 2009, 0:50 GMT)

Whats the story with your non-selection in the first warm-up? Injury or has Tuffey pipped you for a place? I wouldn't be relying to heavily on spin in SL, the recent pakistan series showed that seamers are the way to go, and i know if Tuffey is in there (and on seaming tracks he probably should be) then you should replace Patel.

Posted by Pedro on (August 2, 2009, 12:56 GMT)

I heard the radio commentator discuss your dismissal - he said it was one of the wort cases of dissent he has witnessed in County matches as you hung around at the crease for what seemed like an eternity. It seems out of character to me and so I'm guessing it is symptomatic of the pressure you are putting yourself under to perform. So if I can offer any advice it would be to relax and enjoy your cricket. To blot ones copy book is only human in my opinion, so doin't go beating yourself up about it. Good luck in Sri Lanka!

Posted by CricFan on (August 2, 2009, 10:36 GMT)

Iain, Good blog. You bowled well through out this County season. Bowl well in Test Series against Srilanka. ALL THE BEST. SO expecting ur next blog from Srilanka.

Posted by Saravanan.NB on (July 29, 2009, 12:59 GMT)

Hey Iain, I feel nothing wrong in showing dissent if it is not abusive. If you walk off with no reaction after being given out, I can assume you are not human anymore.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Iain O'Brien
Former New Zealand fast bowler Iain O'Brien played 22 Tests in the second half of the 2000s

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