David Townsend on Dennis Lillee's Bowling Academy
Pretoria - Having just returned from his second visit to Dennis Lillee's Bowling Academy in India, David Townsend, one of two South African players to attend the academy this year, was thrown straight into the MTN National Club Cricket Championships held in Pretoria and Centurion, by his Northerns Groenkloof club side, CBC Old Boys. Bowling with rhythm and pace the future looks very bright for this young fast bowler.
The local interest shown in David is born out by the fact that The United Cricket Board of South Africa sent David to the Bowling Academy for his second term to receive further training following the improvement shown in the 1998/99 season after his first visit.
Having completed the 1998/99 season with 41 wickets at an average of 19.12 and a best analysis of 6-36 he is sure to play a major role in any success that Northerns Titans might have in the coming domestic season.
David comes from a sedate cricketing background. Having learnt some of his skills at Willowridge High School, where his team played in a schools 'B' league, he joined the CBC Old Boys Club in 1992, aged 15 and still in standard seven, and was almost immediately drafted into the clubs first team. Playing club cricket with Rodney Ontong and Steve Elworthy helped his career on to where he is now considered as a future international fast bowling prospect.
In 1994 he played for the Northerns 'B' School side and followed this up with a full Northerns Schools cap the next year. From there his career took off making his first class debut in 1997/98 opening the bowling with Fanie de Villiers for a Northerns President XI against the West Indies 'A' team at Centurion. David ending the second innings with 5-68.
With a slight problem in his delivery stride and action the fast bowler was once again sent back to the Academy this year. "I was blocking my follow through and so lost a bit of pace and direction. My feet just were not in the right position," David said.
"The Academy helped me a lot. After fitness sessions in the morning we would go into the nets, bowling to Indian first class batsmen, on what I can only describe as very flat pitches, for about 30 to 45 minutes, being captured on video from all angles. Dennis and Danny Morrison spent time with each pupil watching, analysing, and making suggestions. They would then spend time with each bowler individually, using the videos, and going over the areas that they felt each pupil should work on. They helped me improve my angle into the delivery stride, which helped my set-up for the pace and away swing I was striving for," David related. "Dennis and Danny would also give us various scenarios, with different field settings, and we had to develop a mind process of where to bowl and what variations of pace and swing bowling to use to suit the conditions set. The intense training should assist me in attaining the goals that I have set for myself this season," he added.
David would love to be rewarded with a call-up to the South African 'A' team. The 'A' team have a series against the touring Sri Lankan 'A' team and a match against the England team. Hard work and success in the domestic season together with the help of the Northerns squad system, where Peter Kirsten and Chris van Noordwyk are the coaches and Steve Elworthy, Greg Smith and Rudy Bryson his bowling partners his dream could be realised.
One thing that is certain is that this pleasant young cricketer has the determination and support to one day reach his ultimate goal of wearing the green and gold South African cap.