Last night was a good night at nets, a relatively poor turn out, which is odd, because you'd think that we'd struggle to get sides out on the basis of the numbers that turn up at nets, yet in the summer I struggle to get a match in any team as you might record from the blog last year. But I bowled quite well causing one or two of the better batsmen some problems and one or two acknowledging that the bowling was good. The previous nets before last night were similar, although they were getting the ball away it was in the air - short cover, gully, point and Square leg all potentially places where the ball could have been caught, so overall I reckon I'm doing okay. Last night changes in pace did for a lot of them and I'd been watching some of the senior players bowling - one a finger spinner who bowled obvious big turning off-breaks and the other bloke just seemed to be dead accurate always on the stumps forcing the player to play the ball. I noticed the 2nd bloke varied his pace and length loads, bowling in a way that suggested that if you miss I'll hit the stumps, he bowled off of one or two steps and whipped all the balls in surprisingly fast for such a short run-in, but then out of no-where he had an effort ball that was just so much faster and either, right at the base of the stumps or in one case half way up the stumps. But both of them deployed the same approach - several balls at one speed and then one out of no-where much faster.
I'm noticing more that I'm resorting to a couple of tactics, both of which rely on fairly accurate bowling. I'm now starting with an off-stump line (Over the stumps) which has to be accurate - threatening the off-stump looking to see how they play the ball. I'm hoping that they play with a straight bat looking to drive me, but then dependent on what they do... if they're able to get the ball away I then change the line bowling over the stumps still - bowling a leg stump line a lot fuller. I find that this fuller ball mixed in with the normal deliveries seems to cramp them up and causes problems with the potential for close in fielders to take catches. The other tactic is similar but I go round the wicket and bowl right into the feet and again this usually catches out those that are not so adept on the legside. The blokes I play against seem to have the ability to flick the ball off their pads when it's bowled with some pace, but slower bowling combined with some dip doesn't seem to suit this approach and the ball ends up ballooning up for an easy catching opportunity for Square Leg. I'm in no way saying that these are going to work against really good batsmen, but 3rd and 4th XI players I may have a chance I reckon? It's going to be interesting this summer as my bowling with the new action is going to be far more threatening I reckon.