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Between Shifts


Neil Pickup | 12:02pm gmt 24 Feb 2008
It's Sunday morning, 11.34. I've got 26 minutes spare in which to compose this week's musings, for that's about the sum total of my free time between now and this time next week. It is my duty weekend, and Saturday and Sunday are full of patrols around the school site. And it's parents' evening tonight, too.

There hasn't been too much happening in my cricketing world this week. I've survived an examination of short stuff in the indoor nets without being hit once - or backing away (I did get cleaned up, but that was a function of lacking talent rather than technique...) Focusing particularly on my top hand grip to make sure I don't close the face at the moment.

The school boys are looking a little bit more coherent right now into the bargain: the batsmen are getting their front feet towards the pitch, the bowlers are hitting some decent lengths, and I've bought a few weeks' quiet about my wicketkeeping by catching something stood up. We also had a sneak preview of the effectiveness of leg spinner's double-bounce yorker - if only AB de Villiers had been there to take note...

Our current point of focus is on running between the wickets, and looking out for 'manufactured' singles by dropping and running. On the back of a one-day series where Alastair Cook and Phil Mustard seemed to be running a book on who could run the other out - not to mention the Ian Bell/Owais Shah yes-no-wait-sorry machine in the middle order, I have decided not to record anything from Sky Sports to show to the children as an example.

It can't be that hard, can it, if you've been playing the game fifteen years - to judge what is a single, and what isn't. Then there's the other side of the coin, minted with England's inability to hit the stumps, ever. Maybe we could practice them both together?

Anyhow, the clock's ticking down, and next week's looking much more interesting from a cricketing perspective. I'll be making my way to the County Ground, Bristol, on Thursday for a "Fielding and Bowling Masterclass" with Gloucestershire's Jon Lewis and Chris Taylor, and on Wednesday I get my first look at Cherwell District Under 13.

Right now, however, I need to go and wander the grounds.

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Neil Pickup
Neil Pickup is a schoolteacher from Oxford, England, and has been writing for Cricket Web for six years. His highest cricketing achievement is keeping wicket for Thorverton 1st XI in the Devon Cricket League for nine overs, before being forced to hospital with a broken finger.
Recent Comments
Neil Pickup
I take the insinuation that my opening sentence may have been a little on the colloquial side...
Dale Brumby
\"Alright\", Mr P? Oh, that it has come to this...
Zac Ritchie (Perm)
Excellent Neil, really good. It dismays me to see other people with a lack of confidence in themselv
Jamee999
Knew most of that allready, but was still a good read :p