People always ask me what it’s like to be a bowler in Twenty20 cricket. My response is pretty much the same to everyone who asks. I love playing it, but it can go from good to bad in such a short period.
Recently Durham have gone from a tight loss against Lancashire Lightning at home, to a narrow win against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, then two tough games at Warwickshire and Worcester over the weekend.
There is such a fine line in this form of the game between brilliance, and something not so good. As a bowler, I tend to experience those extremes more often than not.
Against Nottingham I bowled the last over as we tried to defend nine runs. We won the game and celebrations were great afterwards. As a bowler in those circumstances you feel on top of the world.
Last week against Warwickshire I had to try and defend four runs from the last over, which didn’t happen.
Saturday’s TV game against Worcester was reduced to 13 overs a side due to rain. We were all surprised to get a game in as when we arrived at he ground on the morning it was under water but the groundsman did a great job for us.
Well, that’s how it seemed at the time.
It was another tight game that went down to the last over, and again I was asked by the captain to bowl it.
I had 15 to defend, and let’s just say I didn’t have my finest over in T20 cricket.
As I said earlier, the margin of error is so fine and, as I tried to bowl my yorkers – which I class as my best ball in those situations - they came out as low full tosses, which on this occasion happened to disappear out of the park.
The game was won with two balls to spare. From that massive high against Notts to what can be described as possibly my toughest moment to take, the feeling was absolutely gut-wrenching. It does feel like you let your team-mates down, but that’s why we practice these things and I was trusted with that job. That’s my role in T20 cricket and I’ll happily take on that task again in the future if asked.
What followed the Worcester game was something I experienced for the first time really in my playing career – a barrage of abuse on social media site Twitter.
With the game being live on TV, there were far more people watching than would normally turn up at the gate, so to check my Twitter feed an hour after game, when I was feeling bad enough anyway, didn’t really go down too well.
My bowling was described as “buffet bowling”, I “bottled it”, I was called names that can’t be printed and one guy suggested match-fixing. Let me assure everyone of my commitment to Durham, I love playing for my county and hope I continue to do so for the rest of my playing career.
Those were just a handful of tweets after the game. I have to also thank everyone who actually follows Durham for their support. After those not-so-nice tweets I was then inundated with messages from people supporting me and my bowling. And some of those tweets came from team-mates, which again was very comforting and shows the team spirit we have.
So there you go, from Notts to Worcester in two weeks! Wins to losses. Abuse to support.
But I still love what I do and who I do it for.