On the latest episode of the Wisden Club Cricket Podcast in association with Natwest, the panel ruminated on the topic of how to cope with the prospect of a summer without club cricket.
Regular Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast host Yas Rana and Wisden Cricket Monthly editor-in-chief Phil Walker discussed in depth some of the more serious potential effects, with in-depth conversations about mental health with Marchmont CC first XI skipper Paddy Keogh and Opening Up Cricket’s Mark Boyns.
But they also touched on some of the light relief cricket can still bring everyday, as the sport still finds its way to imprint itself on our day-to-day existence, even while actually playing it is out of the question. The chat soon drifted onto the topic of shadow batting, the act of practicing shots without a ball being bowled, or often without even holding a bat.
Yas Rana: Are you a prolific shadow batter?
Phil Walker: Yeah I am. I rarely play a false shot when I’m shadow batting, but I also play the full range. I’m a very good avoider of bouncers when I’m shadow batting, and I’ve worn a few as well. The standard that I play at shadow batting is pretty high-end stuff. I was playing a few straight drives this morning, just getting the groove on. It’s only going to get worse, this, but then it’s only going to be all the more beautiful when finally – and it will happen folks – we do get back out there on the park.
YR: My favourite shadow batting shot is actually when you get beaten by one that rears off a length. Last minute your wrists go towards the ball, you look behind you, you go ‘pfff’, look at the bowler, that’s probably the most fun.
PW: It’s not about the ones that come out the middle is it, when you’re shadow batting? It’s about surviving.
YR: It’s got to be realistic as well.
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