As I approach my 40th birthday and 200th game for my club I’m facing my mortality as a first eleven player. There’s no doubt that as you get a bit older you start to wonder if you could be bothered with all the extra stuff that comes from being a ones player, as silly as that might sound to those that don’t play at all or those that play Premier Cricket or above. There’s the extra time that you have to arrive at the ground before the game, the longer warm ups, the extra pressure as there’s always someone that wants to take your spot in the team or criticise your performance.
There’s also the expectation that you train all of the training nights that are scheduled. Is this the best way for me to spend my Saturdays? My Tuesday and Thursday nights? Would I be better off just relaxing and playing in the second side or even the third? Would my time be better spent at home with my wife and our young children or does cricket provide the challenge, distraction and enjoyment I need to be relaxed and happy?
The idea that I may have to play some second eleven cricket was flagged to me before the season began. At a meeting with the club leadership group they outlined who they thought would make up their best eleven if everyone was fit and available and my name was not listed. I reconciled myself with this notion and vowed to give the team and club everything I had regardless of where they picked me. I also noted that this was likely to be my last season.