TWENTY20 cricket hangs in such a balance that a light jolt to either side can see a depression in momentum, if not a total halt.
Being able to identify moments in a game before they happen is a skill very few people have mastered. Pressure built on a batsmen, tight overs, even down to select deliveries - if you can win these moments you can turn a 50/50 game into a thrashing.
In the Thunder’s first two BBL clashes in 2013, a matter of balls has decided the result.
So if we can’t identify key moments until after they happen, a resilient reaction is needed to release pressure and get back into a dominant position.
With an ever ticking ‘cricket’ brain and game plans to stick with, Thunder coach Chandika Hathurusinghe decided that if the time should come where our players are placed under pressure, they need valuable match experience to exercise plans to get out with minimal damage or turn it back around on the opposition.
For some players that meant a change in training intensity/format, for others it was higher workloads.
For me, it was an early morning Boxing Day flight to New Zealand.
A brief trip back to Yeoval for Christmas was cut short by a phone call from the Sydney Thunder general manager informing me that the opportunity to play a game for the Northern District Knights against the Central District Stags in New Zealand had arose.
At first I didn’t hear him. I’d eaten so much of Mum’s Christmas ham it was pouring out my ears.
So I doggy-bagged the rest of the roast, cleared my head and got back to Sydney with enough time to change my socks and get on the plane.
When I arrived in Nelson, I saw a very familiar face. It was that of local Orange cricketer Dave Boundy.
It was phenomenal. A rare coincidence in a tiny corner of the world. So I unreservedly skipped up to him to say hello and inquire as to why he was here, why he was training with the ND Knights, why he was batting right handed, and then it dawned on me - it was Scott Styris. Uncanny!
We won my debut game with the ND Knights and the following day I was back on connecting flights to Sydney which left me scratching my head.
For preparation for the Big Bash, for valuable game time and experience under pressure, we were willing to go to great lengths to seek them out and develop.
I spent over seven hours waiting in three different airports on six separate occasions, collectively spent more than 14 hours travelling over 3,500kms in only four days.
All for 24 deliveries that in total took just six minutes to bowl in a game that went for two hours.
This is what the Sydney Thunder are willing to do to develop their players and the commitment they have to progress as a team.
Success for the Thunder will come.
A rebuilding phase doesn’t happen overnight, nor in a single season. It’s completed when you exceed your expectations as a team and succeed in every aspect of the game.