Nothing will come of nothing

In that second you feel like the king of infinite space, only that you are Lear, desperate for validation, desperate to feel the love you have returned. As the object of your affections poses the most ambiguous of questions, you know that now is the time for action. You shape your response as the time hangs in the air, the tension palpable as every pair of eyes is upon you, willing you to take one of the many paths open to you. It is then that the internal battle commences. Is this the right time? Will you get the response you desire? How will you cope if you make the wrong decision?
Do you want, as they say, to die wondering?
This is how it feels as the ball is released from the bowler’s hand, as it hangs in the air, as you calculate where it will pitch, and what it will do, and what, if anything, you can, or should, do to it. Yesterday I came to the crease with four overs left and 13 runs needed. At my end, a bowler who looped the ball like a howitzer, as slow as is possible without it simply plummeting to the ground out of the hand, at the other, an ex first-class cricketer intent on winning the game. I block my first ball, on middle stump. The next is wide and a little low and I almost unleash the kitchen sink at it but decide against such precipitous action.
The next over sees my partner caught and a couple of runs scored. Eleven needed off three overs. My turn to face the demonically slow bowler. I drive the first ball hard but straight to mid-off. The next three are wide down the leg side … too wide to hit. Far too wide. They are ungiven. Realising I ought to have cut the wide ball I shaped to pull the next, as runs were now needed. I’m too early. A top edge and the ball flies upward, and I pretty much run to the pavilion.
So. 3 runs in the past five starts. Two long periods at the crease with nothing much to show for it, three ducks, two of them first-ballers. It was eleven innings before my season’s first duck, and in the fifteen which have followed I have registered a further 6 minimums. That’s a duck every five innings.
Naturally, I am beginning to get a little worried. We all have these runs of bad form, but the problem is that they are self-perpetuating. As Lear so astutely observed, nothing will come of nothing.

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