As the 2021/22 domestic cricket season gets into full swing, Tasmanian Tiger Charlie Wakim is hungry for runs. Whether it be facing the red or white ball, displays of fine batting skill remain the aim.
The top-order batter kicked off his campaign in solid fashion in his sides’ Sheffield Shield draw with Queensland in Adelaide last week. Capitalising on a batter-friendly pitch at Karen Rolton Oval, Wakim constructed a well-made half-century (62 from 133) in a 120 run first innings stand with opener Tim Ward.
Speaking to The Inner Sanctum’s “Over and Stumps” podcast, Wakim told of the delight of starting the year in the right fashion.
“It was a pretty hard, flat track and nice for the batters so I was able to be able to get myself in in the first innings,” he said.
“We were certainly looking to score runs when the ball was harder, that was probably our plan.
“I was seeing the ball well, I was just disappointed I couldn’t cash in and go on and get a big one.”
The innings was part of an overall reassuring performance by Tasmania against reigning champions Queensland. Though the match ended in a draw, a series of moral victories were picked up across the four days.
With a number of key players missing through injury and national T20 commitments, the selected side worked incredibly hard with both bat and ball.
Among the notable absentees were fast bowlers Riley Meredith, Nathan Ellis and Jackson Bird, as well as experienced international campaigners Matthew Wade and test captain Tim Paine.
Regardless, the young Tigers compiled 6d/500 in the first innings, before holding resolute and batting for a draw on day four.
“We’re down a few troops but we’re still able to put good performances out there,” Wakim SAID.
“Previous years we’ve probably let games early in the season slip and we’ve lost games, given teams a leg up straight away. We didn’t want to make that mistake again.
“The first two, two and a half to three days we were really positive and upbeat. Even after day four looking at it as a whole, we did what we set out to do in terms of our process in trying to bat long.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t take the wickets but it’s a great step in the right direction.
“We’ve got young guys. Tim Ward coming in in his second game and having the game he did was really promising. Silky (Jordan Silk) finding a new spot down the lower order, to get a hundred at a pretty good rate when scoring was a little bit slower than most of the game.
“It is a younger side, so there’s certainly a lot of positives to take out of it and lots of areas we want to improve. We are pushing towards something.”
More Cricket News:
With the foundation laid for the Sheffield Shield season, focus now turns to the Marsh Cup one-day competition, where Tasmania meets Western Australia in Perth on Friday October 15.
Though they are different formats, the showing against the Bulls has served as a confidence boost for the Tigers squad.
Couple this with the impressive red ball victory over Western Australia at the WACA to end last season, and Wakim believes the team is well poised ahead of their opening one-day game.
“We all sort of put a score on the board, we’re seeing the ball well and I think with batting in red ball and white ball, the only thing that changes is your tactics,” he said.
“The boys in the bowing outfit, it’s been pretty competitive in the nets with some of their white-ball sessions, trying to out-do everyone with their different slower balls and Yorkers and all of that sort of stuff.
“I think we’re in a good position. We had some success at the WACA last year in the Shield game and hopefully, we can put a good white-ball performance on the board first up.”
To this point, the 30-year-old enters the 2021/22 summer with just three one-day games for the State to his name. Having become a regular fixture in long-form cricket for Tasmania over the past five seasons, he is now aiming to take his career to another level and become a key player in all formats.
With this has come hard work. Breaking down technique in a way that is based on constant self-improvement.
The mantra is a lot more basic, though – Make as many runs for the side that has adopted the New South Welshman as one of their own, one ball at a time.
“I actually probably came into the system as more of a white ball player. I debuted in the one-day team and it took me a while to get into the Shield team. It’s sort of now, where I think my game plan is a lot simpler in red-ball cricket,” he surmised in conclusion.
“My game plan is pretty simple, it’s just trying to focus on the next ball. I try and occupy the crease, I try and make my wicket really tough to get out.
“There’s certainly little things I’ve been working on this year in my setup, my pre-movement. All of that sort of stuff to try and get me into a position where I feel like I can react to any ball that comes down.
“I want to play every game I can for Tassie. Any time you get an opportunity to play Shield cricket or One Day cricket is what I’m looking for and a chance to showcase my skills and ultimately win games for Tassie.
“It’s pretty simple what I want to do and achieve.”
Tasmania v Western Australia goes down on Friday October 15 from 3pm AEDT and can be viewed live on the Cricket Australia app and Kayo.
Subscribe to our newsletter!