Sheffield Shield: Rocchiccioli enjoys the graft of a bowling spin-off into the WACA

The Western Australian offspinner prepares for his second Sheffield Shield final after an outstanding second season in first-class cricket

Tristan Lavalette

Corey Rocchiccioli has had a great summer fake images

When the calendar turns to April, when Perth’s sweltering heat gives way to a cooler change signaling cricket’s off-season, Western Australia’s Corey Rocchiccioli is usually not ready for a breather.

Instead, he can often be found at the lush James Oval, located within the picturesque University of Western Australia, honing his craft alongside fellow state and club cricket teammate Ashton Agar, who is also the owner of Rocchiccioli.

“We met in the first two weeks of April and we have incredible net sessions,” Rocchiccioli told ESPNcricinfo. “We just bowled and talked about cricket. He taught me, among other things, how to bowl with a square seam, which I’ve been bowling this summer.”

The spinners have yet to realize a longstanding dream of partnering for the WA Shield side due in part to Agar’s unavailability due to his international white ball commitments.

While they are almost inseparable, as Rocchiccioli underscored when renting out globetrotting Agar’s home, they could well end up in contention to be WA’s top-flight Shield spinner in seasons to come.

Rocchiccioli, 25, has become a linchpin of WA’s strong attack after a Shield season of 24 wickets at 32.45 in nine matches. He had only taken five wickets in four first-class matches previously.

The only match he missed before the Shield final between WA and Victoria was against Queensland at the Gabba in December when he made way for Agar, who had match numbers of 1 for 105 in his only appearance of the season.

On WACA’s famed pace-friendly pitch, which has been particularly racy this season causing a lump in the throats of traditionalists, Rocchiccioli has an unappreciative role on his home surface.

Rocchiccioli bowls from the old Prindiville Stand end, which is looking rather barren these days amid some ground redevelopment, mainly trying to tie down batsmen while providing valuable rest for WA’s star-studded rapids competing to bowl bowling from the other end.

Using his 6-foot-3-inch (1.9 m) frame, Rocchiccioli generates a menacing rebound and can fool hitters through crafty drift. The comparisons of him to Nathan Lyon are justified.

He has taken 11 wickets at 28.45 in the WACA this season with a career best performance equaling 4 for 31 against Tasmania earlier in the month.

“I actually love getting on the WACA and bowling, although spinners aren’t known to take wickets here,” he said. “A lot of the talks (with trainer Adam Voges and spin coach Beau Casson) have been about trying to go in two and three (runs and more).

“In WACA, it’s not my job to take wickets. But when you take wickets, it’s really gratifying to play a role in a state dominated by pace.”

Rocchiccioli has stuck to his home model in an attempt to live up to expectations of being an attacking weapon on more spin-friendly surfaces on the country’s east coast.

“I’d love to play for Australia but you can’t play good cricket if you’re in fairyland thinking about the upcoming tour of India. I admire guys like (R) Ashwin and Lyon for their consistency and ability to evolve. But I’m trying not to be Lyon or Ashwin… just finding how those superstars fit into the Corey Rocchiccioli I want to become.”corey rocchicioli

He has had mixed success so far but did capture an eight wicket haul against New South Wales at the SCG earlier in the season.

“The most important thing I’m learning about bowling on the East Coast is not to expect too much of myself,” he said. “I try to continue to play that holding role and rack up a lot of overs. The wickets will come in the last few days.

“In the offseason, I’ll work on getting more excessive spin on the ball, as the winds are a little different on the East Coast.

“One of my values ​​is curiosity and keep learning and growing.”

Rocchiccioli’s ascent has been somewhat unexpected not having come through WA’s strong road program. He started out as a batsman and described himself as a “medium pace fat little” before turning again on a typically sweltering summer’s day in Perth when he was 13 years old.

“I asked my coach if I could shoot with spin. The first ball spun … that’s how I remember it anyway,” Rocchiccioli smiled. “That season I became a bowling batsman.”

Rocchiccioli still considered himself primarily a hitter as he rose through the ranks until the penny dropped at age 21 when he switched clubs to the Agar University grade team.

“I realized that the twists would take me where I wanted to go, which is to be a professional cricketer, so I put my eggs in a basket,” he said.

It was certainly the right decision with Rocchiccioli earning a WA State rookie contract for 2020-21 before making his first-class debut the following season against South Australia.

He had a tough start at the batsman-friendly Karen Rolton Oval in Adelaide, where he finished 1 for 145 in the Redbacks’ lone innings and was put to a knife by centurion Travis Head.

Corey Rocchiccioli broke 50 of 28 balls fake images

Rocchiccioli had to wait another six months to be recalled, but finished the season strong to be part of WA’s drought-breaking Shield triumph, where his batting instincts honed in to crush a memorable 28-ball half-century at No .10 against Victoria in the final. .

“Between my debut and the second match, I made technical adjustments to deflect the ball again, just as I did when I was playing grade cricket,” he said.

“At this level, you really need to swing the bat in the air. Since then, I’ve been able to rack up games and playing a lot has naturally helped me improve.”

This track record might tempt you to dream of higher honors given the propensity of the national hierarchy to select boltguns on tours of the subcontinent.

“I would love to play for Australia, but you can’t play good cricket if you’re in fairyland thinking about the upcoming tour of India,” he said. “I look up to guys like (R) Ashwin and Lyon for their consistency and ability to evolve.

“But I’m trying not to be Lyon or Ashwin…I’m just finding how those superstars fit into the Corey Rocchiccioli I want to become.”

Even though he’s about to be a part of back-to-back Shield titles to start his top-class career, in the midst of a golden era for WA, Rocchiccioli is conditioned to feel on edge and throw away every opportunity.

“I feel like as a spinner you’re always playing for your place in Perth because we don’t need to play in the WACA,” he said. “I have not forgotten my journey to get here, I was not a player on the road.

“Playing in another Shield final is amazing. I won’t take it for granted.”

Tristan Lavalette is a Perth-based journalist.


Leave a Reply