For the last month or so I have been playing some of the best cricket of my career, rarely missing a cover drive, never nicking the ball to the slips and consistently scoring great match-winning hundreds.
Unfortunately, this has all been in my head, and this week I had to take my perfect game to the slightly more challenging environment of the real world, where I managed eight runs in two innings, no perfect cover drives and my only contribution to winning the match occurred when I turned up ensuring my team didn't forfeit the game for being one short. Reality's a bugger.
So I as I write this, I'm brooding. Brooding on my lack of runs, the manner of my dismissals, and the missed opportunities.
I'm due to play in the second XI this week again, as my form doesn't justify anything more. In some ways, second XI cricket can be more difficult than the first-class game. The participants can be just as skilled but the wickets are usually slower and there isn't the sense of occasion that is associated with first-team cricket.
The future of this level of cricket seems to be consistently under review. The sensible solution is to have smaller staffs, amalgamate some second XIs (as Middlesex and Surrey have done), and give more opportunities to those players in the youth teams and academies.
Large staffs provide cover, but it seems to me that some counties are planning for Armageddon, where injury claims the majority of the playing staff. But with the provision of loan players, this should no longer be a concern.
The problem with having a large number of players is that there is not sufficient investment in each player in terms of match play and coaching input. The available resources are spread too thinly.
Of the resources available to Warwickshire second team, the most impressive is Allan Donald. I played with Allan during the first few years of my career, and was mightily relieved to be on the same team.
Last week I saw the passion that he employed with such telling effect with the ball channelled into his new role as second team coach.
He is an electrifying man, fire burning in his eyes, pacing the boundary rope with the frustration typical of a player used to shaping the game with his own hands. The players clearly responded to him, and he manages to command respect without insisting on submissive deference, an environment ideal for him to educate while giving the players a sense of their value. He cares about the well being of his charges and it shows.
He's a new coach with a barrowload of experience to pass on to the next generation. They are a lucky bunch, and Warwickshire CCC is enriched by his presence.