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I loved being with the Ashes squad

Hello to all from sunny Perth.

I am now at the end of my fifth week in Australia and it’s been a great experience so far.

As some of you may know, Nottinghamshire's Harry Gurney and I were asked to fly out to Australia to join up with the Ashes squad to help with their preparation prior to the first Test.

This was a great opportunity for us to showcase our skills directly in front of the England coaching staff and players. I had no hesitation in accepting the invitation.

I was really pleased to pick up four wickets during the EPP's three-day match against Queensland Second XII have done plenty of travelling in the past few weeks, starting when we moved onto Hobart after spending our first week back in Perth. I had never been to Australia before so it’s been a great chance for me to see the country, experience the conditions and get away from the cold of England.

I have been training and bowling in the nets, working with bowling coach David Saker which has been beneficial for myself and hopefully the team also.

From Hobart we moved onto Sydney for a week which has been by far my favourite city on the trip – I’d love to go back again in the future.

I bowled a lot in the nets at the SCG while England played their warm-up game and felt I made some of my best improvements during that week. I found a really good rhythm.

We then moved onto Brisbane for the final preparations for the first Test and you could immediately sense the excitement in and around the city with the Barmy Army in good voice.

The evening before the first day everyone thanked Harry and I for our time and efforts over the previous three weeks. It was really nice to hear that they felt we offered something to the group in one way or another. We then watched the opening day in the dugout with the team which was a great experience.

Everyone within the England team – both players and staff alike – were extremely accommodating to me and Harry, treating us as if we were part of the main squad.

We were extremely grateful for the opportunity. It was also good to socialise with the players away from the cricket and get to know some of the guys who I didn’t know too well. I knew some of the younger guys pretty well from previous EPP tours.

I have since moved into the England Performance Programme, who were also in Brisbane, and roomed with Sussex's Chris Jordan.

Ben Foakes and Reece Topley, my Essex team-mates, are also out here so it was been good to catch up with them.

Here's me bowling in the nets when the EPP was in Brisbane last week

We've had some tough training out here, which led up to a three-day fixture against a Queensland Second XI.

It was good to get back out to the middle after spending a month solely bowling in the different nets around Australia.

The first time being out in the field for a whole day is always a shock to the system and although we drew the game there were plenty of positives including an unbeaten hundred for Sam Robson, Tim Bresnan’s four-for in his comeback game and I was pleased to pick up four wickets in the match.

We have now moved to Perth which again builds up to another three-day match towards the end of the trip before we depart back home just in time for Christmas.

I hope all is well back home.

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