Heating up in Brisbane
Posted in England Performance Programme
Being in Brisbane with the England Performance Programme, it's hard not to notice that the Ashes is beginning to brew up nicely.
In the last couple of days it's started to appear heavily in the media. There is a real buzz about it and everyone is really looking forward to it.
There seems to be mixed feelings in the Australian press. They seem to be worried about Australia's form and the squad selection. As for England, they haven't put a foot wrong since landing in Australia.
I met up with Belly [Ian Bell] and Trotty [Jonathan Trott] on Monday night and we went for dinner. They were in good spirits, although we didn't talk much about cricket. They seemed really relaxed.
I caught up with Finny [Steven Finn] the other day too. He popped over to our apartment and played FIFA with Kiesy [Craig Kieswetter] and me.
Nine months ago Finny and I were room-mates on a Lions tour in Dubai and now he's hours way from bowling in an Ashes Test. It's quite strange as we were in the same position not so long ago. I'm really pleased for him, though.
We have been in Australia just over a week now. I have enjoyed it but it's been hard work.
The flight over wasn't as bad as I expected. It actually went quicker than I thought it would.
I sat next to James Tredwell on the flight to Bangkok. I hadn't seen him for a while so it was nice to catch up with him. He slept most of the way, as did a lot of the lads. I think I got about five hours' kip.
When I wasn't trying to sleep I watched a couple of films, including one called 'Salt' with Angelina Jolie. I thought it was pretty good. Looking at Angelina Jolie isn't too bad either.
When we landed we were advised to be active to get the flight out of our legs, so Liam Plunkett, Jade Dernbach, Tredders and I had a swim and did some stretches.
Training started last Monday with some fielding then on Tuesday we bowled in the nets. It's draining when it's hot and humid but the weather has been a bit mixed. I did expect it to be hotter.
I have been working with our bowling coach Richard Johnson on getting my front arm to pull through harder. The idea is that it might unlock a bit more pace.
It feels a bit strange tweaking my action, even though it's only a small change. It seems to be going in the right direction. Hopefully I will be able to see the benefits when we play Queensland this week.
Last week we had the England bowlers with us. They just can't wait for it to get going now.
Being around those guys gives you an idea of how they train and prepare for games. For me, it shows me what I need to do to reach the next level.
When you have an opportunity to chat to the England players you need to take it. It's a great chance to pick their brains. With that in mind I chatted to Jimmy Anderson about wrist positions for inswing and outswing.
Much has been made of whether our bowlers will cope with the Kookaburra ball. There is no denying that it doesn't swing as much as a Dukes but it's still a good ball to bowl with and will do a bit off the pitch.