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Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

Posted in ICC World Twenty20

So the World Twenty20 is almost upon us with Ricky Ponting the first of the 12 captains to face the media at lunchtime on Friday.

The remaining 11 will do their bit at Lord’s on Sunday in 15 minute slots with Daniel Vettori kicking it off and Paul Collingwood the last on stage. It might look like cricket’s version of Britain’s Got Talent. Thankfully Susan Boyle will be nowhere near the Home of Cricket.

Belying a hefty bout of jetlag – the Australians landed in Birmingham just 24 hours earlier – a cheery Ponting answered at length everything thrown at him by the gentlemen of the press.

While a number of journalists used the opportunity to quiz Ponting about the forthcoming Ashes series, the Australia captain was keen to focus on the job at hand, namely winning the newest competition in international cricket.

Australia

The Australia team celebrate another success - can they add the World Twenty20 trophy to their impressive haul?

Two years ago Australia lost to eventual winners India and Ponting is determined to add another qualification to his already bulging CV.

An hour or so earlier Ponting and the rest of his teammates enjoyed a casual stroll around the Nottinghamshire Sports Ground, which sits in the shadow of the nearby City Ground and in particular the Brian Clough Stand.

It is a short walk to Trent Bridge or roughly the same distance as an Andrew Symonds sweep-slog.

The Aussies went through a few fielding drills, taking a mixture of close catches drilled at speed and skied hits bunted high into the Nottingham sunshine.

Once they were completed the players set off for a stroll around the outfield, the hulking Shane Watson playfully shoulder-barging Ponting as they embarked on the opening lap, before stretching off.

Ponting, perhaps keen to get some miles into his legs after a period of inactivity, left his teammates and jogged a few circuits with the team physio.

The hard business of nets will start on Saturday.

Team training and a press conference – standard stuff when it comes to the start of any tournament. But that was not quite the case with the England women’s side who on Bank Holiday Monday shunned nets in favour of a day’s teambuilding at Wokefield Park in Berkshire.

Instead of captain Charlotte Edwards practising her reverse sweep, she was throwing herself off a 30ft high platform while attempting to grab a trapeze. Rather than Katherine Brunt honing her slower ball, she was standing proudly on top of 19 beer crates which had been perilously stacked up on top of each other.

While Lydia Greenway might have normally been working on her running between the wickets, she was clambering up ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ – half a dozen or so wooden posts hanging vertically six feet apart.

Yours truly, in a show of pure gallantry, opted out of every challenge. I like to think the real reason was because I was busy filming for ECBtv.

When the points for each challenge were added up, it was announced that Mark Lane’s side had emerged victorious.

Winning is something the coach is very much used to by now having won the Ashes and World Cup within 12 months of being in charge. He would dearly love to add the World Twenty20 to complete a wonderful hat-trick.

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