Getting down to business
Posted in Disability Cricket
Last Saturday the England Blind squad met up ahead of the series with Australia. The tour consists of three one-day internationals and then four Twenty20 games which is good preparation for the Twenty20 World Cup at the end of the year.
We are based in Worcester for 10 days, playing seven games in total.
After the standard hellos and catching up there was no time to waste. We wanted to get training as soon as possible to get into top gear by the time the first game starts on Wednesday.
We gathered our training gear and headed off to Worcester Norton CC for about three hours of training. This time was used to get back in the groove of playing - we only train together about once a month so we always make the most of whatever time we have.
After training we headed back to the hotel for the two things we love most about touring.
First - ice baths, which are a crucial part of our recovery to keep us fresh. Hassan Khan takes to these extremely well, even getting in as far as his ankles. If I did not have one my muscles would be as tight as a pair of (National Disability Cricket Manager) Ian Martin's chinos.
Secondly - our team meetings led, of course, by our team manager Martin Dean. He only says things once so we listen intently to make sure we get all the important information.
We had a talk about what was expected of us and the various logistics of the tour before we had our team meal.
Everyone's mood is very positive, excited and raring to go. The atmosphere amongst both players and management is very good.
The Australians arrived at the hotel on Sunday but this was not going to distract us we had a full day of training available and we planned on making the most of it.
After an early breakfast we headed off to Malvern College where we have trained quite recently over the last couple of years and the facilities are top drawer.
A hot sunny day meant we could have a long middle practice using game situations and scenarios. The day was long and hard but everyone gave 100 per cent and we all came away feeling better about our games both individually and as a team. Short sessions with regular drinks breaks helped with concentration and effort.
We returned to the hotel around 5pm where we stumbled across a few of the Aussies. We have played against most of them on several occasions so we were able to exchange pleasantries.
On Monday we woke early as we had a morning training session. This time it was a short sharp session mainly to fine-tune our skills.
An afternoon at leisure was very appealing but before we could relax we had our photos taken in our new Adidas kit for the ECB website. I felt sorry for the photographer as there was that much banter flying around about Dan Field pouting that I will be surprised if there are any usable photos in the bunch.
Joe Harrison took the award for the best game face pose, best serious pose and best smiling pose, mainly because he looks like he's had too much botox.
In the evening was a welcome dinner with the Australians. We got to meet their entire squad and of course the banter was flying between the two sides.
Afterwards people slowly drifted off but not before some interesting conversations amongst England players about the day-to-day lives of blind people.
I was quite upset to hear that my best friend and room mate of seven years Nathan Foy has pulled out of the tour due to family reasons. However, my new room mate Rob Comber appears to share my passion for the Die Hard films so we shall spend a few evenings enjoying the adventures of John McClane.