Lions ready to roar
Posted in England Lions
After five days off I’m looking forward to the cricket starting again. We have three matches left in the WICB Regional Four Day Competition and we want to win them all.
We fly to Guyana on Tuesday evening – we are targeting a win in that match which starts on Friday.
We are currently third in the table and want to push our way towards the top.
We made a perfect start to the tour by beating Leeward Islands but since then have drawn three in succession.
We are getting into winning positions which is encouraging but often opposition teams are happy to just play for a draw.
I'd have liked us to have won one more game but with the nature of the wickets - they are really flat - and the bonus points system, you have to force a victory which is quite difficult.
It can be quite frustrating at times when teams seem happy to just bat and bat.
It does mean it has been a good learning experience for our bowlers. Jade Dernbach and Danny Briggs have taken most of the wickets but all the bowlers have impressed me, especially considering some of them are still young.
I was pleased to make 149 in the Leeward Island game. As captain you want to set the standard so I was happy to make the first hundred of the tour.
It was my ninth hundred in all cricket since the start of last season. With those runs behind me it means I can walk out to bat feeling confident. I feel good early on and that helps me try and put away bad balls even if I haven't been at the crease very long.
I'm really pleased with my form but it's important I continue playing well for the rest of the tour.
Being captain, I have made a conscious effort to make sure I don't lose focus on my batting. There are so many things to think about when you are captain but I must remember that scoring runs is what I am in the side for.
I've loved being captain. Apart from a pre-season game for Somerset, it's my first experience of regularly leading a side since being captain of Millfield School First XI. It's been hard work though and there isn't a time when you aren't thinking about some aspect of game. When you are in the field you are thinking about every delivery. It's been a challenge but you get more out of it.
I was really surprised to be asked to be captain. I captained the England Performance Programme side for two matches before Christmas and after that ECB Performance Director David Parsons invited me to take charge of the Lions. It was a proud moment.
I have been really pleased with how the boys have done so far. All the batters have scored a hundred while the bowlers have made my job as captain really easy. I know they are going to bowl it in the right place.
We will fly to Guyana refreshed after being given some time off after our last game in Barbados. It has been brilliant.
My wife and I stayed in a hotel on Turtle Beach which was awesome. We spent most of the time being lazy by the pool and making most of the weather. We did hire a car one day and drove around the island, but otherwise I’ve been working on the tan.
I think it's important to rest both your body and mind especially on a long tour like this.