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Mixed emotions in Pune

Posted in England Performance Programme

We are now over halfway through our trip in India, and have just moved on from Navi Mumbai to Pune.

This signals the change in focus from red- to white-ball specific skills. It was nice to finish the last three-day game with a win; Jos (Buttler) and Stokesy (Ben Stokes) batted very well in the final session in making a difficult chase look very easy.

From a pace-bowling perspective, it was good for all the bowlers to get some overs in the legs and experience the conditions in a match situation.

From a personal point of view, I have enjoyed testing myself in the unfamiliar conditions and continuing to learn how to be effective as a pace bowler on the sub-continent.

I write this, having just watched the highlights of (Steven) Finn and (James) Anderson giving a perfect example that it is not just spin that can win games over here, in the second innings of the third Test.

Reverse swing plays an important part, and I have in particular enjoyed furthering my understanding of this art.

Following the final three-day game in Mumbai, we travelled to Pune the next day and, in the afternoon, had organised to visit a local orphanage.

After a minor panic from all of the lads at the mayhem the bus pulling up had caused, we were soon split up and running mini-cricket games.

Toby Roland-Jones

Toby Roland-Jones will not be playing any more cricket on the England Performance Programme tour due to a knee injury, but remains upbeat

It proved to be a very rewarding experience and an insight into the enthusiasm that these local lads have, no matter what their background or current situation.

One of the best things about touring for long periods is the opportunity to make friendships in the game.

A lot of the lads are similar ages and, although we have played against each other, spending four weeks together in India and training every day certainly brings everybody closer together.

A lot of the guys who have been on such trips previously are good mates, and it is a great place to meet lads in a similar position to yourself and make friends in the game.

On a personal note, I have unfortunately been ruled out of any more cricket on the tour due to continued knee problems.

The last nine days offer a chance to begin a rehabilitation programme put in place to give my knee the best opportunity to get back to 100% and hopefully put my name in the hat for the Lions’ trip to Australia in the New Year.

While I am gutted, it is in some ways a relief to be tackling this now and hopefully using the Christmas period to return to full fitness.

I suppose one of the benefits of being on the programme is the large amount of support staff to help you day in day out, With my knee, both the doctor and physio have been great in helping me manage it up to this point, as have the strength and conditioning coaches.

While a mere spectator for the final one-day games against the Netherlands, it would be great to watch the lads continue the previous successes of the tour. Although I’m sure I’ll be wishing I could be out there when they come around.

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