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Monsoon disrupts best-laid plans

Posted in England Performance Programme

The EPP (England Performance Programme) are currently in Chennai, India, on the second half of their month-long camp. Moving away from individual development, the programme has now moved into the match-preparation phase.

The squad are perfectly placed should any injuries befall the full England side over in Sri Lanka and another player is needed immediately.

Around the two matches, one against an MRF Academy XI (which resulted in a draw) and the other against first-class Sri Lankan opposition flown over specifically for the purpose, the EPP will continue their training in between the unseasonal rain.

Reminiscent of the summer just gone in England, training and development plans as well as day two of the first match have been disrupted as a result of the remnants of the monsoon season. (Assurances from weather experts that the monsoon season finished in October were clearly supposed to be taken lightly…)

Chairman of Selectors, David Graveney, arrived to watch the EPP’s first match against an MRF XI before heading straight back to Sri Lanka in time for the second Test.

Jonathan Trott took the rain break as an opportunity to diversify from cricket into cookery. He attended a cookery lesson in the hotel where they’re staying and learnt how to cook pasta to the perfect texture. (Too long and it goes floppy, not long enough and it’s a bit al dente apparently!).

He also had a brief lesson in making pizza, concentrating especially on the dough base. The head chef has given him recipes to take back to England with him and try at home…

Another training day brought the decider for the keenly-contested internal matches. Eight players on each side, with additional Indian bowlers making up the numbers for the fielding side with the aim not to lose your wicket.

Spin bowling coach Ashley Giles headed up one team and batting coach Martyn Moxon led the other, overseen by head coach Kevin Shine. It was all to play for as they entered the final internal match of the camp, with Giles and Moxon one apiece from the two games previously played in Mohali.

It was a close contest, but Moxon’s side had the edge over Giles’. Moxon’s victorious team consisted of Joe Denly, Moeen Ali, Jonathan Trott, Tim Ambrose, Chris Schofield, Graham Onions, Steve Finn and Vikram Banerjee who filled in.

Celebrations ensued with commiserating messages sent to Giles, who was at this point well on his way back to the UK.

The EPP will start their four-day match on Tuesday December 11.

National Cricket Performance Centre

National Cricket Performance Centre

The state-of-the-art facility is much more than just a training centre for the England Performance Programme players as it provides an all-year-round facility to benefit cricket as a whole