Searching for positives
Posted in England Lions
As I sit here, watching it rain in Sydney, 4-0 down in the series, it is difficult to search for the immediate positives on the tour.
The easy thing to say is that it is a learning experience, which is true, but it has also been tough to take. A lot of things go through your mind when winless, predominantly negative, but part of the game is moving on and approaching each game with a fresh perspective.
Over the last few years, a lot has been talked about around the mental challenges surrounding cricket, and I suppose this tour has offered an insight into how difficult it could be in the magnified and more intense international arena.
As a group, our preparation could not be brought into question; we train hard and have had all the opportunities needed to rehearse our skills. The truth is, when it matters, we have come up short.
A great perk of touring is getting to know the players around you. We are fortunate to have a great group of lads, a variety of ages, some new to the game and others very experienced (sorry Clarkey). This has offered a good team dynamic and the energy and enthusiasm in the group has always remained high.
The latest game in the series provided our best chance to claim victory and, although it is easy to say, if Gary (Ballance) hadn't retired hurt we were looking in a good position and the batters had set it up well.
We certainly didn't bowl well enough but the top order had given us a real chance of knocking the runs off until Gary was forced off. Fortunately, Gary has not sustained any serious injuries, as it was a nasty blow, and will hopefully be fit for our final fixture.
Playing at the SCG is a great experience and the ground has maintained a real sense of tradition, in a similar vein to Lord's.
Personally, it has been great to play in the last few games and it was a proud moment to play in my first England Lions game. Since India it has been a long road to regaining full fitness and at times I questioned whether I'd take the field at all on this trip.
However, nobody enjoys losing, and the proud emotions were soon taken over by the bitter tastes of defeat.
The prospect of a winless tour looms over the side going into the last fixture, and it is a thought that everyone is desperate to eliminate and do so with a convincing win in the day-night game on Friday, which would make sleeping on the long flight home just a little bit easier.