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Slowing down the pace as I'm told

Posted in England Performance Programme

Thursday morning started with a really useful media session with Ashley Giles where he gave a first-hand account of his experiences with the media.

It was a great session and was particularly useful for the younger players as they won’t have had much media experience at the moment. The more advice we can give these guys the better as it will prepare them well for their future careers.

That afternoon, the rain came down again, so we headed for the gym where we had a really good workout. David Parsons arrived from Sri Lanka and he’ll stay with us now until December 15 when we all return home. It’s great to have him on board as well and fantastic news about his role as the ECB Performance Director.

I had a chat with Ashley about what we’ve been working on over here because he was flying home on Saturday. We chatted about what I wanted to improve on and had a discussion about how I get to the next level.

He gave me some positive feedback on my limited-overs form, but said that I need to look for something else in my game to help me take more wickets in Championship cricket.

On Friday we had an afternoon net session where I changed my bowling action a little and tried to slow down the pace of the ball and bowl more side spin, which was part of what me and Ashley discussed. This was to try and take me out of my comfort zone and take me away from how I normally practise and what I usually work on in an attempt to see if this could help my preparation towards the longer format of the game.

I worked really hard in the nets after our chat and bowled for a good hour. I spent 30 minutes on what he wanted me to do – slowing down the pace of the ball and bowling more side spin and then half an hour on what I’m used to bowling. I’ll continue doing this in future practices and I’ll look forward to using it in a game.

Saturday brought the decider game for the internal matches. Happily I was on the victorious side. The aim remained for us to lose as few wickets as possible, which seems the best game plan on these tracks. Runs come if you manage to stay in.

We lost three wickets in the first 90 minutes and then I came in. With about half an hour to go until lunch I went into a defensive role to see us through to the break, which I managed with Joe Denly.

At lunch, we had a chat with Martyn Moxon (the coach of our team), who suggested we try and rotate the strike as much as possible to take the pressure off each other. We did that very successfully without losing a wicket, and we finished on 101 for three.

We knew we had to get four wickets in the remaining three hours, which we did. I caught Carbs (Michael Carberry) for the first wicket off Finny’s (Steve Finn) bowling and there were two run outs. Trott got one of them and the other was a straight drive that hit the bowler’s end and ricocheted onto the stumps.

It was nice for Adil (Rashid) to come in with 20 minutes left and edge one off Moeen (Ali) to Trott at first slip! We had a celebratory drink that night in the hotel bar with our coach Martyn, otherwise known as Frog!

We had a day off on Sunday, so a lot of the guys and me stayed in to watch the first day of the Test match between England and Sri Lanka. There’s also a DVD shop around the corner from the hotel, so I took full advantage of the cheap prices and bought myself about ten films, which I’ve been watching. So far I’ve seen Next, War and Ocean’s Thirteen.

On Monday we returned to training and I did an hour’s bowling to prepare myself for the game, which was to start the next day. I opted not to do any batting, but to focus purely on my bowling.

Unfortunately I wasn’t selected when the team was announced that evening, which I was disappointed about, but am still looking forward to getting the final game underway.

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