Home, sweet home

Posted in Domestic Cricket

Barbados it might not be, but I’m really glad to be back at Grace Road and I can’t wait for the county season to start.

After spending the last two months in the Caribbean with England Lions, I was looking forward to seeing the Leicestershire lads again and getting back into training. Even though I’ve had less than a week at home, it’s not a worry for me – I just want to get playing cricket again.

Things went well in the West Indies domestic competition. We didn’t lose a game and probably deserved to finish higher than third, and I did pretty well with the bat.

I was chuffed with 527 runs at an average of 58, but it was a great experience, the standard of cricket was good and I learned a lot while I was out there.

Conditions were a lot different to England. It was a lot more conducive to spin – they weren’t traditional West Indies pitches – and they play cricket slightly differently over there.

There’s a different tempo, and it can be hard to score quickly, especially if you’re in the middle order when the ball is soft and they set a ring field.

I found the hardest thing was to score quickly, so you have to graft for your runs. In that respect, I found (batting coach) Graham Thorpe really helpful. There were plenty of things I picked up from him – on playing spin, playing seam, different techniques to adapt.

Conditions are so different that it takes you an innings or two to adapt out there, just as it will when I get back to playing here (although it looks like the rain has ruined my outdoor net for today).

I’ve enjoyed being back in the dressing room. We’ve got a great bunch of lads at Leicestershire and a good staff behind us. The team spirit is fantastic because there are no big egos.

With Hoggy as captain, there’s never a dull moment in the dressing room. He’s got plenty of energy, he’s always playing stupid little pranks and there’s plenty of banter. Let’s just say you’ve got to have your wits about you.

But he has played at the top with England and he knows what he’s on about. He’s great for the young guys, especially the bowlers. We’ve got some experienced players and some younger guys in the squad – a good mix – and the older guys are always willing to help the younger ones out.

Last season was Hoggy’s first in charge and to finish fourth in Division 2 of the LV= County Championship was a great effort considering everything that went on off the field.

All the lads are raring to go this year. Not many people are saying it, but we’re looking to get promoted. If injuries stay away, we can do it.

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