And here we go again....
The night before the 2nd test and I'm all set. I feel good. Well, that's what I'm paid to do, so I damn well better be feeling good.
Build up to this Test from the last one had been a little less intense than possibly before. The heat and the time in the field that we did has been taken into account. We had the day after the first Test off. Trained the next day (yesterday). Not as hot as it was in Chittagong, but still sweating like it's a million degrees. Had a good bowl, prob about 4 overs. Just enough to get back in the grove; to get back to Test match intensity and hit lengths and lines I'm concentrating on for the upcoming match. Felt great. Rhythm was real good, and was really happy with the results. The rest of the day off. A group of us went shopping. Our first trip outside of the hotel since we got here. A nice change. Although it wasn't quite as easy as it sounds.
Onto the team bus for a 10 min drive. We still have our police escort and armed guards with us for the journey. Arrive at a mall, a pretty good mall for standards here. Off the bus and inside. Instantly we have an 'entourage' of armed guards with us. This 'shopping' trip has been planed by our CSO (Close Security Officer) and we are very well looked after. It feels strange to be accompanied by armed police while shopping. We get a bit of attention because of this. And also they start to recognise who we are. Then we have a train. We have a rolling maul of locals following us into every shop, clicking away on there camera phones. A group of about 50 locals standing outside a DVD shop we're in. All just a little weird. So the shopping didn't last long. It was just to difficult for our CSO to be happy with our safety around all these people. Fair enough mate, you know better than us... lets go!
Today, the day before the 2nd Test. Afternoon training as the home team gets first call on training times. It rained today for the first time since I've been here. We head off to training, it's still raining; not hard, but just enough to put training off. We don't go indoors because the difference from indoor wickets to what we will play on is just to much (if we were in Oz then maybe indoors would have been ok....) So training consisted on getting our gear organised, a little team meditation (a new thing that the coach wanted to do) and then back to the hotel for a pool session.
Pool session, just a play around. A bit of rough and tumble in the pool. Married vs Single guys. Basically a game of scrag. Married guys won. Easily!
Lazy afternoon from there and then bowlers meeting before the Cap Presentation. Just going over the things we have to be aware of for this Test. Pitch, which is quite different. Their intent, whether they are going to play the same way, or expand their scoring a little.. etc.
Tonights Cap Presentation was one of the best I have been a part of. A NZer, Dr Edric Baker was the guest presenter. He has worked here in Bangladesh for 29 years as a doctor. He works 6 hours out of Dhaka in a very remote village. Living in conditions I wouldn't even camp in. I just can't believe this guys story. Utterly unbelievable. So tonights presentation was special. Dan gave his message after this, kinda weird to be thinking about cricket after what Dr Baker was talking about.
Jake goes home tomorrow. During the last Test, Jake pulled up no good after bowling with the 2nd new ball in the second innings. I don't know why I didn't take it; well actually it was probably because I had radiator issues that afternoon!! So we sat around and had a beer with him before he leaves. Jake is obviously a very important player in our set up. But he'll be of more importance in the next series, so although his scans weren't conclusive, it's important that he's fit for Australia. Jake will be around tomorrow, but it was just a chance, before we consume our 'selfish' selves with cricket, to farewell the big guy!
Tea at the buffet. Not the best food, but it's ok. I don't know what it is, but a lot of the food tastes a little metallic. So some of it is appealing on the plate, but not so on palate.
And now bed time.
Interesting stat coming from the Cap Presentation this evening. I have the lowest average per wicket this year of ALL Test bowlers that have taken over 20 wickets. The boys all congratulate me for this. I top the list for the whole world. A pretty special thing to me. Something I never thought I'd be a part of. Maybe, just maybe, I am as good as I've always wanted to be. Probably not, so, I'll keep trying to be better!! I'll keep trying my arse off to be the best I can be!