Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Iain O'Brien - Tour of Australia

Sydney, well, what can I say.  This is the land of the beautiful people.  There is just so much to look at.  The Bridge, Opera House and Harbour are great too!

Been here for 2 days now after a quick week at home; NZ home that is.  Four nights in Auckland for Media requirements and the NZ Cricket Awards Evening.  Then back to Wellington to catch up with the folks, and to prepare for this tour.  One day of Club Cricket and one day at the Basin in a 'trial' match for the Wellington Team.  The 'Bogans' vs the 'City Boys' (Hutt Valley vs Wellington City).  These are the two leagues that make up the cricketing province of Wellington.  A win for the 'Bogans', again.  That's two in a row for us!

So, arrived in Sydney feeling great.  That's how all international travel should be; just over 3 hours, comfy seat, good movie, good food, a little glass of Port and you get off the plane feeling fine.  None of this 12-28 hour stuff where you feel dirty, filthy, eyes dry and red, lips cracked, travel bogies making your nose hurt and you're jet lagged with no idea of what time it is anywhere, let alone at your destination!

In and out of the hotel.  Straight down to Darling Harbour with Redmond and Elliott and for a really good meal and couple of beers.  Already decided that I liked that place from just that one trip out of the hotel.  Did I just say trip 'out of the hotel,' yes I did.  No security, no beggars, no issues.  Just a wonder of the streets of Sydney.  It felt great to just be able to walk around the city from the confines of the Bangladesh tour.

Training in the morning (11th) was good.  Grass on the wickets in the nets; haven't seen grass on a wicket for a while (the club game I played was on an artifiical and the Trial game was on a dead track), so really enjoyed the pace and bounce that comes with a hard surface with a bit of green on top.  The batters, on the other hand, weren't so pleased!  A couple seamed around a bit, and it's one of those days where you thank God that 'inner thigh pads' were invented!

Lazy afternoon with Jamie How and Chris (Tom) Martin walking around the harbour.  Down to where the Bridge meets not far from the Opera House, lunch and a coffee here enjoying the sights of lunch time Sydney.  A walk around the Quay through the park and back into the CBD.  Just perfect.  

Caught up with a school mate that I hadn't caught up with for almost 10 years, back down to Darling Harbour for another meal and couple of quiets.  Real good catch up.  Really enjoyed it.

And today..  Training this morning back at the SCG.  We're playing a 'warm up match' against NSW starting tomorrow.  A four day match on the SCG, a ground I've been looking forward to playing on for a while now.  Really looking forward to it.  Good bowl this morning, then a 20 min bat against some local bowlers.  They were pretty handy, regularly making me look silly.  At least I didn't get hit today.  Gillespie hit me yesterday, right on top of the foot, knocking me over, face first to the ground.  It hurt, and have a pretty colourful bruise to prove it.  Bowled better today too.  Didn't really hit my lengths yesterday, didn't get concerned as I have done in the past about it.  Just got in there today and went again, did a lot better and feel great going into tomorrows match.  Although, I hope we win the toss..... and bat!  As is the way with tour matches, you always bat first, no matter how green it looks!

This afternoon was some media stuff. You know those little pic/video that come up when your stats come up while you're walking on the park to bat, or coming on to bowl.  Had to do that, stand there, look up, fold your arms, look straight down the camera.  Do that three times, slightly different each time and ya done.  Meeting after that.  It was a Peer Review session.  And it was my time along with Ross to be reviewed.  An interesting process that I have been part of the reviewers, but not as the reviewie.  A couple of interesting things come out; nothing really surprising, but still, a few things that I really need to work on, more, to become a better person/player.  Quick captains meeting and then a back to my room to glue up my boots.  As I don't have a shoe sponsor I really have to take care of my boots as well as I can.  That means glue, changing some spikes after every bowl and just trying to keep them for as good as I can for as long as I can.  The ones I'm wearing are really comfy, don't want them to fall over, so it was a big glue session; the sole back to the shoe and trying to pack a part of it with glue so it will take longer to wear through.  It makes them a little heavier, but not enough to worry about.  I just wish I could get a couple of free pairs!!

Small 'Curry Crue' out for a meal.  How, Martin, Elliott and I wondered 5 mins down the road for a quick curry.  Quick as we had to be back for massages at 7.  You don't want to miss your massage slot; you do at your own peril.  My massage was at 8, I've just had it, and am back to finish writing this.  Not a bad curry either, Karma was the name of the restaurant, somewhere 5 mins from the hotel here in Sydney!

It's a 9.15am leave tomorrow, that's 15 mins before what was the start of play in Bangladesh.  A real sleep in in comparison.  Alarm will be set for 8am for a quick chat to my wife and then on to the shower and breakfast.  Alarm time in Bangas was 6.45am!  Luxury!  

And that's me for tonight.  Be back tomorrow night after Day 1 vs NSW.

Till then.......

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