Temporary place to blog while I get the old one up and running...
Thursday, 27 November 2008
NZ vs Aust - Adelaide Oval - The Day Before
As always, the night before, I'll kick of my Test match blog.
Adelaide now, and this IS the prettiest ground I have ever been to. The Adelaide Oval has a wonderful feel to it. The grass embankment that surrounds one end (similar to McLean Park, Napier, NZ) and another grassy area at the other end give it a real honest cricket ground feel. The grandstands are not huge concrete structures that over shadow the impose themselves on the park, they are the size that we all wish they would be. That's not to say that we don't want to play in front of crowds in excess of 45,000 people, but grounds like this should be embraced and held as sanctuaries to the cricketing world. I am honored to be able to train here and, tomorrow, play here. This is a treat, a real thrill.
Yesterdays training was a tough one. One that the coaches wanted as close to Test Match intensity as possible. In one net batters got all barrels from the bowlers and in the other nets they worked on their personal drills with throw downs or net bowlers. The wickets for the nets are pretty good. They actually look similar to the one out in the middle. Yesterday they did 'a little,' not as much as the Gabba did on Day One or Two, but enough to keep them honest. And us bowlers, we ran in, and ran in hard. It's a big step for a batter to go into a Test match facing 'netties' and us bowlers when we are not necessarily having a session where we are going at 100%. The step up from nets to middle is just to big. So yesterday was an attempt to replicate it as much as possible. It was a good blow out for the bowlers too. We'd had a couple of days off since Brisbane and we needed a good run out. I had two spells, a four and a two over workout. Bowled ok. Nets are not the best places to be bowling, just as they are not the best places for batting in. Nothing can replicate the middle! You always feel a little confined, the bowlers always feel a little quicker, and the viewing for the batter isn't always the best either. The intensity was great yesterday. Yeah a couple of our batters wore a couple of nasty bouncers, but that was our job as bowlers, bowl like we would in a match. Bowl a couple of bouncers, bowl length balls, but most importantly, bowl to a plan; a plan to bowl dots and work on getting the guy out, how ever long it takes, patience is the key.
Todays training, on the other hand, was what ever you wanted to get out of it. A chat from the coach this morning emphasizing the importance of not over doing things before going into this Test, as there is a good chance that we will be spending more time in the field than we did in Brisbane. The track here is well renowned as one that favors bat over ball, hence preparing to do longer stints in the field. So I did a warm up, got my batting gear on and headed to the nets for a bat. I asked the net bowlers to 'bang it in' to me as I want to do as much training with short stuff as possible. They did a good job and earned themselves a couple of wickets against me. And as a guy who used to bowl to touring teams a bit, you just love getting these international guys out, no matter where they bat in the line up.
Tonights Cap Presentation was a 'very' special one. This will be our coaches' last match as coach. Braces has been with the team for almost 6 years I think the number was. He was the guy that played me in my first test, the guy who played me in my third test after a 2 1/2 year lay off, and the guy who leaves this team for a role back in the UK. Braces had the honor of handing out our caps tonight. More so though, the honor was all mine in being able to receive my cap from such a great player and a coach who just lives and breathes this wonderful game. A couple of lumps in throats as Crocker, our manager, introduced Braces, and a couple more while Braces was talking. This is going to be a special test for a lot of reasons, and as Braces last game involved with us, we'll be doing our utmost to win it for ourselves and him (not saying we don't normally, but this one has just that little bit more on it).
From the Cap Presentation a group of ten of us headed out for a curry. A real good crowd. Normally the Curry Club would have five or six guys, but tonight it swelled to ten. I can only take that as a compliment as on this trip I haven't failed in supplying the lads with good Curries!
It's now time to hit the sack and get in a good nights sleep. I've certainly done all I can to be in the best fitness, form and mental state for this game. There is nothing more I could do, or would want to do to be ready. In saying that, the last couple of days i have felt a little lethargic for some an unknown reason. I've been eating well, I've been sleeping good, drinking enough water, just not sure what it is. So hopefully I wake tomorrow with some real energy. I do know that when I get to the ground tomorrow the venue and the occasion will life me and set me right.