Hello to all Bears and Sparks fans, I hope you are all keeping warm and safe and well.
I am now in New Zealand with the England squad where we have landed ahead of the World Cup. We arrived from Australia last week and were very pleased to learn that we would be spending just seven days in quarantine when we had expected 14.
Not for a moment do any of us forget how lucky we are to be travelling like this and playing cricket, but we have spent a lot of time in quarantine over the last two years and it can be hard. Particularly on this tour it has taken a toll a little bit and been frustrating, so that it was only seven days this time round was uplifting. Now we have a little bit more freedom and are all really looking forward to the World Cup.
Ironically, we will start our campaign against Australia who we have just played in the Ashes. It was a slightly surreal trip, to be honest, it went so quickly. Our preparation was a real challenge. We had a good camp at Oman and a couple of good camps at Loughborough but then, the last week before we flew, we weren’t allowed to train with anyone else in the squad because it was purely about getting on the flight. It was only individual training so we had parents on the bowling machines. My sister gave me one session!
Then after we arrived in Canberra it hammered down with rain which was a bit frustrating. We got into a great position at halfway in the first T20 but didn’t back it up and then came the Test which was obviously a great match with that amazing final day. From my perspective, watching our top five go about that run chase the way they did was fantastic. There was no doubt in everyone’s mind that we were going to chase it down, the intent was brilliant right from the start from Tammy and Loz, but cricket can change so quickly and we ended up blocking out for a draw. It was just a real roller coaster.
I was very happy to take six catches in the first innings. I really enjoyed it and felt like I was in the game the whole time. I think one of the hardest things about wicketkeeping is concentrating and we don’t play the long format very often, so I really enjoyed that first innings. I felt like I was engaged every ball and it was nice to get a few catches.
Since the Ashes, it has been good to take a step back from the cricket for a week or two. We are now in Queenstown for four days proper rest and that’ll be cool because it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. It will be a great place to just get away and recharge and then we go again.
I can’t wait. I’ve played for England for a while now but only one game at a 50-over World Cup, my debut, so it will definitely be very special to be a part of that. We are reigning champions, which is a great title to have, and everyone will definitely be ready to get back into it and try to retain the trophy. I look forward to reporting for the Bears and Sparks fans again when we are a few games in and hopefully with a few wins under our belts!
T20 Quarter-Final: Tickets only £10
Birmingham Bears will host Hampshire Hawks at Edgbaston on Thursday 7 July (6.30pn) in the Vitality Blast quarter-finals.
Adult tickets are available from £10, when you buy in advance of the day of the match. Under 12s go FREE and 12 to 15-year-olds are £1. Members and Season Pass holders go FREE.