Hello again fellow Bears. We are now three games into a ten-game tournament here in the BPL.
When I last wrote we were one win from one, we are now one from three. It has been a disappointing week for us on the field, but we still have seven games left and plenty of opportunities to put things right.
It has been our batting that has let us down. We have struggled to put pressure on the opposition and take advantage of the power play thus far. The power play is a huge part of the game with both bat and ball in T20 cricket. We see it so many times, the team that comes out on top in those first six overs often goes on to win the game. It’s something we have identified as a Bears squad that we can improve on this summer. To improve, you have to be willing to take the game on and take calculated risks.
I remember last summer prior to the T20 Blast, Carlos joined us for our first T20 practice session. He spoke to us all as a group and the message he relayed still sticks with me now. He wanted us to play without fear, take the game on and be fully accepting of the fact that we will have bad days as a result of playing like this. But he said we must trust the process and be on the front foot all the time. Be positive in everything we do.
With that approach, I am really excited to take to the field with the boys this summer. I feel we have so much potential within our squad and success is just around the corner in white ball cricket. We can’t wait to play in front of a packed out Edgbaston.
It’s been an exciting week to be a Bears fan.
The fixtures release always provides plenty of excitement and a couple of fixtures caught my eye. Somerset away in the County Championship. I would love to play against my boyhood club in Taunton where I have a lot of friends and family. I am working hard at my red ball game and it is something I am really passionate about. However, I fully understand the fact I have a lot of work to do to break into that formidable championship side.
I am also particularly excited about the Bears vs Pears derby at Edgbaston in the T20 Blast. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could sell out Edgy for that one? Round up the troops folks.
Did any of you watch Jacob Bethell’s innings the other day for England U19s against South Africa? What a special innings. He is such an exciting talent and I know you are going to be seeing plenty of him this summer in a Bears shirt.
Finally from a Bears Perspective. Sam Hain joins Fortune Barishal today. I am really looking forward to having a fellow Bear out here with me. Sam is a phenomenal talent and in my opinion should be playing in all of these franchise tournaments, so to have someone of his quality joining our team is brilliant. Hopefully he will get the opportunity to show what he is about,
We have moved from Dhaka to Chittagong now. We flew down on Wednesday. A short 45 minute flight (on a propeller plane – don’t panic, I made it here safely!). Chittagong is roughly 250km south of Dhaka on the west coast of Bangladesh. There is a bit more breeze here, less pollution and the stadium at first glance looks like an upgrade on the Shere Bangla in Dhaka. It has been a nice change of scenery.
We trained yesterday at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong. The practice wickets were fantastic. Plenty of pace, live grass and very little spin. That’s definitely not what I signed up for! Training has been brilliant. It has allowed me to do plenty of work on my game in the heat. I have been working hard at all facets of my game. Batting, bowling, fielding and fitness, as well as working closely with Warwickshire’s nutritionist, Callum Walker, online.
I found bubble life fairly hard during The Hundred and the CPL. This time I was determined to learn from that and keep on top of things physically, mentally and nutritionally. The game has moved on so much in the last ten years and the physical side of the game is a huge part of what we do. So it is important that I focus really hard on ways to improve that side of things.
I was unfortunately left out of the second match, but regained my place again for the third. I have been pleased with my bowling. Prior to Christmas, I had been working on a few things with Pop Welch and since Christmas with Mark Robinson. I have tried to add more bounce to my run up to aid my control at the crease. I felt last summer, I had got too quick through the crease and therefore couldn’t generate as much spin or bounce as I would have liked. Those changes seem to have been working. It is still a work in progress and I have to reinforce this technical work with drills prior to practice sessions and games. But to get one-18 off four overs in both appearances has been really pleasing.
We are playing Khulna Tigers back to back on Saturday and Monday. We then play Chattogram Challengers on Tuesday. It is going to be a busy few days. Our squad is getting stronger by the day, as mentioned Sam joins today. Mujeeb Ur Rahman joined yesterday and Chris Gayle is also now with us.
We are only allowed to play three overseas players, so there is a strong chance I might have to settle for a place on the bench over the next few days, but we shall see. I have done all I can to give myself the best opportunity of playing. It will be important that I remain patient and keep working hard for when another opportunity does arise.
Next time we speak we will be one week closer to the first ball of the English summer and hopefully we will be sitting pretty near the top of the BPL table. Thanks for all your messages of support, it means a lot!
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.