A week can be a very long time in sport! It has certainly been a very busy week in the world of cricket.
It has been a mixed week for us Bears fans. England U19s and Jacob Bethell have progressed to a World Cup final and on a less positive note Tim Bresnan has announced his retirement from the game.
I am not usually a big watcher of cricket on television. However, being locked in a hotel gives me very little option, so I have been following the England U19s World Cup campaign with keen interest. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching them play. Youngsters in this country play so differently these days. It’s safe to say, Eoin Morgan’s tenure as England’s white ball captain has impacted upon these youngsters greatly. They seem so fearless and wrist spin played a pivotal role in their qualifying for the final.
When I was Director of Cricket at Queen’s College in Taunton, I also did some coaching work with Somerset CCC. I predominantly worked with their spinners but also dipped into some academy sessions. It has been brilliant to see a couple of lads I worked with there (James Rew and George Thomas) put in brilliant performances. Equally, as mentioned in the previous blog, Jacob Bethell has done brilliantly too. Bats, bowls, fields, good leader and most importantly of all, he has a fantastic head on his shoulders for someone so young! It is always nice see kids grow as cricketers and they have certainly come on a long way and have bright futures ahead of them.
I love my coaching and it is definitely something I would love to pursue after I have finished playing. Prior to coming to Bangladesh I had been doing some work for Paul Greetham with the academy at Warwickshire. There is some serious talent coming through our academy and Warwickshire seem to be in a brilliant place right now in terms of both the current squad and those youngsters looking to transition onto the professional staff in the coming years.
Going back to Tim’s retirement, it is obviously going to be a big loss to our squad and dressing room. He has impacted hugely upon us all. He has had a fantastic career and can be extremely proud of what he has achieved. I was 17 when England won the ashes down under in 2011. I still remember staying up all night in my boarding house watching that series. It was special! For me though, it is less about what Tim achieved but how he played the game and the type of character he was. Every time he stepped on the field, it looked like fun. He always played with a smile on his face. He is a fantastic team mate and I know whatever route he chooses to go down in the future, he will give it everything and will no doubt have a huge amount of success. Enjoy retirement Bressy!
Moving on from Bears news. I should probably update you with how things have been going in Bangladesh. Last time we spoke, we had three games in Chittagong coming up. We won all three, it’s been a great week for the franchise. Unfortunately I only played one of the three games. I managed to pick up two for 19 and took a couple of good catches in the deep. You are only allowed to play three overseas in the BPL and when you are competing with the likes of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Mujeeb Ur Rahman it can be tough to break in. When you are out of the team it is important to stay positive and continue to prepare as best as you can. You never know when another opportunity may arise.
I have been working hard at my fielding. For me, a lot of it comes down to being strong mentally. Last summer I started to work with a sports psych to help my fielding. I felt if I could have a more positive mindset when fielding, rather than fearing making a mistake, it would have a huge impact on my game. You might not realise it, but it is daunting at times fielding in front of you lot! We don’t want to let you down but sometimes that can’t be helped. Psychology is a big part of sport these days. I was delighted when the club recently appointed Kate Green as the new sports psychologist. I have heard great things from numerous players about her and I am certain she will have a big impact on me and others within the squad. So in short, I feel in a fantastic place with my fielding at the moment. I want the ball to come to me and I am getting the opportunity to field in key positions out here. Robbo will be pleased, as he hates seeing me at short fine leg!!!
Although only playing once this week, it has been a surreal week both on and off the field. I am sure many of you saw that I had the opportunity to open the batting with Chris Gayle. If someone had said to me a year ago that you would get to open the batting with Chris in the BPL next year I would have laughed in their face. I also got some great news the other day, I have made the IPL Auction. It is ultimately unlikely that I will get picked up due the amount of wrist spinners in India. However, to make it to the auction is special in itself. Here’s hoping one of the franchises fancy taking a punt of a opening batter who bowls a bit of left arm wrist spin!!
I am still thoroughly enjoying my experience out here, although the team bus has now been wrapped in advertising, so I can’t look out the window anymore. I miss looking out the window and taking everything in!! We are in bubbles and that side of things is a bit draining. My PS5, guitar and television are just about keeping me going. It has been nice to have fellow bear (Sam Hain) out here with me. I am pleased to report he is well and looking brilliant in the nets. Hopefully (Inshallah) he will get an opportunity to show what he’s about soon. Our fixture in Dhaka today was sadly rained out, but we travel to Sylhet for our final three group games before returning to Dhaka for finals week! It’s a big week!
I look forward to catching up with you all soon. In the meantime, take care of yourselves and thanks again for all your support. Youuuuuuu Bears!
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.