After his brilliant season for Warwickshire, player-of-the-season Rob Yates is in Australia with the England Lions group shadowing the senior squad as they prepare for the Ashes. Here we welcome Rob to our Bears overseas series as he reports in from Brisbane.

Hello Bears fans. I hope you are all keeping safe and well.

I am in Australia with the Lions alongside the senior squad as they get ready for the Ashes and it is a fantastic experience. I am really enjoying the challenge of playing in new conditions and meeting new people with all their knowledge and expertise to tap into. I’m just trying to absorb as much as possible.

Not that it has all gone to plan! All week here in Brisbane it has been raining so the Lions v Ashes warm-up game was pretty much washed out. It has been very wet ever since we arrived in Brisbane a week and a half ago. Out of eight scheduled outside net sessions, only two were possible.

We first landed in Brisbane a month ago and then had to go to quarantine on the Gold Coast. We did three days of solid in-room quarantine, where they deliver your food to your door, then ten more days where we were allowed around the hotel, to the pool and the gym, and to go directly to training at the Metricon and back.

After that there was a lot of excitement from everyone to get properly out of quarantine and get back to Brisbane…and then the rain started!

It’s been strange but it is still fantastic to be here as the anticipation builds towards the Ashes. When we were up at the Gold Coast and it wasn’t raining it was really nice to have some middle practices and get out on grass wickets as opposed to indoor surfaces. There has been plenty of flexibility of blending the squads with sometimes Lions bowlers bowling to Ashes batters. Training is at quite a high pace and, as a batter, it’s just a question of trying to adjust to the pace and bounce of Australian pitches.

Trotty is out here so it’s great to work with someone who already has an idea of my game. Another former Bear, Ant Botha, is also here, Carl Hopkinson is head coach of the Lions and Graham Thorpe, who works mainly with the Ashes squad, comes over and helps with the Lions too, so there are a lot of brains to be picked.

We have a four-day Lions v Ashes game starting next Wednesday so hopefully I can get some game time there. Then, the week after that, we play against Australia A which for the Lions squad is our main match, before we return to England on December 16th.

Hopefully I can score a few runs against Australia A to round off a very special year. I was very proud and grateful to receive the awards at the Bears end-of-season dinner. It was a shame I couldn’t be there in person to thank everybody but my absence was for a nice reason!

See you back at Edgbaston soon.


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