This week’s Academy session was based around performing under fatigue, which is very common in the long season – in all formats of the game. A big emphasis was put on game plans in a competitive indoor match between the Academy players. We were asked to set game plans for any situation that could occur within the match and what our initial plans were to start the match including bowling/batting order and field positions for different bowlers. We then had a talk from Tom Cleary, an ECB anti doping speaker, who came in to make us aware of drugs within sport.
Teams were picked as soon as we arrived and the first 15 minutes of the session was then spent setting our game plans for the game ahead. We had to work out team strengths and weaknesses, for both teams, which would help us plan accordingly. Batting and bowling orders were set so we were all aware of our roles within the team. We then moved on to planning our game plans on how we were going to bowl and bat against the opposition. This included setting the field and potential scoring options. This aspect of the game has been something that the whole Academy has worked on throughout the winter as it was an area we all identified that needed looking over. This was therefore a good opportunity for us all to put what we had learnt, over the winter, into a game situation.
We then moved into a fitness session which was designed to make us fatigued before going into the match situation. This meant we needed to be mentally tough in the match and be clear with our game plans. We used certain multi stage fitness test (bleep test) levels to determine our sprints. We started off with levels 8-9 then a short break followed by level 12-13 and 15-16. All these levels were completed to a very high intensity and not many ‘beeps’ were missed. We then had one final sprint on level 19-20; we paired up with someone from the opposite team, and took it in alternate turns to sprint a ‘bleep’. We were made to push our partner so they worked at the highest intensity possible, which is the work ethic we expect from all players in the Academy.
We then moved into the Indoor match; I was captain and lost the toss, but my team ended up doing what we planned and that was to bat first, as we backed ourselves to defend any target. The first spell of bowling was very good from Ivan Thomas as he got the ball to swing and bowled good line and length taking two wickets in the first over. This put the batting team under pressure. The bowling team continued to restrain the runs and resulted in the batting team only getting 50 runs. In return early wickets were not taken, but a good spell from the spin bowlers tried restricting the runs but the total was too low. This match allowed us to see if we stuck to our game plans and tactics. At the end of the match we concluded the session and highlighted areas that we need to work on.
We then had a presentation from Tom Cleary from the ECB on Drugs in sport. As highlighted in the presentation, this is a big area in sport now days with the amount of pressure on players to be the best and the amount of supplements available to sportsmen. It was an eye opener to many of the group to find out that banned supplements can be in medicines that may be within the household, so there was a big emphasis to just check everything that is taken. That was the conclusion to a good high intensity session that I feel everyone benefited from.