Well so much has happened in a week, Tred has won a man of the match award for the West Indies game, we have trained in superb conditions in Dubai and Chelsea have beaten Man City. There is one other thing I must share with anybody who follows Alex Blakes blog. He has been very keen to tell us all about the hours he has spent in the Library in Leeds, what he hasnt shared is that the pub right near his home in Leeds is called the Library, so hopefully you wont think he is a book worm anymore!!
England have progressed through to the quarter finals, a trip to Colombo and the Sri Lankans await them, what great game that could be. England have played at the Premadassa Stadium in recent times, but this ground has been knocked down and re built since then, and the wicket has been scalped and re planted, so it will be new to them in every way. In SL the wickets are hand planted, each blade of grass is put in its place by ladies who spend days planting the wicket. It is an amazing thing to watch, these ladies squat for hours at a time, and each blade is pushed in with their thumb and finger. The wicket is divided into sections, saturated and then planted.
Without sounding like a boring told you so, I have maintained all the way through this competition that the group stages count for nothing as long as you qualify for the knock out stage. I really think all the teams have a chance now of winning it now, except for NZ. You need to win three games from here and you win the first prize. I still think India, SL and SA are the favorites, but equally there must be a thought that England having scraped through will go on and win it, equally Pakistan could upset the odds, and you would be foolish to write the Aussies off. Enough sitting on the fence, my call is SL!!
The trip to Dubai has gone better than I could have hoped for, the facilities are brilliant, the nets are excellent, the middle wickets top class and the outfields as good as you will find anywhere. I really think this is the best facility of its kind anywhere in the world. Brisbane has the Allan Border field, this is the home to the Australian Academy, NZ are based at Lincoln University and England has of course Loughborough University, but this is a combination of all three. It is a world class venue run by world class people. In Rod Marsh you have somebody who is as well respected in the world of cricket as anybody, he is responsible for the setting up of the Australian Academy, the England Academy and the Indian Academy, then this place. He is respected by players and coaches around the world, and has looked after us so well. He has Mudazar Nazar as batting coach here and Dayle Hadlee as bowling coach.
I will be chatting to Jamie on my return about next year already, and how this venue could be the ideal place to host a three or four county warm up tournament. There are two superb grounds, enough nets to host four teams and still the huge indoor facility. The middles are half Pakistan wickets and half Australian. The wickets we have used in the nets have been Aussie, Pakistani and today we have used the English wickets. There is nowhere in the world that has this facility, and of course being on English wickets but with sunshine on our backs has helped no end.
The new web cam on the ground at Canterbury has enabled Simon and I to watch the weather at Canterbury, and also follow the progress of the ground, and with the covers hardly moving last week, we certainly made the right decision!!
Well thats enough from me for this week, hope the sun continues to shine in Canterbury,