G’day Redbacks fans, just a bit of an update on the last few months and what I’ve been up to overseas.
I arrived back in Adelaide a couple of weeks ago and have been enjoying a few days off after a busy couple of months in India for the IPL followed by the Champions Trophy in England, before getting stuck back into pre-season with the boys earlier this week.
This year was my third season in the IPL and I definitely found it to be my most enjoyable tournament so far. Bangalore is a beautiful city, so we were pretty fortunate to be able to get out and enjoy a lot of the bars and restaurants in the area and not be restricted to our hotel all the time, which can sometimes be the case in India.
On the field, my job was just to stay ready and try and contribute as best I could when the opportunity arose. With RCB having so many stars on their list like Virat, AB De Villiers, Watto and Chris Gayle, we certainly didn’t have any shortage of firepower.
Unfortunately we weren’t able to perform as a team like we wanted, but from an individual perspective just being around players of that calibre is always a good thing for your development. The amount you’re able to learn just by watching those guys train and play is fantastic – in particular the way they adapt to different situations in games and some of the small technical things they pay attention to I found really valuable.
It was great to have Big Billy Stanlake from the Strikers in the side as well for his first IPL campaign. The big fella stands out just about wherever he goes, but in India it went up a few notches again!
It’s hard to tell whether he was happier with getting picked for a couple of matches or his avoidance of ‘Dehli Belly’ for the entire trip, but on the whole he seemed to enjoy the experience.
From Bangalore it was straight over to the UK where I met up with Zamps and the rest of the Aussie boys for the Champions Trophy.
It was certainly a frustrating couple of weeks with us only being able to effectively play one full match due to the amount of rain we received, but any opportunity to pull on the green and gold is still a special experience.
Personally it was good to be able to contribute in our last match against England, although I felt I left a few runs out there at the end which I think could have helped us put a bit more pressure on England’s chase.
Steve Smith and Boof have both been really encouraging in telling us to go out there and play with freedom, which is when I feel like I’m playing my best cricket, so it’s nice to be able to have made some scores and help contribute recently.
At the end of the day though I want to be helping Australia win matches and series, not making runs in losing sides, so as a team we were disappointed not to go further in the tournament than we did.
On Zampa’s new ‘do’ - it’s received way too much air-time already if you ask me, so I’m going to keep my commentary to a minimum.
I will say it definitely looked a lot better once Hattie came over and sorted it out, but Zamps isn’t the sort of character to put too much thought into my opinion on his personal style anyway. Suffice to say he’s pretty happy with it, which I guess is the most important thing!
Finally on our season coming up, whilst it was disappointing not be able to bring home the Shield last season, to make three out of the last four domestic finals I think shows that we’re on the right track.
We’ve got a bunch of guys coming through at the moment that are right in line for international honours and a lot of exciting young talent in the squad coming through which is exactly where we want to be.
We’ll miss the departure of our bowling coach Robbie Cassell, who’s off to Ireland to work his magic with their national team.
‘Cass’ is one of the best blokes in cricket and has helped develop what I think is the best bowling attack in the competition, so to get an opportunity at international level is a great reward for him.
We were pretty happy to be able to retire one of the wangers and present it to him at his going away barbeque. I heard there was even a tear in the great man’s eye when the boys handed it over!
We’re excited to have Luke Butterworth on board as his replacement though. ‘Buttsy’ comes with some pretty big raps and three Shield titles under his belt, so he certainly knows what success at this level looks like. We’re looking forward to him adding something different to the group and hopefully help us take the next step this season.
Apart from that, I’m looking forward to enjoying a bit of time at home, getting stuck into some training with the boys and trying to get along to a few more Port matches before the season starts up again!
Until next time,