Team building and sticking to our processes
Greetings from the UK. This week is all about our tour matches against Somerset and Kent. Unfortunately, I’m not taking part in the Somerset game, after picking up a very minor injury over the past weekend.
I went for a run and because of all the rain they’ve had here, there were plenty of puddles on my route. I spent a lot of time jumping over and around these puddles and I think that compensation resulted in me inflaming a joint in my foot. It really isn’t anything serious, though, and the decision to sit out the Somerset game was just a precaution.
It’s been an interesting week of preparation for the start of our UK tour. That’s because we spent the majority of last week in Switzerland, with a team building exercise that really made a big impact on all the players.
In a nutshell, I think it was very necessary for us and we achieved so much more there than we would have hitting thousands of balls in the nets. We did some mountain climbing, mountain biking, some kloofing etc and all the activities focused on the team element, helping us to gel together after some time apart over the last few months.
Fortunately, our test squad has always been an experienced squad and there hasn’t been too much change in terms of personnel, but it was great to just reaffirm that bond. I was also very impressed with Mike Horn, who was the world-renowned explorer and adventurer who was on hand to really put things into perspective for us. He was a real inspiration.
Now we’re in the UK and focusing on that first test at the Oval, which gets under way on the 19th of July. It was a bit wet when we arrived from Switzerland, but the weather did improve in the days after that.
What I can say is that the intensity was very impressive from the very start of our time in the UK -- the guys really do look up for this tour. It’s a really big series and we’ve been fortunate to enjoy some fantastic success in the past in the UK.
We’re also quite comfortable about where we are as a team and a unit. I think the balance in terms of rest and preparation has been spot-on and by the time the first test comes around we’ll be raring to go.
It’s also a great opportunity for us to reaffirm our status as one of the best cricket teams in the world. It’s more of a process than a focus on results, which is something that coach Gary Kirsten keeps going on about. We feel that if we stick to our processes, there’s every chance that we will win the series and go to number one in the test team rankings.
Off the field, we arrived on Wimbledon finals weekend and made sure we watched the men’s final between Roger Federer and Andy Murray. Everyone in the UK was clearly hyped up about Murray being in the final, but Federer was just class. My feeling was that if Federer only brought his ‘B’ game that would have been enough. He thoroughly deserved to win.
So, there’s been a bit of relaxing away from the field but, at the same time, I get the sense that there is this incredible focus on what we want to achieve. So, I would say that there’s a quiet confidence about the team, and we’re really looking forward to the test series getting under way in the next week or so.
I will be in touch in the next week, with more on the tour games against Somerset and Kent.