Big week ahead for Proteas
Apologies for the lack of communication – it’s been a hectic past week, finishing up the T20 series in England and then flying to Sri Lanka for the ICC World Twenty20.
We’re in Colombo at the moment ahead of a big week for us – group games against Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, the host nation. Our biggest challenge so far has been adjusting to the time-zone change and the effects of the long travel from the UK. We flew from London to Dubai late last week and then had a layover of about seven hours, where we checked into a hotel and left about seven hours later. We then flew to Colombo and began the adjusting process. The guys have really struggled and I’ve seen it in our training sessions, but we’ve got little time to get ourselves sorted out. The fortunate thing about our travel is that we do fly Business Class, so we have at least been able to sleep on the plane.
Colombo has been great and I’ve really enjoyed the restaurants – the food has been outstanding, particularly the fish, which I’m a big fan of. Our first day here, about eight of us headed down to the Colombo Cricket Club to watch the Springboks play the All Blacks on the TV. It’s a fantastic club with some amazing memorabilia of all the cricket teams that have passed through there. Obviously, the less said about the result of that rugby game, the better!
The other major change from the UK has been the weather, where the warmth of Colombo has replaced the cold and wet of the UK. It’s pretty hot and humid here, but after spending so much time in Chennai during the IPL I feel like my body has become accustomed to that sort of weather. So, it hasn’t been a problem for me, although I think some of the other guys have struggled.
At the time of writing, we have one warm-up game against New Zealand under our belts. It was a good win for us and AB produced a really special innings. I was chuffed to be given a go at the top of the order, where I like to bat in Twenty20 cricket, and I feel like I was just about back to the form I had a couple of weeks ago, before my bad run. I got 24 from 20 balls and hit the ball really nicely – it was a step in the right direction, and now I’m just hoping to get a chance in the starting line-up for the tournament.
At this stage, I don’t know what Gary Kirsten is going to go for in terms of the team, although, if I was a betting man, I’d think that Hash will go at the top of the order as he’s in such amazing form. I think Kallis will also be there, so it could be between Richard Levi and myself for the other spot – I just don’t know. I’ve just got to keep working hard and putting myself in the picture.
Before I go, a quick word on that final T20 game against England, which we lost to draw the series 1-1. I’ve heard it said before, but now I know what it means to ‘have one foot on the plane’. If I’m completely honest, that was my assessment of our performance in that final game, and I think we were already thinking about the ICC World Twenty20.
It’s no excuse and we’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen again. But, if you’d said to me a couple of months ago that the Proteas would go to England, win the test series and draw the one-day and T20 series competitions, I think we would have taken that. So, all in all, an excellent few months in the UK.
Now we’ve got to produce something of a similar high quality if we are to return with the ICC World Twenty20 trophy. I hope to report back ext week on a solid start to our campaign.