R&R, new challenges, same goals
Apologies for the lack of communication – I took some time after the IPL final to head to the Seychelles with the missus. I’m a big believer in taking any opportunity to enjoy a break away from the game, particularly after an event as intense as the Indian Premier League. For me, it’s just as important as training, staying mentally fresh at all times.
So we got away and I hardly thought about cricket for six days. It was great, particularly with such a busy period coming up.
This week the focus is on the Cricket South Africa golf day and awards, and then we leave on the 12th of June for a mini-fitness camp and get-together at Arabella in the Cape for a few days. After that, we head to Zimbabwe on the 17th for that triangular T20 series, which also involves Bangladesh.
I’m really chuffed to have been included in the Proteas squad in that format of the game for the first time – it’s a nice reward for some good form in the IPL.
The start of July sees me leading the SA A side against Sri Lanka A in two four-day games and then we are back to Zim for more games there. So, while this is usually our off-season, it’s actually just as busy as if we were in the middle of a normal season. However, I’m looking forward to it and I’ve just had a nice rest. So, I’ve done my preparation. Of course, there’s a big test series coming up against England and while I’d love to be involved in it, I also know that what I’ve done well over the past couple of seasons is not look too far ahead.
Yes, I’m still interested in making a bid for that number six test batting spot, but I’m not going to put pressure on myself to perform. I’m going to take those four-day games against Sri Lanka A as they come and do my best to get some runs. Things will take care of themselves from there.
First up is that T20 triangular series, which is going to be great. I’m hoping for a batting role at the top of the order, because that is where I had success with the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL this year. But I also realise that I’ve given the national selectors options, as I can bat at the top and in the middle order. It’s a bit like being a utility back in rugby as I can bat anywhere from one to six.
I’ve also had time to reflect on my IPL season. You may think that I am disappointed that I didn’t play the last few games, including the final, which we lost to the Kolkata Knight Riders. The reality is that I’m one hundred per cent happy with how it went, particularly if you take into consideration the fact that last year I didn’t play a game.
Just looking at my performances (398 runs in 12 innings, 13th on the list of top run scorers, at a strike rate of 130.92), I couldn’t have asked for anything better, having been given the chance to open the batting and prove that I’m as good as Michael Hussey. Of course I would have preferred to have played in those final few games, but I know that I took my opportunity. So, I’m extremely happy with the IPL and how it went this season.
On top of that, it’s put me in the shop window with regards the South African T20 team, and I’ve been able to show that I can perform at that level, which has been backed up by my selection for the national T20 side. I have the IPL to thank for that.
Now I’m just happy to be home and have enjoyed settling back in, doing some basic chores, sorting out the house and spending some time with my dogs! Looks like they’ve missed me.
I’ll be in touch in the next week.