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Sun, surf - and a snake!

It’s been a relaxing week in Australia following the first test in Brisbane, which ended in a draw and was quite exhausting, with us spending most of the last few days in the field. Some time away from cricket was exactly what we needed, and fortunately we got that.

As mentioned last week, a group of us jumped into two mini-buses and headed to the Sunshine Coast for a bit of sun and relaxation. The group consisted of Smith (plus wife, baby and nanny), Kallis, Steyn, Morkel, Duminy (plus wife), De Villiers, fitness coach Rob Walter, and myself and my girlfriend. Good thing that Graeme had all that support with him, as he was the ‘Dad’ of the party and the main driver of one of the mini-buses.

So, the day after the Brisbane test ended, we headed off about 90 minutes’ drive away to the Sunshine Coast, which is a beautiful strip of coastline and reminded me a lot of Camps Bay in Cape Town, but maybe not as upmarket. But, quite similar, with the cafes, restaurants and beach all close to each other.

As predicted, Kallis and Walter played golf just about every day, whilst the rest of us focused on relaxing on the beach. I think it was also good for JP to be along on the trip, with Sue, to help him get his mind off being ruled out of cricket for six months or so. He was on crutches, but took part in just about everything he could. I just think it was good for him to be around people, and people who are close to him, as opposed to being on his own with just his own thoughts. We didn’t chat about me possibly replacing him in the second test, but what we did talk about is how he has the opportunity now to spend some time with his family in Cape Town, which he hasn’t had much of in the last few years.

The highlight of the trip for me was learning how to surf. It’s something I’d always wanted to do and thought I’d be quite good at. Sadly, I wasn’t as naturally suited to surfing as I thought, but I still had a great time. I unfortunately missed the main lesson, which the other guys took, and arrived about an hour after them. I asked for a few pointers, but the guys were just too tired to help out. So, I was pretty much on my own and I think I only managed to get up once in an hour or so and ride a wave. But, it was great fun, whilst being one of the toughest things I’ve ever tried. I’ll definitely be looking for another opportunity to surf in the future.

On our final day, we all headed off to the Australia Zoo, which was very impressive and was home to the late Steve Irwin, that nutty Australian guy who just loved animals. There was some media there, but we didn’t mind too much, as the organisers brought out some animals for a photo opportunity. Those animals included a koala bear, an alligator and one of the biggest snakes I’ve ever seen. It was a great day out. After that, myself and the missus headed back to the airport in Brisbane, as she had to fly back to South Africa, whilst the rest of the guys stayed on.

Now we’re in Adelaide and focusing on the second test, where I’m hoping to get the opportunity to make my test debut, in place of the injured JP. I’ve been working really hard and should the chance come, I’ll be ready. I’ve put in a lot of hard work over the past few years and it would be great to get that reward. This week has had a different feeling about it – it’s been different from preparing for a one-day series, maybe because I know there’s a chance of me playing. Either way, it’s a lot more intense and test cricket is serious business – proper cricket!

I’m enjoying it immensely, though, and hope to get a proper taste of test cricket.

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