Cricket Australia Items/Blogs/darren-lehmann/2013/7/30/we-need-to-take-control

Darren Lehmann

We need to take control

30 July 2013 5

It was nice to get away to Brighton’s pleasant seaside after an intense month of cricket.

Two hard warm-up matches followed by back-to-back Tests understandably drained the squad, so a low key hit-out against a solid opponent in a relaxed atmosphere was exactly what the doctor ordered.

The last month has also seen a change in the way we go about our cricket, from me as coach right through to the way we train and play.

The entire group, players and staff, have bought into everything we’re about, and despite the disappointing loss at Lord’s we are comfortable with where we’re heading.

We decided to split the squad for the Sussex tour match for a number of reasons.

The young guys in the squad were busting for an opportunity on tour, making the choice an easy one in that regard. I know when I was on tour with the former great Australian sides, the tour matches would be the ones you’d look forward to, ‘cause you knew you’d get a game!

We also gave the older guys a chance to refresh ahead of the Manchester Test, which is most important to the squad.

A couple of guys stayed in London and worked with our batting and fielding coach, making sure their technical maintenance is where it needs to be.

And finally, we rested a couple of bowlers due to the workload of consecutive Test matches to start the series. We’ve got a full squad to pick from for Old Trafford apart from the sad news surrounding James Pattinson’s injury.

The three-day game in Hove was highlighted by some good batting performances.

As a group we know we need to score more hundreds; it’s as simple as that. We need guys making runs and taking their chances when presented to them, as Steve Smith did and so too David Warner in South Africa.

We ticked off a lot of KPI’s as batters against Sussex, which got us a score on a good deck and a fast outfield. We now need to carry that into the Test matches, albeit against harder opposition, but we know the capabilities are there.

Looking ahead to Manchester we’ll need to be prepared for the wicket that will confront us. England has drafted in Monty Panesar into their squad, so they might well play two spinners.

We’ll have to look at our options closer to the game, getting the balance between youth and experience is crucial. The bottom line is we’re going to select the XI that we think has the best chance to win the Test match.

Our training has been impeccable, and we’re confident the group of men that takes the field on Thursday can get the job done.

The Old Trafford crowd will be boisterous, which is fine, our boys expect that.

While we were disappointed in the last Test match we want to show everyone, like we did at Trent Bridge, that we’ve come to play.

We just need to play the way we want to; be proactive, win the first session and take control of the game. We can’t control the past but what we can control is how we play and move forward.

It’s been fantastic to have the families around the last couple of weeks. They remind us that cricket is just a game, though they want the group to do well more than anyone.

We’ve had some great quiz nights run by our quizmaster Dr. Peter Brukner, who must think we’re all brain surgeons, putting in questions even he doesn’t know the answer to!

Ryan Harris had the gold Man of the Match jacket for his terrific display at Lord’s, taken off him by Steve Smith for his hundred in Hove.

The pink ‘one per centers’ jacket belongs to team masseuse/logistics man Grant Baldwin for keeping the boys ticking over and helping wherever he can around the squad. And some of the group had the pleasure of being invited to watch Brighton-Hove Albion FC take on Villa Real on Saturday night.

The evening was sensational and despite going down 3-1 I reckon Albion are certainties for promotion this season.  You can quote me on that.

Finally, the support both here in England and back home in Australia has continued to be fantastic.

The reports from ground staff, locals and the UK public have all been positive, mentioning the fun and enjoyment has returned to the Australian cricket team.

The spirit in the camp is very high, and it’s time for us to return the good favour with some performances on the field.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia. 

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.
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