I’m now blogging from the beautiful, warm Barbados where we are in the final stages of preparation for the three match Test series against West Indies.
Our preparation has gone well, having won the tour match comfortably and all the Test players have had an opportunity to acclimatise and hone their skills over the past week.
We are very keen to continue the success of the summer and move up in the ICC Test Rankings but we know nothing short of an excellent performance here will help us do that.
We are expecting some really tough conditions, as we saw during the limited overs series – the pitches are shaved bare and will favour the spin bowlers towards the back end of the game.
Test cricket is all about ‘pressure’. Handling pressure and then applying pressure and if we are able to do this against the West Indies we are confident we can beat them.
In terms of our selection for the Tests we have built some real depth in our fast bowling department and five bowlers into three places is going to be tough because all of our bowlers deserve the opportunity to have first crack at the West Indies batsman.
Our top six picks itself and Matt Wade will make his Test debut. I am expecting big things of Nathan Lyon and looking forward to seeing him in action this series.
ODI series arm-wrestle
Reflecting on the ODI series; it was a keenly contested arm wrestle that finished 2-2, with one nail-bitting tie.
We’re disappointed with the overall result because we had numerous opportunities to close out the series, but to the credit of our opposition they played some outstanding cricket and look a young side on the rise which, looking at the crowds, has certainly excited the cricket-loving Caribbean public.
They have world-class players who are match changers. Keiron Pollard has improved out of sight and we saw first-hand just how destructive he can be. You then add a player like Sunil Narine, only 23 and with eight ODIs to his name, who I think will have a huge impact on world cricket and the West Indies have some excellent young talent.
They played with passion and enthusiasm not seen for a long time from a West Indies outfit and a clear example of that was their sensational fielding performance throughout the series.
For us, many of our players had their first taste of international cricket outside of Australia and they will be far better for the experience.
In the T20 series, we had two keenly contested matches with the series drawn at 1-1. We totally dominated in St Lucia and played almost the perfect game, our performance was ruthless and clinical.
Sadly, we played at nowhere near the same level in game two at Kensington Oval in Barbados and lost a close game.
Fielding was the key and the West Indies were, again, simply superb across the field without a weakness – the run out of David Warner is symbolic as it was the critical moment of the game.
We learnt a lot about our players and we will be in good shape for the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka later in the year.
Roll on the Tests! We’re looking forward to some great Australian performances.