I thought retiring from international cricket meant it was time to relax and take it easy. How wrong was I?!
Following my final Test in Sydney I suited up in the orange for the Perth Scorchers, right the way to the BBL final where I even kept wicket!
Western Australian duties came next, falling just short of playing in the final in one of the closest seasons on record.
Two months in India for the IPL was next on the agenda where my Chennai Super Kings finished runners-up to the Mumbai Indians, the same team who recently took out the CLT20 title where I’ve just returned from after being knocked out by Shane Watson’s Rajasthan Royals.
Between CSK stints I did get to spend some quality family time for a couple of months and watch the cricket from the leisure of my couch instead of being out in the middle.
I certainly haven’t missed the pressure and the stress playing Test match cricket, though I’m feeling for the guys who have been going through some tough times of late.
That’s not to say I don’t miss certain parts of playing cricket for Australia.
The boys, the team, the contest out in the middle – things like that you’re always going to miss.
But the pressure, extra stress and expectation over an Ashes series – that stuff you don’t miss.
That time away from home was the major reason why I decided to retire and I’ve really enjoyed it.
Writing my autobiography, Underneath the Southern Cross, has also kept me busy, and I’m looking forward to its release.
It was great to reminisce over many fond memories over a long career, which now has me on a book tour over the next few weeks.
Having just come from India I know what Australia is in for over there.
Not only do you have to deal with the Indian team and playing conditions, but the people, food, heat all take time to adjust to.
From my experience it takes a few of times in India to get used to the conditions and it certainly took me a while.
For a batsman you’ve got understand that you’ll be scoring from different shots than you’re used to.
Australian grounds offer fast, bouncy pitches good for cutting and pulling, where Indian wickets require more deflections and glides.
Fortunately, a lot of the squad have IPL experience which will hold them in good stead.
I’m really looking forward to the summer ahead with the return Ashes, where I think Australia are going to give England a run for their money and hopefully reclaim that little urn.
I’ll be writing for cricket.com.au throughout the season, so stay tuned for my next instalment next week as we take a look at how Australia is fairing in the sub-continent.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.