We now have both the Australian Men’s and Women’s teams in England.
The Men’s team is staying in Newcastle just up the road from the fourth Test in Chester Le Street. Obviously the team was very disappointed with the result at Old Trafford as there was a feeling amongst the group that if the weather hadn’t intervened that a result was likely.
There has been a lot of commentary on the pros and cons of DRS during this Ashes Series. Firstly, technology is a part of life today and it is not going to go away, which means we need to make sure the processes are well understood. Secondly, information is used to help decision making but ultimately it comes down to human element to make the decision and as long as the process has been clear that is all players can ask for. With tough calls you do feel for the player, obviously Usman got a tough call and with all the scrutiny that happens over performance it is important sometimes to look through the averages.
Also in this time zone is the Australia A squad in South Africa. They have now completed the first class matches and are playing five one-day matches against the South African A and Indian A teams. We won the first match against South Africa by 3 wickets. There were some positive performances with the bat by Shaun Marsh, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Aaron Finch. Moises Henriques also stepped up with the ball and performances in this team will be looked at closely by the NSP when choosing the ODI and T20 squad for England. This side will be selected following the final Australia A match in South Africa.
The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars have joined the men in England and have got their Ashes tour off to great start with a 116 run win over England A. Meg Lanning scored a ton and it was great to see Ellyse Perry back bowling following her surgery. Our medical staff and Ellyse have worked very hard to get her to a position to be fit for this Ashes Series.
This Series will be the first time the Women’s Ashes is decided by results over three forms of the game. Each format is weighted differently and with the Test match worth the most points, a good performance at Wormsley Cricket Ground would be a great start to retaining the Ashes.
Our AIS scholars are in their final weeks of the program and will return to their States shortly to resume training. A few of the players have spent some time away from training at the Wonder Factory at the Brisbane Children’s Hospital. The players really enjoy their time playing video games and cricket with the children and take a lot out of these visits. It is fantastic for them to see how one small visit can really make an impact and bring a smile to a child’s face.
Personal development of our young players is vital to their development as professional cricketers and throughout the AIS program every Wednesday has been a dedicated non-cricket day where players take part in activities such as education sessions, media training and charity work.
George Bailey, Clint McKay and Xavier Doherty have been taking advantage of the COE each Monday and Tuesday for the past few weeks and this week have been joined by 16-year-old Jake Doran, our COE development scholar and a member of the Under 19 side.
Let’s hope the sun shines in Durham and Wormsley for the next week and we have a couple of good cricket matches.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia