Aussie men front up at fitness camp

Two-week camp begins at National Cricket Centre

Dave Middleton

02 June 2014, 06:37 PM

Darren Lehmann made good on his promise to work the Australia men's team hard during their intensive two-week fitness camp at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane.

It was a tired squad of players that retired to their accommodation after the first day of the two-week camp following a rigorous day of testing, screenings, drills and a punishing gym session.

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For several players, including Brad Haddin, it was a sharp return to action after enjoying a lengthy respite.

"It's a good way to wake everyone up after the break," said Haddin.

"It is the start of our whole campaign again. We've had a very successful 12 months and now we've seen areas we need to improve again.

"This gives us a kick start to what comes in front of us."

Haddin, who enjoyed one of the best summers of his career in the 2013-14 season, leading the Australian batting averages in the five-nil Ashes whitewash 493 runs at 61.62, took the opportunity of an extended leave period to spend time with his family.

"The break has been outstanding," said the 36-year-old wicketkeeper. "It was a long campaign with the Ashes straight to South Africa and the (Twenty20) world cup (in Bangladesh).

"I had zero to do with cricket, I did the school run, spent time with my kids and family. It was just great to get back to normal life."

Steve Smith could have been forgiven for wanting to be elsewhere –the opening day of the camp falling on his 25th birthday – but, fresh from an Indian Premier League stint with Rajasthan Royals, worked as hard as anyone.

Australia's Strength and Conditioning Coach Damian Mednis ran the players hard on the first day and the strict task master came away pleased with the results.

"I was actually quite impressed, they presented very well," said Mednis.

"I don't like singling out players but I thought Shane Watson was actually quite impressive today.

"You don't know what you're going to get after they've been in the (Indian Premier League) for eight weeks, and I really think they've presented very, very well, so I'm a happy man at this stage."

Mednis, the towering former Australian No.1 high jumper, has welcomed the first proper pre-season for the men's team in three years, and has a comprehensive programme planned.

"We can punch some very good work into them, we can get all our screenings done, physios can speak to them, podiatrists, psychologists, and I can have my little bit of input too and Boof has a couple of skills sessions," said Mednis.

"It's getting the guys together and getting their minds back on the job after what was a fantastic summer."