Kevin O’Brien Blog Part 3
September 17th 2012 by Kevin O'Brien | Other
Kevin O’Brien’s third blog from Sri Lanka features the news of more warm up wins and a glitzy evening on the red carpet that saw the ICC Associate and Affiliate Cricketer of the year award deservedly go to an Irishman.
Blog 3 - Final Preparations
It’s just around the corner, the T20 World Cup is almost upon us. We kick off our tournament on Wednesday at 3:30pm local time at the Premadassa stadium in Colombo, against Australia. It has come up on us quicker than I thought it would. It only seems like a few days ago, we arrived in Sri Lanka for our training camp. Everything has being spot on since we got here. The boys have all worked hard, and we have played some very good cricket in our first 3 warm up games.
The most recent game, v Zimbabwe, at Moors Cricket Club, on Thursday was our most complete game so far. Having being put into bat, Purdy and Stirlo got the scoreboard moving, hitting 17 off the first over. It’s exactly how we want to play 20 over cricket. Aggressive, confident games plans that everyone of the 15 man squad members backs. We have a long batting line up, so our batters must feel confident to play their shots and pick the right ball to hit out of the ground.
Nobi and Joycey kept the scoreboard moving in the right direction during the middle overs, which allowed us to come home strongly in the last 4 overs, hitting 52 off the final 24 balls. A total of 181 was always going to be a tough chase, even allowing for the small boundaries at the compact ground. Boyd, with a wicket off his first ball, bowled a great spell, backed up well by Dockers (3/24) and Cusy (3/9). TJ and Murts bowled tidely and will be happy with their workout. It all resulted in a comprehensive victory by 52 runs.
Friday night after our afternoon training session, TJ, Simmo, Roy, and Billy (Craig McDermott) went to the Hall of Fame cocktail reception, where Brian Lara and Enid Bakewell were this years inductees to the prestigious list of past players. By all reports it was a great night at the event and one that I’m sure Brian and Enid won’t forget in a hurry.
Saturday, saw us train in the morning from 9-12:30 at Sanath Jayasuriya’s home club. We split up into 5 teams of 3 and played a round robin knockout tournament consisting of 3 over games. Andrew White was my team captain, and along with Nigel Jones we picked up the prize money of 15,000 rupees ($75) was a welcome break from the normality of training in the nets, and think it was well received by the whole squad.
On Saturday night we were off to the Waterside Edge hotel 15 minutes from our hotel for the Annual ICC awards. This year 4 of the Irish squad were nominated for the Associate and Affiliate Player of the year award. Along with myself, the other nominees were Ed Joyce, George Dockrell, and Paul Stirling and the sole Afghanistani player, was Dawlat Zadran. George Dockrell won the award after a fantastic season where he picked up 52 wickets.
Today we were down to train in the morning but some heavy rain just after we arrived put paid to anything we could get done. After the rain had cleared TJ, Pete, Max, and Nigel stayed behind and held a coaching session for some local kids.
Tomorrow we play Bangladesh at Moors Cricket Club. It will be a good test for us and a good indication of our improvement in the last few weeks. We have no reason to fear them and we are full of confidence.
With only 3 days to go before the Australia game on Wednesday, everyone in the squad can’t wait to get going. I’m sure there will be huge support for us out here in Colombo, and of course as always there will be many people glued to the TV screens at home.
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