Peter Johnston reports from UAE
March 6th 2013 by Pete Johnston | International
Today is our fourth day in Dubai and we have finished the first phase of our Camp at the ICC Global Cricket Academy. The first day was all about acclimatising and getting accustomed to the dry desert heat, so it was quite relaxed but involved a run around and a competitive game of touch rugby - as always.
The last few days have involved morning and afternoon sessions covering strength and conditioning (S&C), nets and fielding practice. The guys have been batting and bowling on the GCA’s Sub Continent type wickets. The GCA has a number of different soil types which are used to replicate pitches from all over the world. Simmo has made sure that batters have had plenty of time to sharpen up facing spin, as we know that when we travel to Sharjah for our World Cricket League Games against the UAE we will play on pitches devoid of grass and against a spin-heavy attack. Every player will have their own game plan before we play a game.
The facilities at the GCA are first class and it is always a pleasure to come and train here. The players have responded well to everything that has been asked of them and we are very pleased with the energy, work-rate and enthusiasm everyone has brought to the fielding sessions each day; our skills are definitely sharpening up.
Trent Johnston still belies his years by throwing himself around the field and hitting the stumps aplenty during practice. When your most senior player does that you know you have a seriously committed, competitive and focused squad. Four of our bowlers joined a UAE Board XI to play against Kenya today, also at the GCA. The game is still on going but it has meant vital overs under the belt for them.
The playing break we have had since the World Cup in Sri Lanka has allowed our S&C Coach Brendan Connor to really push the guys and I’ve no doubt they will reap the rewards of being in peak physical condition. We are also using new heart-rate monitors which give us live feedback and Work Load information for all of the players. This means we can monitor our training sessions and adjust them accordingly to improve performance on an individual basis.
The group was boosted by the arrival of Paul Stirling today who, after just a few hours sleep, was straight into a training session. Our manager Roy Torrens also joined us this morning and we are looking forward to Ed Joyce arriving tomorrow to complete the squad.
There will be further match practice when we play Canada in a 2-day game on Friday and Saturday at the GCA.