Yesterday ended up being a very good day. After the gym session in the morning, we had our first cricket session at Panchkula in Chandigarh. It was pretty hot and humid – a bit like Darwin weather in February. Very well set up with a large secured area set aside for the players to prepare, half a dozen practice nets and a well kept ground. I could easily see AFL played in this environment.
Spent a fair bit of time talking with the coach – Balwinder Singh Sandu – on the bus to training about a number of things including setting up the program for the days ahead. He seems very organised and switched on to what is going on around him. He played test cricket for India and has been coaching for many years. He did a Level 3 course for cricket in Australia and is very keen on coach education here in India.
When we arrived at the ground, the coach and I went out onto the pitch. He showed me how to assess a wicket for moisture – and the ground at Chandigarh was too moist to play on in the next 24 hours. This effetively ruled out any optin of playing a practice game here the following day.
Playing a practice game is important for the guys as pretty much all of the players have not played a game of cricket for a month. They were like kids when they saw the nets – plus they had new kit such as pads, bats and balls in their bags.
The warm up was a bit different to what they were used to. I gave them a short dynamic warm up of about 10 minutes. Gradually increasing intensity with general movements going up to specific movements. Then broke the players into two group – the bowlers stayed with me to do more speed based warm up and the batsmen went with the captain Habib (ul Bashar) for throwing warm up.
Then training was on with specific throwing work, batting and bowling work. I moved around the groups taking in as much as possible, listening to comments on technique, body position, footwork and so on. It is amazing how much more one listens when they are actually involved! I took some photos of the session – mainly as a bit of a visual record but also because I need to upskill myself on the biomechanics and pysical requirements for 20/20 as quickly as possible. Overall the session was not too hard. It went for about 80 minutes including warm up. Probably the hardest part of the session was the humidity and heat which fortunately dropped as the session wore on. At the end of the session the players had a 7v7 game of soccer and then we did a 10 minute warm down and static stretch. There was plenty of food prepared as a snack after the session and the players ate pasta, bread and had plenty to drink. You can see that they have been well schooled in training and recovery – most of their fitness coaches have been Australians.
By the time we got on the bus, the afternoon storm was about to hit. Nothing like the rain of yesterday, but a wet drive home. At one stage the bus driver took a one way, three lane road, wrong turn!! No one seemed to even notice except for the coach and I. He just kept driving along weaving in and out of oncoming traffic and at his first opportunity moved across to the three lane road that he was supposd to be on.
When we got back I told the players to meet me at the pool for a recovery session. Again, they are all pretty well drilled in this stuff although they are not too keen on the concept of ice baths. I am going to enjoy that! Pool recovery went for about 15 minutes.
On my way back to the room I ran into two big blokes. It just happened to be Leroy Lobo (our team physiotherapist) and Mitch Sturt (our team massage therapist). I am so pleased that they have finally arrived. I took them over to introduce them to the players. The look on the players faces was priceless – Leroy is a fairly solid bloke but Mitch, for them especially, is massive. And it is all muscle. I could see that the concept of a relaxing massage evaporated in their minds instantly. It was a case of goodbye Heidi and hello Sven!
Had a long chat with Leroy and Mitch to bring them up to speed on what has been happening and listen to their story of a very long flight with an overnight stay in Delhi. After they had setled in, the three of us decided to roll the dice on eating in one of the hotel restaurants for dinner. We have three choices here – one is buffet, another is Chinese and the third is Indian. Well, when in India do as the Indians do – which was a bit of a worry really because the restaurant was basically empty. Anyway we dived into it and as I type this several hours later, I am well and truly ok. Quinn 1: Bacteria 0 in this 60 day tournament of nutritional roulette.
The food was the best Indian food I have ever had – which when you think about it is fair enough. I mean if the Indian chef can’t cook Indian food……..
So after a long day which developed very well, it was time to call it a day. Tomorrow I am taking the players for a speed/agility session on the lawns outside my room. Then we are back to the grounds for another cricket skills session. Yes, it seems as if everything is going to work out just fine. As I go to bed, I thought to myself that we have settled in well.