20th January 2011

The tour may be almost three months old but management’s obsession with fielding drill remains undimmed. This morning our daily squabble over the Kellogg’s variety pack had barely died down before out came the training cones, and stomachs full of Sugar Puffs and Blueberry Pop Tarts found themselves lumbering round the figure of eight sprints deemed de rigueur for practising a catch off Mike Yardy’s bowling.

Now, call me old fashioned, but surely the three basic skills of fielding are chasing after the ball and either catching it or throwing it quickly and accurately towards the stumps. Which begs the question, why did I spend time today bunny hopping over a set of foot high plastic hurdles and weaving between a row of upright poles? Perhaps we’re behind the times in Yorkshire but the general consensus of opinion at Headingly is that when chasing the ball, you stick to a straight line and keep the animal impressions to an absolute minimum.

That’s an opinion I’d probably best keep to myself, as I’m not exactly teacher’s pet at the moment. My own fault, unfortunately. The fielding coach announced himself as our ‘movement choreographer’ this afternoon and I burst out laughing, in the process sending a half eaten segment of orange shooting out of my mouth and arching across the dressing room straight into one of the ice-baths. Apparently that’s an example of “closed mind, old school thinking.” As well as being a level two infringement of tour hygiene regulations.

Well, pardon me for being sceptical, but Douglas Jardine would’ve never asked Bill Bowes to “express your inner child through fluid, improvised swaying”. Not when he was preparing to field in front of a Hobart crowd more interested in beer than interpretive dance.

Perhaps I should learn to be more like Luke Wright? While the team tactics board gets increasingly covered in arrows and symbols – to the point it starts looking like the battle plan for Austerlitz – Luke just sits there making notes. At least management think he’s making notes, in reality he’s taking the opportunity to update his chart of WWE wrestling feuds.

That’s the secret to being a fixture in the one-day squad, I guess. Keep your head down and always finish your piece of fruit before being dragged away from the breakfast bar.

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