The England Women's cricket team are embarking on the first leg of a huge summer of cricket for them which includes the World Cup, the ICC World Twenty 20 and then The Ashes.
Cricket World was with them two weekends ago as they prepared in snowy England at Loughborough University at a 'boot camp' that included some activities that were definitely 'out of the comfort zone'. Captain Charlotte Edwards and Caroline Atkins told us then how valuable the preparations had been.
However, now the team is heading off to Australia and Caroline Atkins has just landed in Perth for some much needed aclimatisation (and sunshine) ahead of the first of the upcoming competitions, the World Cup.
The question we have to ask ourselves is...how does a world class Performance Squad get ready for the biggest competition in Women’s Cricket? Over to Caroline...
February 10th, 2009
Our World Cup squad includes 15 players, six of whom have been playing cricket in Australia since October and two more are heading to Sydney a couple of weeks ahead of the rest of the squad who arrive on 21st February. I’ve come to Perth first to fit in two club games.
My team-mate Jenny Gunn picked me up from Perth airport at 3am on 5th February – what a legend. I’ve pretty much given her jet lag too!
My first couple of days were mainly about trying to stay awake during daylight hours and sleep at night. On day one, I went for a walk in the ridiculous heat and used throw downs to help stay awake. Day two came after a restless night so I lasted about 20 minutes in the gym before retiring to the pool. I knew I wasn’t firing on all cylinders when I cooked that night and forgot to add half the ingredients.
|City scenery from my first day walk in Perth © Caroline Atkins
|Very excited about my first wok in a box for
a year - it's good fast food, made fresh in
front of you!
|© Caroline Atkins|
My main goal was to get some runs under my belt. I would have preferred to do this in spectacular fashion but instead managed 28 before missing a straight one. My new team-mates finished the job to earn us a comfortable victory. I was pleased to open my runs account down-under and grateful to have left behind those indoor scenario net arguments about how capable and where the cone fielder is. Just quietly, Nunny has the best cone fielders in the world, and Anya’s aren’t bad either…it must be a fast bowler's thing.
I have six days left in Perth, which will entail training in some serious heat and hopefully end in some big runs at the weekend before heading to Sydney.
Before I finish, I’d like to add how amazing I have found the Australian culture at dealing with the current flooding in Queensland and the devastating bushfires in Victoria. The news of these disasters is both harrowing and inspiring. I now feel quite ridiculous for fretting over getting my cricket bats in the snow last week. At the time, the possibility of the snow coming between me and my cricket bats seemed disastrous. I am still really excited about the World Cup, but also feeling very fortunate that that is the biggest thing on my mind at the moment.
Meanwhile, we can all help the victims of the Victorian bushfire by donating to the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal 2009.
© Cricket World 2009
Caroline made her England debut in the Ashes series in June 2001 and has to date played in seven Tests, 39 One Day Internationals and seven Twenty20 Internationals. Her ODI top score of 145 came when she shared a record opening stand of 268 with Sarah Taylor at Lord's.