There is just something so good about lying in your own bed drinking a cup of Yorkshire Tea. As I write this, I'm enjoying both for the first time in a month after landing from Jamaica this morning and a tedious journey through London rush hour traffic.
I said in my last column that we had an opportunity to create more great memories at Sabina Park, maybe I didn't realise quite how great an opportunity we would get! We won the first game on Wednesday, quite comfortably in the end. Ok, it went to the last over but in actual fact we were in control throughout the game, it certainly felt that way.
We bowled and fielded outstandingly and to restrict the World Champions to 116 was a magnificent effort. We were wary at half time that it was just that. Only half way through the game and we knew only too well what the West Indian's had in their armoury. It would be fair to say that we got off to a pretty horrific start and was in early with the score barely at 10 for the loss of our two destructive openers.
I had decided that after my lack of runs in Trinidad to be positive from the outset and to look to hit strong shots down the ground. I had made my way to 18 and with only two balls left in Badree's spell, decided that I wanted to look for a boundary as I felt he was the easiest for me to score off. I was out done by a nice piece of bowling, I advanced down and didn't pick his googly.
Would I have done it differently if I had to do it again? Yes and no. I believe that my mindset was correct, what I would have done differently is watch him harder for that variation. After working so hard to get the team back into a decent position I had now put them right back in a tricky one.
Thankfully Ed Joyce, who had been playing typically controlled fashion found a good ally in Andrew Poynter to build the partnership that effectively won the game for us. Having Ed back in the team is such a boost. He instills instant confidence and reassurance in the rest of the guys, simply by being out there.
After Kev hit the winning runs that day the first reaction was joy, to have beaten the world champions in there own back yard is a serious effort. Although we were obviously delighted with the win, almost immediately there was a sense of a job that was unfinished.
Suddenly we had a chance to win the series against the world champions...On a pitch that was going to suit us much more than them.
At half time in the second game we were in an even better position having been set just 97 to win. How we have managed to not chase that down is a mystery. It was a difficult pitch, no doubt but still, no excuses.
There are two ways to go about chasing down a total like that...You say just play normal cricket shots, take minimal risk and go for wickets in hand at the end. Even if you are 20-0 at the end of the power play, you still hold all the cards.
The other way is to go for it from the off...try to kill them before they get a chance. You could be 40-4 after the power play and you are still in poll position. Unfortunately we did neither. We played conservatively and constantly lost wickets throughout.
Bitterly disappointing. In any form of cricket the thing that hurts opposition teams is partnerships. If you can build a partnership with another batsman, even if you aren't scoring particularly freely at the start, it just becomes so much easier after a period of time. We just could not build one at all, thats where we lost the game.
What was particularly pleasing was that over the two games Alex Cusack was named man of the series. Thoroughly deserved as well and it was great that it was one of us that picked that picked up the accolade.
We never really got going in the One day game, again constantly losing wickets until I was joined by Stuart Thompson and we managed to build something to at least get us to something that we could try and defend. I believe we were only about 30 runs short on that pitch. Had they been chasing 235-240 it may have been a different story.
The way Stuart played was very pleasing. I've been very impressed with him throughout the trip and I genuinely believe we have found a proper player there. The more experience he gets, he will become even better.
From my own point of view it was pleasing to end the tour with runs in the international fixtures. I've said all along that we are building up to the World Cup and that's the way it is.
We'll enjoy a few days at home before heading to Dubai for a prep camp on Sunday. All in all I think the Caribbean was a successful trip and served as great preparation and match practice for Bangladesh.