The season came to a close for us last Thursday in disappointing fashion.

I say it came to a close, but these days for Irish players there is no real close. The World Cup preparations actually started today when 13 of the lads boarded an emirates flight to Dubai before going on to Australia.

There are still county matches going on and I had commitments at the Oval this week so the rest of us fly on Monday.

Iíve said before what an important tour it is for us and although it has been a long, hard season in so many ways, Iím already looking forward to what is sure to be a very exciting winter culminating with the World cup in February/March next year.

Many of the squad that are travelling will not have played in Australia before so this experience will be invaluable and to be playing on the same grounds as next year makes it even better.

In the end our season turned out to be a bit of an anti climax, losing to Derby in the last game just added to that but in reality, the damage had already been done. The best we could hope for was to finish in fourth place, which, depending on results this week, may still happen.

We were put in to bat on day 1 against Derby on a very spicy Oval wicket and after getting bowled out for 180 odd in the first innings we never really recovered.

Our whole philosophy as a club this year was to see progress and for most of the summer that progress was evident.

Half way through the year we got on a roll and then with a few injuries we faded away but In Zafar Ansari, Rory Burns and Jason Roy we had three of our youngest batters score 1,000 first class runs. That in itself is an achievement.

Iíd be very surprised if all three of those guys and probably Matt Dunn werenít on the radar of the England selectors for a role within the Lions set up this winter. While the progress I have spoken about was important for this year, next year there can be little doubt that what is important is to get promotion. We spoke at length after the final game that next year is going to be very much one of no excuses and very clear objectives. I think the year we have had this time round will stand us in good stead. From my own point of view,

I guess the season turned tout to be very different than the one I had expected at the start of the season. Never did I dream that I would end up captaining the club and if you had offered me 850 first class runs at 45 Iím pretty sure I would have had your arm away with me. This year has seen two of the highlights of my career, the first being asked to captain Surrey, the second being awarded my County Cap.

Being Capped is a very prestigious thing and at Surrey it is notoriously hard so those two things coupled together have made it a year I can look back on and be proud of my personal achievements.

Of course when you are captain of a side the thing you strive for more than anything is the team to win a trophy or win promotion and there were nights where I dreamt of getting of those two things for our great club. Unfortunately it wasnít to be but one thing is for sure we will fight tooth and nail to make sure that next year is a great one.

For now though the focus is firmly on performing with Ireland. Out of the next six months I think we spend a total of six weeks where we arenít together as a squad. There is no doubt that we perform at our best when we have been together for long periods of time.

One of our greatest challenges during the summer months when we play teams at home is that we havenít been training together as a squad...This winter that will not be a problem.