World Cups aren't won in October
Brisbane, Canberra, Hamilton and Christchurch. A long way to go for one innings but unfortunately for me that was my trip to Australia for acclimatisation.
We returned home on Saturday morning, battered and bruised and missing a few players. Our two leaders, top of that list. Phil had to return home to his native Trinidad to be with his ill mother, who had been taken in to hospital so our assistant coach, Pete Johnston took charge for the last game of the trip against Otago Volts. There arenít many people that work harder than Pete.
He combines two roles with the senior mens team, primarily Assistant Coach, he doubles up as our team Analyst as well. He prepares thoroughly for everything he does and Irish Cricket is firmly at the centre of his thoughts.
We came up against a familiar face when we played Otago, Jesse Ryder was lining up against us. A few of us played with Jesse when he played for Ireland back in 2007 and a number of us will have played against him this year when he was the overseas player for Essex in county cricket.
There arenít many guys in world cricket more talented than Jesse so itís a real shame for the game that he is currently out of International cricket. Brendan Mccullum did an interview the day before our game against Otago stating his desire to have Jesse back in his team and on the evidence he provided against us the next day it was clear to see why.
He can take the game away from you in the power play alone and in fact did so this year when I faced him for Surrey. Hereís hoping he can get his off field stuff ion order and get the opportunity to perform on the world stage next FebruaryÖ
Thankfully New Zealand arenít in our group so we wonít have to deal with him in our first six matches at least! Take his score of 140 out of the Otago total and things could have been very different. Unfortunately it doesnít quite work like that and although we lost our final game on the trip there were plenty of positives to take from that day.
It looked like we were down and out on several occasions and we kept dragging ourselves back into the game. If we had been more clinical in taking our chances we had a good chance of winning the game. In the end we lost by three wickets but still, a lot of good lessons learned.
When the chips are down and things are going against you, like they have done for most of this tour, you find out a lot about the character of players. One guy who impressed so much in the last week of the tour was Andy Mcbrine.
In fielding sessions he was the best by a mile, he would stay behind after practice and work on his batting and he would be the loudest voice of encouragement. That to me speaks louder than any score or bowling figures. It was no coincidence either, that he was our best bowler in both of the games at Lincoln Oval.
Things like that stand out so much. Itís easy to come to the end of a trip and look forward to getting homeÖespecially one where results and things havenít gone your way. He did the opposite and that is everything an Irish cricketer should stand for.
Lots of positives can be taken from the trip, not least the fact that so many young players played all eight games on tour. That's not to be underestimated.
They may have been practice games but they were still eight games in an Irish shirt and those guys will have learned a great deal. The tour may not have gone to plan but World Cup games arenít won in Ocotober.