First defeat of the trip
Today was the third of our matches, a 50 over affair against an even stronger local side, but after seeing their Global Cricket School regalia, I guess that was to be expected. On the back of two wins, of course the European Academy team were quietly confident, but perhaps an air of fatigue hovered during the morning bus ride. The hard work that the players and coaches have put in over the last week in the sweltering heat has started to take its toll.
Irishman James Shannon took the rein for this match taking over the captaincy from Tim Gruijters, and much to the delight of the team won the toss, deciding to bat first. However, after some impressive bowling and somewhat dubious shot-selection, we found ourselves in a less-than-ideal situation. Skipper Shannon stood up though, holding the middle of the innings together with a fine knock of 50 odd. After an admittedly rare quick half-century from myself, the European Academy crawled to just over 200, until I was caught on the boundary after the fielder's 7th fumble of the catch.
Although the match was by no means lost at that stage, it quickly was as they stormed nonchalantly to their target with some supreme batting. Of course, full credit goes to a very impressive local side, but the exhaustion of the players was noticeable, meaning that the elusive position of 12th man in the shade of the pavilion became gold dust. Several of the players we played against had represented Mumbai and the state of Maharashtra.
With the departure of Gordon Lord came the hotly anticipated arrival of Sports Psych Joce Brooks. She, like Lordy, has been holding one-to-one discussions to analyse the mental aspects of our game. This area of the game is one that we aren’t heavily exposed too back in our own countries.
The evening was not spent in its usual fashion at the buffet, but instead we went to the Hard Rock Cafe- a welcome diet change. After a hearty burger, a staff performance (not the European Academy coaching team I’d like to add) of the YMCA and DiGiglio's complaints about the spiciness of the chicken wings, we collapsed in front of India's channel dedicated solely to cricket.