Christmas was certainly different to what I’m used to, no doubt about that.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but myself Harry Brook and Matthew Waite all agree that we much prefer this time of year spent in five degrees than 30.
Myself and Brooky went travelling up the East Coast and had a really good time with a few of the Glamorgan boys who were on the ICP Academy with us.
Myself and Brooky went up to Byron Bay on our own and met up with them on the Gold Coast on Christmas Day evening having had a BBQ at a friend’s Air BnB.
There was Connor Brown, Tom Cullen, and they met up with Aneurin Donald, who is out here playing some club cricket in Brisbane.
My parents then arrived in time for New Year and go back this weekend, so we all went and watched the fireworks. Brooky was with us and Waitey and Emily, his girlfriend, too. We found a spot in Pirrama Park a bit out of the city but with a decent view of the Harbour Bridge.
We ended up making pretty much a full day of it given we got there at 2pm ish thinking it would be really busy. In the end, it only started filling up at 10 or 11pm. The fireworks were great, and it was really good fun.
After a mid-season break for a few weeks, something we are not used to back home, the grade cricket season resumes this weekend. I had my first session back with Mosman on Tuesday.
It’s going to be a really important five or six weeks for all three of us given we have to make sure we’re in good shape when we return to Yorkshire. Yes, we want to try and help our clubs win some games, but we also have to be careful we don’t overdo things too much.
I spoke before Christmas about our hopes for maybe organising some net bowling with one of the Sydney Big Bash teams. But it didn’t end up happening. I don’t actually think that’s a bad thing in hindsight as I bowled quite a lot of overs leading up to Christmas, so a bit of rest was quite welcome.
Net bowling at the Thunder or the Sixers would have just increased volume and could have impacted on my fitness down the line.
All three of us are going to get back home a bit earlier than first planned. Our last game here is on February 16. We can’t play the week later because it’s a two-day game over the next two weekends, the 23rd and March 2.
So we’re now going to be back in the country around Feb 20/21. We’ll have around a fortnight with the lads before we go to South Africa on pre-season.
Coming back here in the future has already been mentioned.
Mosman have said they’d like to have me back at some point in the future, and I’ve loved it here too. They’re a great club. But I’m not sure whether that will be next winter or the one after.
If I did come back next winter, it would mean playing five seasons on the trot in England and Australia come our summer of 2020. That might be a bit much.
It might be worth having a winter off at the end of this year and then coming back to Sydney in 2020/21.
We didn’t manage to catch up with Joe Root during his time with the Thunder, although I did go to their game against Brisbane Heat the other night. And I have to say I have been underwhelmed with the Big Bash overall so far.
We’ve all been saying it, ‘The standard hasn’t been great across the board, runs haven’t come freely, the pitches haven’t been great’.
We actually think the standard of our Blast was better last summer for large parts.
Some people might see that as controversial, but I did hear Matthew Fisher talking on BBC Leeds saying pretty much the same thing.
The scores we were getting back home were a lot higher.
There’s been quite a lot of young players in the Big Bash this year, and I think you can tell. They are still finding their way. Even the big players haven’t really stood up. Look at Brendon McCullum. His fifty against the Thunder was his first real score.
I also went to day two of the Australia v India Test at the SCG last week, when Cheteshwar Pujara just missed out on his double century. Still, he has been fantastic throughout the series and showed his class.
The Aussies didn’t have an answer to him. Having said that, they didn’t really have an answer to anyone in the India side.
They’ve made some drastic changes to their batting order for the Sri Lanka series coming up, bringing in a 20-year-old in Will Pucovski and recalling Joe Burns and Matt Renshaw.
It seems the selectors have lost patience with the senior players like the Marsh brothers and Peter Handscomb.
The Australian public are quite happy to see changes, but it’s interesting that they’ve done this so close to an Ashes series.
It’s an important two-Test series coming up against Sri Lanka at the Gabba and Canberra. There’s certainly a lot of pressure on.
Ricky Ponting seems pretty fed up with it all. He was talking on commentary saying how spineless they were. But, from an English point of view, it’s good to see because we seem to have a pretty settled Test team at the minute.
I will finish by returning to Yorkshire matters.
If I could set out my perfect 2019, it would obviously involve silverware for the club.
I know a bit has already been spoken about in terms of our Championship side and being a few years off seriously challenging for the title.
But we definitely have enough quality to better last season’s near misses in the two white ball comps. We were a game away from the quarter-finals in the Blast and reached the semis in the one-day stuff, only to have a very unsettled team at the time due to international call-ups.
Personally, I’d like to be playing consistently in both white ball teams having played in a decent amount of the T20s last year.
Also, with my batting in red ball cricket, I averaged late 40s in the seconds, so I’m keen to build on that and continue the improvement I’ve felt in my bowling whilst I’ve been out here.
I’d love to be pushing towards the Championship squad. With that comes a second-team cap.
Basically, it’s just pushing up the ranks at the club and being consistent in all forms.
There’s going to be opportunities with players away with England.
Look at Dave Willey for example, he’s pretty much going to be away for the entire first half of the summer with England and at the IPL before the World Cup. We might see him for a week or two, but not much more I wouldn’t think. I’d love to be able to fill the gap he leaves.
By the time we next speak, I should have come up against Brooky and the University of NSW in a two-day game. That should be a lot of fun!