Grant Bradburn's Blog from Abu Dhabi
Scotland coach Grant Bradburn has sent back a blog from the heat of Abu Dhabi as the team get ready for Hong Kong.
The Scotland squad are relishing the opportunity to train outdoors again in the heat of Abu Dhabi as we prepare for a busy first quarter of 2016, including some incredibly important series highlighted by the T20 World Cup in India.
As coach I couldn't be happier with the winter preparation and the progress the whole squad continues to make. We are determined as a group to continue pushing forward to develop skills that enable us to compete and win on the world stage. Everyone was able to see the standards required at the Cricket World Cup in February, and my job as Head Coach has been made easier by this group of players embracing the skills and physical developments we needed to make.
Our trainer Simon Smith has brought a fresh but demanding off-season, which has included Pilates, Hot Yoga and Boxing alongside individual strength and conditioning sessions, plus our batting and bowling skills.
The players we have based in Scotland have embraced the tough challenge, while the players based in the Counties have also worked extremely hard to be fitter, stronger and faster than ever before.
It is always an exciting time when the full squad comes back together as we did last week before departing for our camp in Abu Dhabi. For me it is a real privilege to see the strong bond of friendships rekindle and to feel the powerful spirit amongst the group, all very proud to represent their nation.
Players are always fitness tested prior to leaving on tour, so this always creates an air of nervous anxiety. Napier University was the venue for testing last Friday with some outstanding results particularly in the power elements, which have been a big focus over the off season.
Following testing the players and staff were able to relax and enjoy dinner together, before our departure to Abu Dhabi. As there are precious few opportunities to come together as a team, it was nice to take an opportunity to reflect and acknowledge some team and individual performances from 2015, before we embark on a busy New Year. All current players and staff were asked to cast votes for the Fielder, Batsmen and Bowler of the Year. With Players only, having the opportunity to vote on the most prestigious of awards - The Players Player of the Year.
Players acknowledged for outstanding individual contributions in 2015 were:
Fielder of The Year - Richard Berrington
Bowler of The Year - Alasdair Evans
Batsman of The Year - Kyle Coetzer
Hamish More Award - Batsmen of The Year - Kyle Coetzer
Players Player of the Year - Kyle Coetzer.
ShirtbyHand kindly donated a gift to all winners, which was really well received and appreciated by all.
We are now three days into our camp in Abu Dhabi with an initial focus on White Ball skills now tucked away. As expected players have found it tough adjusting to a demanding full programme of training back on grass in 25 degree heat.
As always, I am hugely impressed with this group and the way they embrace the tough physical nature of our training program. Fielding and fitness are such crucial elements of performing our skills consistently under fatigue in pressure environments and our training schedule, here will simulate many aspects of the tough competition ahead.
As a group we are fiercely focused on our first challenge of Hong Kong in a week's time. We have respect for Hong Kong as a strong fellow associate, but our team are confident in our skills and will be well prepared by the time we hit game one. Our preparation for conquering Hong Kong has already begun with Toby Bailey our analyst having provided each player detailed analysis of our opposition. Our team preparation here will switch to red ball tomorrow as we bring the I-Cup 4 Day game into our sights.
The group have had two birthdays to celebrate over the past two days with Physio Mairi MacPhail and fast bowler Alasdair Evans both becoming a year wiser. For Ali the chance to spend his birthday training hard in the UAE heat, may not be his first choice, however as always he embraced a tough physical day alongside his team mates with his usual quality humor.
We all hope the floods that have effected many parts of Scotland have eased over the past few days of clearer weather and those towns effected (including some of player's home towns) have been able to resume normality.
We thank the support we continue to receive from all parts of Scotland and the globe and we look forward to keeping you in touch with news from the Scotland team.