Michael English - A blog from the U19 World Cup
Scotland U19 top order batsman Michael English gives us a blog from Dubai after Scotland’s two official warm up games against England and Afghanistan.
Since landing in Dubai everyone has had a great time, and we are all loving the experience.
We arrived at our hotel on the Marina on Saturday in high spirits, and were certainly not disheartened by the accommodation; luxury apartments overlooking the Palm and the Burj Al Arab.
Our first day was a relaxing one where we took some time to get our bearings around the place. On Sunday a training session was due to take place at the Sharjah Stadium, but unfortunately it was cancelled due to some early morning rain, so instead we had a team meeting in anticipation of our game against England the following day.
Our first match definitely wasn’t our greatest day at the office, as we seemed to show a lack of the infamous ‘Scottish heart’ as England rolled over us.
A disappointing bowling performance allowed them to reach 280, despite some strong fielding which has definitely improved in every game we have played. England came out to field and dominated early on, with none of our boys able to capitalise on some small starts, which was disappointing.
There is a lot going on in the apartments at night, with music, indoor cricket, regular Skype and Facetime sessions to loved ones back home, cooking and cleaning, not to mention team meetings or ICC events.
A few of us headed out on the Monday night to Nando’s on the Marina, which was an amazing experience to be on ground level surrounded by so many skyscrapers, bright lights and yachts.
An enjoyable training session took place the following day where all of the boys worked specifically on areas of our game that we felt needed improving, Wrighty [Craig Wright] was hurling the new ball down with the sidearm, while Juddy [Tony Judd] used all of his coaching experience implementing the left arm ‘chuck’ to put the batsmsen in trouble on more than one occasion.
Smudger [Simon Smith] worked tirelessly throwing balls for specific shots, as Sam Scott, our manager, kept on top of the logistical proceedings of the day, and not forgetting Mairi the physio, who had been giving more massages to aching body parts than I thought possible.
We were then off to the stunning new ICC Academy to attend an anti-doping seminar and to get our photo headshots for the tournament. A relaxing night ahead of our game against Afghanistan was needed, and all of us were tucked in bed pretty sharpish for an early rise the next day.
A focused drive to Abu Dhabi saw us arrive at the Sheikh Zayed complex where we would play Afghanistan. Winning the toss we chose to bat first, and started well.
From a comfortable position, the middle and lower order seemed to collapse under some tight bowling, causing us to fall way short of our targeted 225 to end up with just over 150. We knew we had to start well, and we were given 6 overs to bowl before the lunch break, which gave us a chance to hit them hard twice, which we duly did.
We claimed two wickets in the first six overs which had given us confidence going into the lunch break. However, an accomplished innings by one of their top order batsmen took the game away from us, as Afghanistan eventually achieved the total.
Unfortunately for us, we bowled a few too many loose deliveries which meant that we were not able to apply enough pressure throughout our opponent’s innings.
On the whole, it has been a tough yet eye-opening start for the boys, but we are confident ahead of Saturday's clash with Papa New Guinea. We will be looking for a strong performance to get us up and running!