U19 Blog from Sri Lanka #1
Lyle Hill is currently part of the U19 squad currently touring in Sri Lanka. He sends us the first blog back from Colombo.
The team met at Glasgow Airport and were all excited for our tour to Sri Lanka in preparation for the upcoming season and the World Cup Qualifiers. The journey was long - but the Emirates planes provided a stunning selection of movies for all to enjoy. Notably, Nick Farrar chose to immerse himself in ‘Red Dawn’, a movie about North Korea invading America. Whilst being intellectually stimulating, it is needless to say this was not the favoured choice of the team as a whole.
In Dubai we were joined by Zander Muir, fresh faced from his time in Perth, Australia. Zander had been fortunate enough to enjoy the company of Marcus North on his flight to Dubai, and Marcus’ incredibly handy tip of ‘don’t cut” [the ball] has been observed by the lads in Sri Lanka.
We arrived early on the Friday morning in Sri Lanka and the muggy conditions were immediately evident. The ‘oven’-like weather meant that the following two weeks of cricket would be extremely challenging. Simon ‘Smudger’ Smith, the strength and conditioning coach, emphasised that ‘hydration is key’: unluckily, Andrew Umeed appeared to neglect this sage advice as he was the first of the tour party to fall ill… on the day we arrived. Nonetheless, the boys appear to have adjusted well to the unforgiving climate, performing admirably in the ‘pee test’.
Training started on Saturday at a nice ground in the centre of Colombo. This was supposed to be a chance to get some fielding under our belts in the outdoor conditions. However, somewhat hampered by the small matter of a first class game that was being played on the pitch, the outfield was unavailable. Alas, fielding was still the order of the day, as catching and ground fielding were tested with multiple drills. This was also a chance to get a quick bat and a bowl in the new conditions, as the keen Sri Lankan net bowlers provided a challenge. The following days training went along much the same lines.
Sri Lankan culture is undoubtedly different – the roads are chaotic and horns are used regularly. The boys have had fun getting rides in the ‘tuk-tuks’ and haggling down the cost: a good price is around 250 rupees for a journey, yet Abdul Sabri managed to get scammed into paying 1000 rupees - disappointing from a fellow west boy and he will be watched closely from now on. The transport system is less developed than ours and short journeys in terms of distance seem to take an eternity.
Today we played our first game out here. We bowled first and it was clear that the conditions - coupled with winter rustiness – led us to fall below our required standard. Nonetheless, there were spirited performances with the ball from Chayank ‘Cheeky’ Gosain (3 wickets), Neil Alexander (2) and Gavin Main (2). Unfortunately we could not chase down the oppositions total of 237 for 9, with too many sloppy wickets being thrown away.
Captain Ross McLean and Alex Baum’s innings were the highlights with the bat as we fell around 40 runs short. There were some positives to take from the game though, and we move forward into our match tomorrow with sore bodies but a feeling that we have moved past some of the rustiness that is always associated with a first game back.