January 30, 2008

Jet lag, warm-ups, new dance moves

Charlotte Edwards
A week into our tour of Australia, we've had two defeats, but we're looking on the bright side, and especially to the Twenty20 at the MCG



England at work during their hard weekend of training © ECB

Having been in Australia a week and played two warm-up games and lost them both, it's not been a great start to our tour over here. It's not ideal, but we're confident that a big score is around the corner for a few of our batters, and our bowling and fielding is improving with every game.

We had only been in the country for about 48 hours when we played our first game against Victoria Spirit, and we batted first and got 137. All credit to Victoria, who bowled and fielded exceptionally well, then knocked the required runs off very easily, losing just one wicket to Jenny Gunn. I was obviously disappointed, but I was well aware that it was our first game on grass for six months and we were all acclimatising.

After a hard weekend of training, and Australia Day on Saturday, when we also celebrated Laney's (Mark Lane, assistant coach) 40th birthday, we were geared up to face Australia Under-21s on Monday.

We restricted them to 214, which I was happy about because it was a good pitch and a very quick outfield. The pick of the bowlers was Steph Davies, who took 2 for 28 and bowled really tightly without showing any sign of nerves, in only her second England match. I was also really pleased with Laura Marsh's offspin. She and Steph managed to keep the run-rate down, which was pleasing.

A lot of our top order got starts but didn't go on, which is disappointing and is something we need to address before the next game. But it's still very early days in the tour and I'm confident we'll put it right before the series starts on Friday.

The Shooting Stars (Australia U-21) were a really good side and I'm sure many of them will be playing for the full Australian team in the near future. It's good to see what players they've got coming through ahead of the World Cup over here next year.

Looking ahead to the Twenty20, which we're playing at the MCG on Friday, the girls are all really excited about playing at such a fantastic venue and especially in front of what could be a decent crowd. We're playing ahead of the Australia v India men's match, so there could potentially be a huge attendance, which would be great for the women's game.

Twenty20 has had a massive impact on the women's game, encouraging more people to watch it and for the players to express themselves more. It's also made players realise what they can achieve, which can only benefit the game. I think that filters through into the men's game too, and that's obvious from the developments the format has made since it started.

 
 
Cricket aside, the jet lag is well out of the way and we've all stopped waking up at four o'clock in the morning. Dance-wise, Sarah Taylor's turned into my choreographer and is trying to teach me some new moves, because the girls are all bored of my shoulder shimmy!
 

I think it's great that Channel 9 are putting on a highlights package of our game. We're very lucky in England, with two games televised live on Sky Sports every summer, and it's great that Australia are now starting to get the exposure they deserve.

We all know that playing Australia on home soil is always tough and that's been proven in these past couple of matches. We're not currently up to the standard that we'd like, but we're aware that we're going to be judged on our performances from Friday onwards. We know we need to work extra hard over the next four days, because to have any chance of beating Australia we know we have to be playing at our absolute best.

Cricket aside, the jet lag is well out of the way and we've all stopped waking up at four o'clock in the morning. Dance-wise, Sarah Taylor's turned into my choreographer and is trying to teach me some new moves, because the girls are all bored of my shoulder shimmy! I've been practising Sarah's moves in the lounge of our apartment, which is fantastic accommodation in central Melbourne. The team CD has provided me with my backing tracks, but I'm not sure of some of the songs, like the Timbaland ones - I think I'm getting old!

Everyone's been really friendly over here so far, especially one taxi driver who gave me a guided tour of Melbourne and a quick lesson in what cricket actually is, as if I didn't know, which was very funny. He took me past the MCG as part of my tour and we realised just how exciting it will be to play there on Friday.

Charlotte Edwards' Ashes tour diary will be published weekly on Cricinfo