Warmed up for the World Twenty20
Less than a year on and we are about to begin the defence of our ICC Women's World Twenty20 title . This time in the West Indies. We had quite a smooth journey to get here. We flew direct from Gatwick to Antigua, and then just had a short stop while they changed the crew and some passengers got off, then flew onto St Kitts. Much easier than the Aussies, who, I think, have taken four days to get here!
After returning from India, I went back to my day job - coaching cricket at Loughborough University and in schools with Chance to Shine. I ' ve obviously been training in the gym and the nets as well. The team met up for a few training session at various grounds after and then four days before we flew out, we all met up at the National Cricket Performance Centre and got in some final preparation and a practice match against the England Womens Academy team.
Its been good to arrive in St Kitts a few days early as we had three good days of middle practice, a day in the nets and the chance for a gym session and plenty of recovery. We won both our warm-up matches against India and Sri Lanka which has been a good boost for the team , as we head into the tournament with our first game on Wednesday against the Aussies.
There is some strong competition out here. New Zealand have given us a close run in the past and Australia are always tough. We can't dismiss any team really. India proved a tough opposition recently when we were over there and the West Indies beat us when we were out here before Christmas. With Twenty20 you can't write any team off , as it just takes one player to fire or someone to have a shocker to turn a game around very quickly.
The weather is hot and humid, we're all sweating quite a lot! I think most people have got over the jet lag, although we are still going to bed fairly early and getting up early, so maybe not over it as much as I thought. Since we were here a few months ago, things are not unfamiliar. But we've not been out that much, as we have been training hard and focusing on our cricket. We have had a few laughs with some of the locals though, and we have an amusing bus driver who gave us running commentary on the way to the ground yesterday.
Some of the girls have been keeping tabs on the election back in the UK. A couple of the girls are following things, I think, and some managed to vote by post before we came away. There are updates on the TV so no doubt we will keep up with what happens, although Election Day comes in the middle of the tournament, so we will be focusing on the cricket first and foremost.
We are staying at a really nice hotel, its massive and is housing all eight of the womens teams in the tournament. It is set up well with three swimming pools and is right on the beach, so great for the girls who like the sea, I'm more of a pool person myself though.
All right. Back to the cricket now. Wish us luck.
England bowler Nicky Shaw is part of the squad playing the World Twenty20 in West Indies