Welcome to Mike On Tour for this week. I wanted to talk you through this extended Test build up, which has been slightly different to the norm.
It's a busy time, leading up to a Test match. We've had a number of follow-up meetings with the players both individually and in small groups this week, just to throw around some of the information that we gathered from the first Test.
Sure, we learned a lot about our opposition in the first Test, but we try to base the majority of discussions on what we do - that's our primary focus. What did we learn about was how to play on the surface, how do our game plans adapt to be successful in these conditions and what we need to modify. There was a lot of really good information from that first Test, but it all depends on what kind of surface we get confronted with in Dhaka, and how we are able to adapt to that.
When I get to the ground, I try not to look at the pitch too early as the characteristics can change so quickly with the heat that firming up a view too soon can cloud your judgement. Assistant Coach Bob Carter is also a good judge of surface so having experience around always provides a variety of views.
I always find it useful seeing how much the pitch changes between two days out and a day out, as you get an understanding about how the pitch might change during throughout the test match. The day before the Test is when you gather most of your information about what you might do in terms of the make up of the side and or decision around the toss.
We try to let the guys know the team the night before or prior to our last training so they can be clear about what's happening well in advance, however sometimes the information we have on the surface, or injuries don't allow that.
There's been a few questions on the three rest days we spent in the hotel in Dhaka for the local EID religious holiday. After five pretty hot days in Chittagong the chance to have a couple of days rest and recovery was very important. The other side of that is that in a playing phase it's difficult to do a lot of strength and conditioning work, so we were able to use this window to get plenty of that completed. Strength and Conditioning Coach Chris Donaldson was in his element.
When we're hotel-bound here, the gym is a little haven really, and the guys have been keen to get in amongst it. The break is what it is. We've known about it and planned to use those days as best we can, and we just got on with it.
I can assure you once the EID break was over all of the lads, support staff included, were excited about getting on the bus to get to training. Unfortunately the ground staff at our training venue obviously had a great holiday and forgot about putting in some work at the training facilities. Thankfully they were better the following day!
That's it for this week. Thanks for reading, and enjoy the second Test.