BEST PREPARATION possible
I think the perception of other countries at a World Cup will be you’ve always got to be worried about an Australian side.
In the last couple months, trying to whittle down 20-odd players to a squad of 15 was really hard. We had so many players firing and in form. In the end, we came up with a great squad and in a way you’re fortunate to be in the position to leave out some really good players.
Coming off the back of a big Indian series and then a 5-0 win over Pakistan, I think everyone feels like they know their roles, they’re in good form and now they’ve just gone out and relaxed and tried to showcase their skills. I think we’re wary about every side around the world. But we’ve come into this tournament with the best preparation we could have.
I’m keen to experience another World Cup. The dream scenario of a home World Cup last time, and to win it in front of a packed house at the MCG, that’s probably my greatest cricketing highlight even though I wasn’t playing that final, I was running drinks. It’s such a great event to be part of.
I just remember being a young guy at my first real big ODI tournament. I thought, ‘How cool is this, the whole world is watching. Even though I’m running drinks, I’m going to be with this team for the next 10 weeks’.
I remember it being not just a successful 10 weeks, but probably the best 10 weeks of my life. Travelling around Australia and New Zealand. Enjoying each other’s company, playing cricket. It was great.
There are six or seven us going around again in this World Cup. While we lost a lot of experience after that World Cup, now a lot of us have played 50 to 100 games, whereas before the last World Cup we might have only been sitting at 20 or 30 games.
We’ve got batsmen who have scored lots of ODI runs. We’ve got Starcy, who was player of the tournament last time. The only other side with ex-World Cup winners in it is India, with two. So we’re pretty lucky to have those resources.
In 2015, I went to the Ashes as a replacement player for Ryan Harris. Before I got called up, I remember reading the papers and watching the news back here in Australia and feeling incredibly nervous for the guys over there.
I got the late call-up the night before the first game and when I got there it struck me how calm everyone was and just focused.
It was a really good series. Unfortunately, we didn’t get up in that one, but I was obviously enjoying my time and thinking this is what it’s about: Test cricket, Ashes series. Hopefully I can play in it one day. Then getting a chance in the home series here last summer was obviously brilliant, getting up 4-0.
What you notice most is the support from everyone. You drive to a ground in the morning and see thousands of Aussie shirts. So many passionate people. Whether they’re cricket lovers or not, when it comes to an Ashes series it seems everyone is focused on it. It will be great to be in the thick of it then and I can’t wait to try to bring it home.
We won’t have the same level of support as we do at home. But I know a couple of Aussie fans with Yorkshire accents who will help us along. Becky is from England. We met about six years ago when she was travelling here and she came back soon after.
Her parents weren’t into cricket that much until we met but now they have their Aussie jerseys, wear their bright yellow, and they support us. Becky’s dad loves the big yellow floppy hat. He gets a lot of comments on that in his home town.
BECOMING A LEADER
This time I’m going to England as a leader, with more going on, especially off the field. Previously I just worried about the cricket side of things and my game. Now, being vice-captain and one of the more senior guys, as opposed to the young, wide-eyed 18-year-old, there’s a little bit more expectation.
I’ve enjoyed the vice-captaincy. You try and help out the captain and the coach and just concentrate on your core skills. I’m happy in that role. As a captain, I think I’ve got so much to learn and plenty to get better at. I feel like there are other guys who are already doing a great job.
David Warner and Steve Smith coming back in has felt really normal. I’ve seen them around quite a bit, whether it’s been at New South Wales training or out for a coffee or beer. We know how good they are.
I don’t really hold any great ambitions to be captain. In the future, if it came up potentially, but at the moment I don’t think I’d make a very good captain. I’m always cooked bowling and I can’t concentrate on too much else at that time.
I think it comes down to personalities and how you can manage it. I think for me, trying to score runs, bat number eight and then try to bowl a lot, there’s a lot of days in Test cricket when I’m exhausted.
You walk off the field and get your head around batting. I’m sure there are other bowlers who can manage the load a little bit better than I do.
But there are a lot of 40-degree days out there when I’ve bowled 20 overs and I’m trying to hide down at fine leg and get a drink.