Andrew Gale | 9:04am gmt 21 Feb 2008
Hope you enjoyed the first article and that it gave you a little bit of background about myself.
On the 11th of February I flew to India, Mohali to attend the Global Cricket Academy. I was there with all the Yorkshire batsmen and a couple of the spinners to get some pre-season batting under my belt.
I have been to India a couple of times before and find the country a great place in which to learn cricket. Yes, the food is difficult to eat day in day out, but Pizza Hut really was a life saver to most of the lads.
They have a real love for the game out there, every spare bit of land is covered by children and adults playing cricket. Young cricketers travel from miles around to bowl in the nets at us, you never hear a complaint about how long they have bowled for, they just thrive on cricket. The practice over there is very different to ours. You see a lot of children doing skill based drills such as replicating the forward defensive, playing the sweep shot. Children seem to have a great desire in India to work hard on their games without getting bored, I guess some see cricket as a way out of poverty and genuinely love the game.
While I was out there I was predominately working on batting against spin. In England mid summer on third and fourth day pitches the ball can turn big and it is tough to replicate that sort of practice but India offers the facilities to do so. I worked closely with our batting coach Kevin Sharpe and an Indian coach called Umesh on ways to defend and score against spin. We would work on drills that involved sweeping tennis balls, coming down the pitch and hitting small basketballs, manipulating spin off the back foot. We would then spend about an hour in the nets in the morning and an hour in the nets in the afternoon. Practice like this really is priceless at this time of the year and really helps to build confidence before the season.
Now that I am back it's back to the indoor school, not quite as glamorous as India but it will have to do. I will be continuing the fitness work with the squad, and prepare myself for the trip to Dubai on the 16th of March.