A new chapter to start a busy year

Georgia Elwiss will be blogging exclusively for ecb.co.uk during England women’s tour of South Africa. In the first instalment she discusses new faces, altitude, and an unsuccessful wet weather contingency plan.

Hello from sunny South Africa, the destination for the first tour of a very busy 2016 for the England women’s cricket team.

With nine of the girls having been away since before Christmas playing in the Australian Women’s Big Bash League, pre-tour preparations back at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough were on the quiet side for a change – although this didn’t last long when we all met up at Heathrow on Monday to get this tour underway – lots of very excited faces and chatter!

Under new Head Coach Mark Robinson, assistant coach Ali Maiden, and Ian Salisbury who is helping out with coaching duties here in South Africa and for the ICC WT20 in India next month, the new chapter has officially begun.

The first couple of days on tour have probably been a bit strange for Robbo, as he has met several of the girls who have been playing in the WBBL for the first time. Pleasantries exchanged, he now has the pleasure (!) of getting to know us all a little bit better… Poor bloke!

This tour has started here in Potchefstroom, where we’ve had a great first few days training. Although apparently some of the girls are acclimatising to the heat and altitude better than others. One particular exchange with Katherine Brunt during a running session sums this up nicely:

Brunty: “Are you feeling the altitude…?”

Me (puffing and a little bit red in the face): “Yeah, the air feels pretty thin doesn’t here it?”

Brunty (sprinting off in the other direction): “Nah, I’m feeling fine actually.”

Thanks for the support Brunty!

Altitude aside, everyone is looking in good touch and we are all excited for what lies ahead.

On Tuesday evening, a few of us had the pleasure of attending an event at the British High Commission in Johannesburg. The event was about bringing together Britain and South Africa through sport and was held in the garden of a very large and lovely house (which I think belonged to the High Commissioner, Dame Judith McGregor).

Unsurprisingly, us English folk brought some bad weather with us and we ended up getting soaked as the “emergency wet weather contingency plans” didn’t quite come to fruition.

We are staying in a lovely, little family-run hotel just outside the main centre of Potchefstroom, which is great for the introverts amongst us. We have taken over the whole place and even managed to adopt the family’s dog Nina, who loves to play fetch so much that she brought her tennis ball into a team meeting just to see if anyone would throw it for her.

Those puppy eyes must get to our analyst Sykesy who has kindly (or foolishly) donated two of his tennis balls to her. She now waits outside his room every morning for playtime!

We have a final training session here tomorrow before we travel to Pretoria on Sunday where we play two warm up matches before the series kicks in. I will be back to report then!

Source: ECB

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