Our final day of training was held at the beautiful Sydney Showground Stadium on Monday.
It is a sweltering day, but the feeling in the camp is positive. There is a sense that we have nothing to lose. We also know that the wicket is more familiar, as is the opposition.
The coaches hold a short, sharp fielding session. The players move around in the circuit alternating between high and flat catches, short ground fielding, and boundary fielding. The inner circle then does a short simulation exercise in which our video analyst hits balls towards mid-off, extra cover, cover, and point. The beautiful turf of the Showground invites the dive.
The top six batters then have a long session in the nets. The bowling in each net simulates Pakistan’s likely bowling line-up and order, as on display against South Africa.
The batters practice working the ball around, and hitting inside out. They appear more comfortable with the pace of the practice nets. The slowness and the way the ball sits up helps the batsmen sit back and pull or cut.
Chanida is bowling accurately and swinging the ball miles. A small correction in the way she grips the ball seems to help. She seems to have found her mojo.
At the end of the session, Dr. Ramprasad Vinod, the renowned yoga guru from Pune, joins the team for a 15-minute session. The players have worked with him before.
He advises the players to think proactively rather than reactively. He urges the players to be aware of their breathing in between balls as a way of switching off from outcome of the previous ball and then looking towards the next ball. He then leads a short exercise in which the players stretch their arms upward and face towards the sky whilst keeping their feet firmly on the ground.
It is a way of channelling aligning ones physical movement and mental focus towards the idea of reaching ones potential while remaining aware of ones limitations.
It is a positive way to end the training session.
In the evening, we head out to the Thai Consul-General’s official residence in Mosman, where we are treated to a traditional Thai dinner including som tam and khao niao.
Wongpaka Liengpraset and Chanida Sutthiruang the audience with a song and dance performance for the ages!
Meanwhile I interview ace opener and Emerging Cricket Ambassador Natthakan Chantham.