Ready to fly
Bumble's getting set to jet off to Australia - and is pleased to see England hitting the heights in the build-up.
Last Updated: 17/11/10 11:48am
Whatever happens in this five-match Ashes series, nobody can look back with hindsight and criticise the preparations.
England have been fabulous in the build-up. Andy Flower and his team have done everything they need to do to get themselves in the best shape for this series.
I like the decision to send the main bowlers to Brisbane, where it is stinking hot. Rather than being chilly in Tasmania, they'll be bowling in heat and that will give them the stamina they need. It's very easy for the bowlers to get drained.
And if anybody falls down or gets ill, then the other bowlers have been playing in the Australia A game. They've done well and will be ready if called upon.
With that in mind I'm surprised Eoin Morgan didn't play in the final warm-up game. There's always one casualty, so it wouldn't have been a bad idea to give him some time in the middle. It's not ideal preparation for him, but if he is needed I'm sure his character will see him through.
I thought the selectors were right into Morgan and I thought he might play in this series. But in a straight fight between him and Ian Bell, it's clear that Bell is winning right now.
And everybody is breathing a sigh of relief after Alastair Cook got a few runs. He looks okay and the team simply picks itself.
Australia still don't know who'll be in their side - the selection of a 17-man squad shows that - but they'll be as bullish as usual when it all starts.
There's no chance of complacency from England though. Things are shaping up nicely.
I fly out to Australia on Saturday and I've got a million and one things to do before then.
I've four more theatre shows to do, I've got to sort out a building project, I've got a ton of paperwork to get through and I've got to go and spend some time with the family before I leave. The family are scattered all over the place and I try to see them all before I go away for three months. And of course, it's always a wrench leaving the dogs behind.
Obviously, I need to leave all the Christmas presents, as well as something special for my daughter whose birthday is on Christmas Day. When I'm abroad I don't bother much with Christmas. Sky will put on a Christmas dinner and then I'll go off for a wander around on my own, down by the harbour or something. I choose to do it that way. It's nice.
I'll start packing on Saturday morning, just before the flight; a few clothes, the laptop to keep up to date with everything and some training gear. I'd like to lose a bit of weight while I'm out there.
My big dilemma is whether or not to take my golf clubs. I usually do because it's a good way to spend the down time, but I've got tennis elbow at the moment and it's excruciating. I'm not sure I can carry the things!
I am really looking forward to getting there. I've got plenty of mates in Australia, people I've met over the years, so I'll catch up with them and meeting up with the touring groups is always good.
And the cricket should be fantastic this year. The Ashes is a great series, an iconic series and I can't wait for them to get down to it.
At the moment we're seeing all of the sparring and posturing, but having been involved in it in the past I tend to ignore it. 'We're going to win 5-0' or 'your bowlers are no good...' I can't be bothered with all of that.
Bring on November 25. Let's get down to business.
I watched a fabulous interview with Keith Richards the other night, a proper rock star. The lads are on tour again, which is good to see. You're only young once.
But I must say I've been disappointed with the lack of groupies on the 'Start the Car' Tour. We've only got four dates left and I haven't seen a single one. I thought this was supposed to be rock 'n' roll!
Will we see any groupies in Australia with the Sky Sports boys? I couldn't possibly reveal anything of that nature.
All I'll say is: I'm ready to rock!