England's bond theme
Ryan Sidebottom says England's squad are getting along very nicely at the start of their tough tour of India.
By Ryan Sidebottom
Last Updated: 13/11/08 7:50am
We've been in India for nearly a week now and I'm feeling pretty good and am working through my calf strain.
I won't be fit for Friday's game but I'm building up to bowling at full pace and can happily say I'm well on the road to recovery.
Its frustrating but I've just got to keep going, get fit and put myself in the picture for selection.
I've been trying some other technical things when I bowl which you wouldn't normally get to do if you were just running in at full whack - so I'm using my time as creatively as possible.
This goes alongside the fitness programmes that we all receive - I said last week that I'd worked incredibly hard at the end of the English season and toned up some more. So I should feel the benefit in the heat of India!
We've had two tour matches so far and I have to say they've been pretty contrasting affairs.
In the first match, we enjoyed a comprehensive victory, with the guys all hitting their straps with the bat and then seeing them off with the ball. In the second match, we lost heavily to the Mumbai Cricket Association XI.
Once again we bowled well, but suffered through some wayward shot selection with the bat. I guess it acted as a bit of an eye opener, a kick up the bum if you like. Without being disrespectful to the opposition, we really should be beating weaker sides like this.
But Friday is certainly a different proposition and the guys are itching to make a good start. We played well against South Africa at the end of last season and its that kind of consistency that we are striving for.
We know how good we can be, but there are games when we don't perform to our ability which is frustrating.
The guys have bonded well on the tour and I have to say it's a pretty laid back and relaxed tour party. It's certainly different to England but the sub-continent presents the opportunity to bond together as a unit. India is a fascinating place and we're all relishing the sights and sounds of this colourful country.
To say the Indian population are cricket mad is an understatement! We flew into Rajkot from Mumbai today and there were 5000 people waiting outside our hotel to catch a glimpse of us.
One of the guys who looks after us said they'd been queuing up from 10am - it was nine in the evening when we arrived!
On Thursday we will get to have a look at the ground for the first time and have a decent practise session for Friday's match.
It'll be a case of having a bowl through for me and then helping out the other guys anyway I can. It's a massive game and we all want to do our bit to ensure we start with a win.
Until next time, take care.