Wednesday, 29 September 2010


So our England Ashes team have returned from their trip away. Some have called it boot-camp, others team-building, and worryingly, the ECB Website calls it a bonding exercise.

The camp, which was held in Bavaria close to Nuremburg, involved players undertaking mental and physical challenges designed to better prepare them for the challenges of playing international cricket.

As well as overcoming a series of physical challenges, the team also learned more about leadership, how to make difficult decisions under pressure and the factors that make teams successful.

Their visit concluded earlier today with a trip to the memorial site at Dachau, the first of Hitler’s concentration camps where more than 40,000 people died during the 12 years of its existence from 1933-1945

By all accounts the players got to know each other better, had a bit of team-building, a bit of a laugh, and basically had a week away from cricket which will help the squad bond.

Some people (mainly "old school" ex-cricketers) have been bad-mouthing the boot-camp, but I honestly see no disadvantages to the trip. The players will have become closer both as people and as team-mates, and that can only be good. While abseiling or hiking may not help while facing Bollinger or Johnson, it will help team-spirit on a trip where famously English sides have fallen out. It's all about being totally prepared, an element which was clearly lacking in England's terrible 2006/7 defence of the urn. The fact that Tredwell, Kieswetter and Shahzad went out also shows that England see them as part of the "squad at large" even if they didn't make it into the Ashes 16. But that's by the by.

Here's the real reason for this post - some pictures of boot-camp.

Steve Finn v Monty Panesar? Hardly seems a fair fight...

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