Sometimes it’s good to start last
I have never waited so long for a game in my life! We have been in India for over two weeks and now, finally, the moment is here.
To be fair, none of us have been caught by surprise by the long wait to get the tournament under way. We first saw the schedule many months ago and we discussed our approach and strategy on several occasions so we all knew how we would spend the time.
Most cricketers have mental switches for ‘on’ and ‘off’ mode and many of us didn’t flick the ‘on’ switch until a couple of days ago. Before that we trained and practised hard but we had individual projects and targets we were aiming to achieve so we have not spent a fortnight just thinking about the West Indies.
It’s also worth mentioning the many bonuses of being one of the last teams to start. Cricketers always have little niggling injuries and, although we had 15 fit men available for selection when we arrived, everyone is now just that little bit physically stronger and fresher after the break.
In my four previous World Cups, there was always a bit of a sense that we had two teams — the XI and the reserves.
Things are different now. We have 15 men genuinely competing for a place in the XI and I’m loving the new atmosphere.
The West Indies? We have nothing but respect. If you expect me to single out Chris Gayle as the main threat, you will be disappointed.