Two of the Blues brightest young stars will get the opportunity to prepare their games in different surroundings for the next fortnight, as Jake Doran joins Sean Abbott in the National Performance Squad’s tour of India.
Both Doran and Abbott are currently firmly in preseason mode, however for the last few months have been on different paths. While Abbott has spent the previous 12 weeks with the National Performance Squad undertaking preseason training in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Darwin, Doran has been put through his paces by the Blues training staff in Sydney while simultaneously aiming to complete his HSC.
“It’s been difficult, the last two weeks have involved sitting behind the books and at a desk for my (HSC) trials, but I’m glad that’s over with now and I can get back to hitting some Cricket balls and getting ready for the tour,” said the 17-year-old rookie, who is in his first full-season with the Blues.
Their tour of Bangalore will provide the pair with an opportunity to work on their longer form cricket, with the side set to play two four-day matches against Karnataka State Cricket Association teams.
For Abbott, this will be his second trip to India in a matter of weeks, after previously heading over with the NPS fast bowling unit to train under Glenn McGrath at the MRF Pace Academy in Chennai. Both young cricketers point out the climate difference as a major challenge for athletes visiting the region for Cricket, however Abbott believes Bangalore should prove kinder than his previous experiences.
“I was in Chennai recently, and it was about 45 degrees so it was quite tough there. Apparently Bangalore will be a bit easier conditions to play in. it won’t be as hot or humid,” said Abbott.
“Going to India is always a tough challenge. I’ve been to India three times now, so I know a bit better than some what we come up against. It can really hit you hard sometimes, because you’re totally out of your comfort zone and the way of life over there is completely different compared to Australia.
“You get a shock when you walk out of the airport and the heat hits you, and you see how people live over there and how things get done, it is completely different. When you’re playing Cricket over there you need to be pretty tough mentally to get the job done. The conditions are quite hard, quite tough. If you’re too busy worrying about that you can lose concentration and not play what’s in front of you.”
The NPS tour will provide Doran with his second taste of India after having previously played with the Australian u19 side in Visakhapatnam (Vizag).
“It’s a different experience (playing in India), but good,” said Doran.
“When I first played there, I didn’t think the pitches would play as differently as people made it out to be, playing really slow, but it was very slow. The ball held up massively, and it’s actually quite a challenge.”
The different way of life in the subcontinent is often an eye opening experience for touring teams, but Abbott believes embracing the local culture provides a unique opportunity for personal reflection.
“It is easy to sit in the hotel room in the air conditioning, watch TV and get room service,” said Abbott, “but I think you need to get out and experience the culture and way of life over there and I think that can help you not only just as a cricketer, but as a person, and keep you pretty grounded.”
Following the tour, the pair will return to Sydney and continue their build up towards the domestic season with the NSW Blues.