Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Boyd Rankin's Ashes Diary: Jonathan Trott's brave call shows us all what is really important

Jonathan Trott has left the Ashes Tour for  personal reasons
Jonathan Trott has left the Ashes Tour for personal reasons
In association with Foyle Food Group. Boyd Rankin is supported by Foyle Food Group.

We've arrived in Alice Springs for the next leg of the Ashes tour. There is a two-day game against a Chairman's XI here starting on Friday and they may rest the bowlers who played in the Test last week and hopefully that means the rest of us will play.

The Test match didn't go great for us, so it's a case of moving on and regrouping this week.

The Brisbane pitch, obviously, had a lot of bounce and it would have been great to play but for me it's just important to keep working hard.

We turned out with the England Emerging Performance Squad last week and had a few sessions and a middle practice on the second day. We'd another practice on Monday, so I've been keeping busy and working on my fitness.

Six or seven of us didn't play in the Test match so it was a case of splitting up the duties.

Once we're fielding I would help out with the drinks but everyone's time is set out pretty well so you know what you are doing every hour. If it is not drinks or bringing out gloves, etc, you are timetabled to go to the gym or do some bowling.

The main talking point since the Test has been the loss of Jonathan Trott, my Warwickshire team-mate.

It's not nice to see those things happen.

He has been a massive part of the team for the last four to five years so it's a sad loss to see him having to fly home. But it's important now that he gets that privacy to try and get better again.

All the lads have been trying to support him, so he has done the right thing to go back and see his family.

We all wish him well and hope to see him back playing international cricket for England again.

David Warner's comments were not nice and to signal out one player as weak and scared probably stepped over the mark, but I think he is now regretting what he said, now that he knows the full circumstances about Trotty.

Sledging comes as part and parcel of the game.

A lot of it was blown out of proportion although a few things were as picked up on the stump mic.

It's a massive series and I don't personally see it stepping over the mark as long as it stays on the field. Both teams want to do well and everybody wants to do their best so there will be a few remarks.

If Michael Clarke's comment about breaking Jimmy Anderson's arm hadn't been picked up on the stump mic, no-one would have heard about it and Jimmy wouldn't have mentioned it.

But now it's in the public domain it was picked up. But you do get it all the time and it is part of the game.

I'm not a massive sledger, I let the ball do the talking.

I wouldn't be the first to say anything but if somebody does then I might say something back, but otherwise I just concentrate on my bowling. It's best to just try and block it out.

If you do go back, it makes it twice as bad. It normally settles down if it's only one-way.

As to the first Test, Mitchell Johnson (pictured) was impressive but he has been bowling well for the last few months and has been putting batsmen under pressure. It's important that we now regroup and come up with plans to combat him.

He had a great game but we've done well against him lots of time as well and we just have to play him a bit better over the next four Tests.

After day one, the mood in the camp was good.

The bowlers had a tough day, it was a warm day and the wicket was good but we were pretty happy with the day. (Australia finished 273-8).

Stuart Broad bowled very well to take his five wickets but all the bowlers kept it tight that first day and kept them under pressure. Broad got the wickets but the other three seamers and Swanny did a good job.

Obviously things didn't go to plan on day.

Going from 82 for two to 136 all out was pretty bad and they got the initiative. After that, our bowlers didn't get much rest and were still pretty sore from the first innings.

And they had to go out again.

Once you have a collapse like that it's difficult to come back into the game. The bowlers fought hard, but with their lead, Australia were under no real pressure.

The way it worked out it was always going to be a tough task, and the wicket was a pretty good one to bat on. But we never really recovered from day two.

Having said that, we will always back ourselves to bat for two days.

There was a chance of a bit of rain around so that was always in the back of our minds as well.

We have a good batting line-up – it was a bit of a blip in the first innings – but we genuinely thought we had a chance of saving the game.

Losing those two late wickets on day three was crucial because we were staring down the barrel going into days four and five but there were still a lot of good players to come.

You always keep fighting and if we were to lose we were determined to stay in as long as we can and put some miles in their bowlers' legs going into the next Test.

It's only one game, there's still four to come and it's going to be a great series.

My Australian adventure has been full of training and enjoying the local sights

We flew up to the Northern Territory on Tuesday and when we stepped off the plane, it was nearly 40 degrees.

You have been warned about it, and are expecting it, but you never know what it's like until it hits you. So it will pretty tough when we are playing the two-day game.

We will train again tomorrow morning before the game, but we've been training hard during the Test match so the last couple of days we've been grateful for the rest.

After landing in Alice Springs, 10 of us then flew straight up to Ayres Rock where we stayed the night.

We were put up by the Tourist Board who looked after us really well and gave us so much to do.

We were shown how to throw spears and boomerangs by the indigenous people there and then went and saw the sun set over Ayres Rock from a look-out point. After dinner we went star-gazing with a couple of guides telling us about the constellations.

It was an early rise yesterday morning to go on a camel ride and when I say early, I mean early. We were up at 4.30am, and left the hotel at 4.45am to watch the sunrise, which was pretty cool.

Ayres Rock is one of those must-do trips. You never know if you will be back to get another chance. I do enjoy getting out and about when I can and would definitely recommend it if you are ever in the area.

I didn't get a chance to see the big football and rugby games at the weekend.

The 3-3 draw between Liverpool and Everton sounds a great game. As a Liverpool fan it was great to score in last minute and while it would have been great to get the win, in the end we were probably glad to get the draw.

The time difference is a nightmare so I also missed Ireland's game against the All Blacks.

It sounded a pretty gutting finish. I'm sure there were a few angry people at the end when that kick was ordered to be retaken! So near, yet so far.

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