Aside from last summer’s World Cup, I haven’t won much in my career and this year’s Indian Premier League is an opportunity to claim some more silverware.
I’ve made it to the Twenty20 finals recently with both Sussex and Hobart Hurricanes, so I hope I can get lucky with Rajasthan Royals for the third time.
We went to the knockout two years ago, but then Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes had to leave for England, and although we tried in their absence, we just couldn’t cross the line.
This year’s Indian Premier League is a precious opportunity for some silverware
Hopefully we will go one step further this year and that would make me happy. I certainly support us going all the way, but with any team, it’s about progress.
By default, the IPL is similar to playing for England as all the players involved have either played international cricket, played international cricket, or are not far away. It is a very competitive tournament.
I’ve played in other places around the world and you have to be versatile playing in different conditions. You can’t just do the same things you would do in England.
Playing in UAE and not India may suit Rajasthan as some teams are really good at their own turf and I think since the whole tournament is played on neutral grounds there is no team with an advantage. It could make for some really good cricket.
We start on Tuesday against Chennai Super Kings. Given their historic successes, I think they will be the team to beat again this year.
Aside from the Ashes, I haven’t played much against Steve Smith – I haven’t played him in the recent T20s between England and Australia and he missed the one day concussion – so I’m looking forward to being here next to him.
I look forward to being with Steve Smith at the Royals for the next few weeks
That’s the problem with the IPL. It gives you experience playing with different people and against some who are usually on your side. For example, it is nice to compete against my English teammates.
I was here during the flight next to Moeen Ali. We get along very well and I told him that if he bangs into me when we play Royal Challengers Bangalore, I will come and get him!
And I’m sure he’ll try to take me down too. That’s the thing about the way we both play.
Sitting next to the English teammate Moeen Ali on the run, I told him I’m coming to get him!
Looking back, the no-ball I threw in the last ODI against Australia in Manchester last week was probably the game changer – although I’m pretty sure there were other small moments that affected the result as well.
Switching into ODIs for the first time wasn’t great and I couldn’t even be mad at the referee for calling him. Nor was it like I’d crawled there.
My foot was always half and half throughout the game – I landed with much of my shoe behind the line – except for that one ball when Alex Carey ran to third man and we thought we’d cut Australia down to 87 for six.
Of course I wish it hadn’t happened, but it did, and I can’t change that. I’ve always believed that everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t always know what that reason is.
What I do know is that we are a good team and the 2-1 series defeat does not define us. The best thing about this England team is that whether you win or lose, the mood within the group doesn’t change.
That allows us to perform without fear and it felt special to be a part of the win in the second game, when Australia was 144 for two, chasing 232 for the win.
My no ball in the last ODI against Australia in Manchester was probably the game changer
Likewise in the last game, when we got to 300 after losing two wickets from the first two balls.
If we get such a high score, Jason Roy and Joe Root will usually have been a big contributor, so that was a pleasant aspect.
Such games remind us that other teams are allowed to play well too. Two guys scored hundreds – Carey and Glenn Maxwell – and it was always going to be difficult to contain them once they were ‘in’.
But we have a habit of handing over every game we lose to the last and I am very proud of the boys and of being part of this team. The best teams aren’t beaten until it’s over.
One of my friends sent me a screenshot of the ODI bowling rankings to show me that I am now joint-10th with Mitchell Starc.
I think the only way for me is to get from here. I have the ambition to be at the very top, although I know that will not be overnight. It may take a few years, but I’m ready for the journey.
So far the ODI format has been the format in which I have had the most success for England and there are reasons for this.
It’s the format I first played when I switched to international cricket and it’s the format I’ve played most of the matches for England in so if I keep it up I feel like I’ll be climbing that ladder a lot faster than in T20 or even Test cricket.
The ODI format is the format in which I have had the most success for England and there are reasons for this
Some people have suggested that playing against Australia gets the best out of me, but I wouldn’t say I especially thrive against them.
For me, one of the things about cricket is that every match is unpredictable. It just happens that some of the games I’ve done well have been against them.
But I also did well against other teams in the World Cup 50-over, so I can see it as a coincidence that some of my best statistical results have been achieved in games with Australia.
For now I have a new challenge with a new team, and it was good to wake up to the sound of birdsong instead of removing covers from a cricket pitch.
Like the bio-safe environment created for the international summer just over, no chances are taken here, so we were asked to wear the hazmat suits upon arrival in the UAE and were tested for Covid-19 the next morning .
I’ve gotten used to spending my time this way, but that doesn’t make it any less challenging.
I feel like you need to be in the best possible frame of mind to get into something like this because it will eat you if you aren’t. It’s about being positive every day.
My first full day here was my 90th of my life like this and I’m staring into the course of another 60, possibly.
Steve Smith (from left), myself, Tom Curran and Andrew Tye wore hazmat suits upon arrival
But I am glad I came to Dubai from England as I can go to the beach here which is part of the hotel complex. It is a pleasant change of scenery.
What we shouldn’t lose, however, is that getting cricket back on TV is a great achievement in itself – and a reward for getting through the tough meters of three months of quarantine.
I was happy to arrive at the end of this summer with a smile still on my face.