I have just returned from a 20 day (4-24 Feb) Competitive Training Camp based in Pune and Mumbai with the U17 England Development Programme. It included a training and match programme (6 matches in Pune and 2 in Mumbai). There was also an academic study period on most days.
The first week of the tour concentrated on getting the team acclimatised and learning how to play in the Indian conditions. The second and third weeks focused on the matches with the non-match days occupied by intense training on playing spin (about 90% of the net bowlers we faced were spinners). The opposition that we played was extremely strong, and as a result we won 4 and lost 4.
One day was dedicated to a Community Project which involved playing with and coaching local children at a charity school. As a team we arranged the whole event including choosing the charities, fund raising, transport, activities for the day, food for the kids, t-shirts and post event donations to the charities. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the children that we had connected with made it a very worthwhile and emotional day.
The tour was an unforgettable experience. India is a place like no other with its unique people, sounds, smells, colours, dust, dirt, poverty mixed with affluence, and mad, manic traffic. I have learnt a huge amount from the different cricket conditions of the sub-continent and am grateful for that opportunity.
Jack Winslade 29 Feb 12