When all but one of England’s games at the Twenty20 World Cup will be played at night, the team has taken extreme measures to prepare for the amount of dew expected to fall after sunset, as well as the amount of sweat that players have. likely to produce. That includes dipping balls in buckets of water during training.
“We have to think about how we are going to keep our hands dry, keep our arms dry, dry the ball and also be able to shoot with a wet ball,” says David Willey, as England prepare to open their campaign. against the West Indies in Dubai on Saturday.
“It’s something we’ll certainly be preparing for, even if it’s just dipping balls into buckets and catching, fielding, and bowling with these wet balls. Once you start to sweat, you can’t stop, it just saturates you from head to toe.
“We will get more towels to change over and over for the guys who are heavy sweaters and sweatbands. It’s not going to go away so it’s just about putting things into practice to make sure we’re comfortable holding the ball and delivering our skills when the ball is wet.
“For the spinners, if they are trying to catch the ball, it will be a challenge if it is soaked. Throws have typically been slow and difficult against twists down the middle so they are going to play and are a huge part of our game.
“The most important thing for locksmiths, in the back when you sweat the most, is to have confidence in bowling yorkers.
“The margin of error is very small and you can get a little more nervous when the ball is wet. All you can do is practice putting things in place to try to keep your hands dry and keep the ball as dry as possible. It’s going to be a challenge, but we’ve discussed it and we’re doing our best. “
Willey has had mixed experiences at recent World Cups, as he was chosen by England bowlers when they lost a dramatic Twenty20 final in 2016 and was named to the preliminary squad for the 2019 50-year-old version only to be eliminated from the final selection that continued. to win the competition at home. Having recovered from that low point, he is approaching his third World Cup experience with a fresh perspective.
“I don’t think anything that happens in my cricket career will be as bad as that,” he says. “Being a part of it for four years and losing myself was disappointing, but my personal growth in that, just refocusing on enjoying my cricket, has been huge for me. That’s probably why I’m sitting here today, playing for England.
“Before that World Cup, I was looking over my shoulder, thinking, ‘If I don’t get a five in favor, if my economy isn’t really good, I’ll probably be out of the team.’
“You end up not enjoying your time there when you’re putting yourself under so much pressure. Now I’m playing every game like it’s my last and I’m really relishing the moment of putting on the England jersey. When I finish playing for England, whenever it is, I want to end with good memories. “
Despite the form of defeat in the 2016 final, Willey enjoys playing against the West Indies. His bowling average for England in white ball games is 28.5, but against the West Indies it is 15.9, by some margin, the best record of any team he has faced more than once. He hopes he can particularly threaten his lefties, which include the destructive Shimron Hetmyer and Chris Gayle.
“The ball away from lefties can be dangerous in all formats,” he says. “And in the white ball game, when they are looking to be aggressive, that could work in my favor. The last time I played them I did well, although I did better with slower balls. Hopefully that will help me get the go-ahead for that first game. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism