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February 17, 2001
Sunday February 11, 2001
Possibly, the toughest part of playing International cricket for Australia is leaving your family for extended periods. This is becoming harder now that I have two beautiful daughters and a wife expecting our third in early April. Six weeks away from home is a long time, especially in a country as foreign as India.
Leaving the Perth airport this afternoon, the last thing on my mind was batting in India. As I waved goodbye to my kids, my mind was more interested in what I was leaving behind than what I was heading for. Now that I am sitting on the plane, the focus is quickly sharpening to the job at hand. There is now no turning back as my brain switches from sentimentality to the challenge of batting in India and winning a test series in an unfamiliar environment. Steve Waugh's advice is hardening me to the reality and motivation of coming home to Perth in six weeks with the two sweet rewards of runs and victories. With a long break between this series and the Ashes in June, I will be going all out to enjoy this challenging tour and play my part in keeping the winning run going.
History is against us, as winning test series in India are as foreign to the Australian cricket team as open space is to a citizen from Mumbai. Because of the confidence and experience within this team, I have the feeling this tour may be different. On paper, we have a very balanced side with a combination of fast and spin bowlers and a talented batting line-up. During our winning streak, the raw talent and application of this team seems to pull us out of the fire when we have been in any trouble. Someone always seems to put his hand up when we need it.
We also have priceless experience, a belief and expectation that we will win every time we walk onto the test arena and a unity that seems to hold everything together. Never underestimate the importance of this unity. It is one of the most crucial factors in the team's recent success. Being away from home in foreign conditions has its difficulties but knowing you are sharing the time and experience with people you enjoy being around, makes it a lot easier. Everyone in the team gets along so well; enjoying each other's success and supporting anyone whom may be going through any down time. The camaraderie of this squad could prove the foundation for winning this test series.
Time will tell!
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