On tour with Hong Kong’s Chris Carter

November 27th – Rest day

No point in me even writing anything for today. We literally did nothing exciting. Woke up, went to breakfast, slept some more, went to lunch, slept some more, team meeting, dinner, then room cricket.

Unfortunately Anshy and I lost the room cricket series to Kinchit and Ninad 8-5. We will bounce back from this defeat, and I blame Anshy’s torn hamstring for our poor bowling and batting performance.

We have done our research into the Afghanistan team and prepared our team plans, so fingers crossed we put together a good team performance and finish the tour on a high.

 

November 26th – Third T20 vs Oman

An amazing win and incredible bounce back from the boys today. We had a later start to the game, due to playing on back-to-back days, but this didn’t phase us as we put together a solid performance and came away with the victory.

We bowled first and got off to a shaky start. Oman came hard at us, and hit a few boundaries early, which saw their run rate climbing into the 8-9 region. A period of six solid overs, including two maidens in a row, meant we were back in the game, and in the end finished the 20 overs restricting them to 149.

A slightly injured Anshy and a freshly back Kinchit opened the batting, and got off to a positive start. Kinchit fell first, then Anshy, and this left Chappy and Babar at the crease. Their partnership won the game for us, as they both made 60-odd off not many ball, and finished the game in the 18th over – a real batting master class from the two of them.

We played the type of cricket that we have wanted to play in every T20, and hopefully we can carry this into the final game of the tour against Afghanistan, and into the future for the World Cup and Asia Cup.

 

November 25th – Second T20 against Oman

Image courtesy of: Hong Kong Cricket

We really needed to win today’s game, for both individual and team confidence. We learnt a major lesson in the first T20, and thought we would show them a lesson this time around.

On a snotty grassless wicket we bowled first, and a solid bowling/fielding effort saw us restrict them to a par score of 132. After a short break Anshy and Waqas went out to bat, and unfortunately my roommate snicked of first ball for what he claims to be his ‘first ever golden duck’.

Waqas was looking promising before he too got caught behind for two. Chappy and Babar both made 20 odd apiece before throwing their wickets away, and we continued to lose wickets at regular intervals. Kat batted well and managed to survive till the last over, after myself and Aizaz chipped in with a few before holing out to fielders in the deep.

We needed 6 of 6 balls, and unfortunately were unable to make it. Some credit must go to the Oman bowler who was very accurate with his yorkers in the last over. So this meant we have lost two games out of three, and are unable to claim the series. Our last game against Oman is tomorrow, and we have nothing to lose so we will go at them very hard from the get-go.

The evening saw us have a very nice team dinner at the hotel, which was arranged by our social manager Nadeem Ahmed. As tour tradition goes, all new members to the touring squad must sing a song in front of the group, so this meant I had to do such a thing. I decided to do my own take on the hit ‘Stacey’s Mum’, and replacing Stacey with Kinchit and Ninad.

Ninad hasn’t yet done his performance (will surely be made to do it at the airport), and our media manager Bridget got up against her will and sang an interesting rendition of ‘Ice Ice Baby’, which was made even better by Babar Hyatt’s interesting dance choreography.

Bridget’s back up voaclists were Cookie and Georgie, both of whom had no clue what the lyrics were. As the tour is nearing an end, the dinner was a good way to come together and reflect on all the good times we have had thus far.

 

November 24th – Rest day

Image courtesy of: Georgie Stanley

Today we had an optional net session from 10-12 which most of us attended, and then had the rest of the day off at the hotel. Georgie organized a team activity before dinner, which saw the group split into 3, and made to do a variety of ‘interesting’ activities, ranging from sucking M&M’s with straws to shirtless/blindfolded ‘over unders’. Again we visited a mall food court for dinner, and had our focus set on beating Oman the next day.

 

November 23rd – Game against Pakistan

Today saw us take on the second best T20 team in the world, Pakistan. It was a special moment for most of the team, as a lot of the boys were playing against their heroes. This left many of their jaws dropped and faces aghast when they arrived at the ground, all of them were definitely star struck.

We were made to bowl first, and did well to keep them to 160 odd on a very good batting deck. In reply we started well, with Chappy and Anshy moving along nicely. But eventually anshy got run out and Chappy fell for 50, and then we struggled to get a move on with the bat.

A tough loss, but a big learning experience. This left us all tired for the hour and a half bus trip back to Abu Dhabi, which was made entertaining by the boys at the back singing Pakistani songs the whole way home.

 

November 22 – Training Day

In preparation for tomorrow’s game we had a good session at the nets before having the rest of the day off to rest and relax. I decided to take a different take on the diary entry today, and interviewed a few of the lads about their teammates – Check out the video above… Part 2 coming soon!

 

November 21st – First T20 International

Not much to say about today, except that it definitely did not go as we wanted it to. We played our first T20 game today against Oman at Sheik Zayed Cricket Stadium, with everyone confident about playing well and getting another win under the belt. I think this was our downfall today; we were too confident and somewhat complacent.

We lost the toss and they sent us in to bat. A few wickets fell early, and continued to fall as the game went on. Too many times two new batsmen were at the crease, and we struggled to put a solid partnership together. In the end, we made 107 off the 20 overs, which was about 20 runs under par on that wicket.

In the field we started off well, taking early wickets, but one partnership from them saw the game finish in the 18th over. Like I said, a shock loss and one we were not expecting. All the lads were shattered and distraught, but it will make us come out and play much better cricket net time we challenge them in a few days.

All sights are now set on our match against Pakistan in Dubai in two days’ time. T20 cricket really does level the playing field, and we have nothing to lose – fingers crossed we can pull off an upset victory.

 

November 19th and 20th – Two Rest Days in a row!

These two days were very welcomed by the whole group. After a solid two weeks of cricket at least every second day, we had the opportunity to chill out and distance ourselves from the game. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing cricket, but personally after a few poor performances I tend to overthink things, so a few days where I don’t have to train or play does me very good.

The first rest day saw us in the gym in the morning, and then we had the afternoon to ourselves. An intense game of mini golf was had by a few of us, due to the fact that go-karting wasn’t available…. To quote Cooky – ‘Bugger’.

The night went normally, but my hope of getting away from cricket was dashed when Anshy and I invented a version of room cricket. Our room consisted of a very narrow corridor of sorts, of which we used as the wicket, and the rules were quite simple – hitting the walls on the full was out, three misses in a row and you’re out, and the whole door was the wicket. This went on for a solid three hours. We played a total of 60 games, 17 of which were draws, with the final score being 22-21 in favor of Anshy. Sweat covered the floor, the room stunk, and I’m sure many of the surrounding rooms were very tempted to make noise complaints as things got seriously heated, as Anshy kept cheating and making up new rules. Being the good sport I am,  I played very fairly, and never once complained that I wasn’t actually out – I’m sure if Anshy had better eyesight he would see that numerous of my shots bounced just before the walls, therefor meaning I wasn’t out…

The next day was primarily a travel day, as we left Dubai and headed back to Abu Dhabi – back to the Holiday Inn, the hotel we were at last time we were in Abu Dhabi.

The Bus ride was two and a half hours, giving us a bit of time to relax and mentally prepare for the next few games. Physio sessions were conducted in the afternoon, and a new version of room cricket was discovered. This time however it wasn’t in the room, it was in the elevator lobby on our floor, as it had much more space. Anshy and I played for a while before heading to the team meeting and dinner, and were joined to play by Kinchit and Ninad later that night.

Unfortunately we were caught on CCTV and asked to stop by hotel security – ‘Bugger’. Tomorrow we play the first of three T20s against Oman at Shayk Zayed Stadium – an awesome opportunity for us to climb further up the world cricket rankings!

 

November 18th – Second ODI vs UAE

Another sunny day and another belter of a wicket to bat on. Tanny won the toss again (he’s performed well at the toss this tour) and sent us in to bat. Anshy and Waqas Barkat got off to a solid start, before Barkat got stumped. Anshy continued on his innings and brought up a fine 50, his first of the tour. He later got run-out in very unfortunate circumstances. He was blocked from getting back to his crease at the non-strikers end by the bowler, who then proceeded to run him out.

This proved to be the first of three runs outs in the match. Our middle order didn’t put up a lot of resistance, as Babar went for 9, Chappy for 27, and Nizakhat for 20. I came to the crease again needing to perform, but got run out due to a mix up with the non-striker. Lets just say I’m quite ‘roasted’ after that one.

Tanny came to the crease with the score at 6-159 in the 36th over, with us not looking like we were going to make it past 220. But boy oh boy did he play one hell of an innings. Accompanied by a steady, yet aggressive, Aizaz Khan, our skipper made 73 off 33 deliveries. A 100-run partnership with Aizaz saw us finish on 282, a score that looked well out of our reach at one point. After lunch we started steadily with the ball, and again the UAE came out with all guns blazing. Wickets fell at regular intervals, with Tanny taking a few and Nadeem taking a couple.

The UAE side never looked like troubling us as they weren’t able to have more than one batsman go on to make a solid score. In the end we won by 136 runs. So out of the three games we played against the UAE, we came out victorious in all of them – #whitewash. A well earned Nandos trip followed after the game and an early night was had by all after an exhausting few days of cricket. Tomorrow’s sleep in will be good. Oh no wait, we are back in the gym at the crack of dawn…thanks Georgie Lad.

 

November 17th – Rest Day between ODIs

Again it goes without saying that we were in the gym and pool this morning, recovering from yesterday’s game and preparing for the next one tomorrow. Still no real chance for a sleep in. We had a team meeting at 12, in which we discussed the plans for tomorrow’s game, and then a few of us went go-karting again.

In Abu Dhabi we visited malls to kill time, but it seems here in Dubai we go racing instead – and it brings out the competitor in all of us. So Coach Coooky, Chappy, Anshy, Ninad and myself ventured back to the track that we visited a few days earlier, and were delighted when we found out that we had the whole thing to ourselves – just us five racing on an amazing outdoor track.

Anshy was last again, as expected, and I came in second last, all due to the fact that my kart was substantially slower…. Or so I like to think. Ninad finished first, Chappy second, and Coach in third.

This was about all we did today, having played a lot of cricket everyone is fairly reluctant to leave their beds for too long – every second of rest is valuable. Emirates mall was visited for dinner again, only for Anshy and I to have Korean for what must’ve been the fourth time.

Tomorrow promises to be a big day, as it is the last game against the UAE and the final game of our I-cup and WCLC series on this tour, so hopefully we can cap it off with a win.

 

November 16th – First ODI vs UAE

Another sunny and hot day greeted us this morning, as we hopped on the bus at 8am and headed out to the ground. Today was the first of two ODIs against the UAE, all part of the WCLC series.

Having come off a dominant win in the four-day game, we were all riding a wave of confidence coming into this game. The two changes to the team were Chappy coming in for Atko, and WaqasBarkat replacing Eshan Nawaz – slotting in ahead of me at number six. Tanny won the toss and decided to bat first on what looked like a belter of a wicket.

Kinchit and Anshuman got off to a good start, reaching our fifteen over target of 75 runs, before a little collision happened. As Anshuman worked the ball away for a single, the two batsmen collided in the middle of the pitch, with Anshy’s helmet going into Kinchits shoulder. Kinchit is often at the forefront of many incidents alike to this, and as usual, this one was his fault…(of course he will deny it). So he retired hurt on 34, and Babar Hyatt joined him at the crease. Again Anshy and Babar looked set, but Anshy got stumped on 36, falling to the wrong-un off the leg-spin bowler. This saw Chappy come in at number 4, and boy oh boy did he play a heck of an innings. Supported well by other batsmen, he went on to score 124 not out, making the first ever ODI ton by a Hong Kong player, and becoming the 10th player ever to score an ODI ton on debut. Not bad for having not played much cricket recently.

This set us in good stead, with 298 on the board. The UAE openers showed their intent from the first ball, and they were going along at quite a pace, until Haseeb grabbed the first wicket. Wickets fell at regular intervals after the first dismissal and once again, the part-time opening batsman Anshuman Rath starred with the ball, taking 3 for 22.

This saw us bowl them out for 209 in 43 overs. Another solid win for the team, with the chances of a series whitewash looking promising.

 

November 15th – Rest Day

Fair to say that everyone was absolutely shattered following the four-day game. A solid sleep in would’ve been nice, but we had to be in the gym at 9:30am. This started the rehabilitation phase of the day. A circuit in the gym was followed by some work in the rooftop pool, all aimed at getting us fit and ready to go for tomorrows first ODI.

After this, many of us went to see Georgie for physio work, which took up a good chunk of the day. An optional net session was in place for the late afternoon, so myself and a few others went to the academy turf nets and had a good hit.

Not much exciting happened today, everyone sort of just took the opportunity to take some time off cricket and chill out in their rooms. Mark Chapman arrived in from New Zealand the day before, so it was good to have him back amongst the team. Team confidence is high going into tomorrow’s game, so fingers crossed we get over the line and win our first ODI.

 

November 14th – Day 4 vs UAE

Image courtesy of: Hong Kong Cricket

Wow… I have no words for what happened today. The night before I was preparing for a long and hard day on the pitch, with the thought of the UAE batsmen bogging the game down in order to push for the draw.

This was the bipolar opposite to what actually happened. Ten wickets in a day is what we needed to win the game – we had 96 overs to do so, and restrict them from scoring 382 runs. Haseeb took the ball to bowl the first over of the game, with a left-handed batsman on strike. His first delivery hooped back towards the batsmen and struck him on the pads. Everyone went up loudly, and he was given out, leg before. We claimed our first wicket on the first ball of the day, and everyone was ecstatic.

The next batsman to come to the crease was the lad who had played a solidly in the first innings, and was able to slow the game down, as was seen at the close of play on day 2 where he was not out on 19 off 128 balls…I would’ve hated to be that batsmen, walking into bat with all of us going berserk after the first wicket. We all calmed down and awaited Haseeb’s second delivery. Bang. What a ball, the batsmen went to defend on the front foot but the ball nipped just enough to clip the top of off stump. It was an absolute peach of a delivery, which saw everyone jumping up and down and running around like headless chickens. We had them all ends up, 2 wickets down with the first 2 balls of the day.

Aizaz bowled the next over from the other end, and with his first ball got the other opening batsmen out LBW. Then later in the over he snicked off the 4th batsmen, making it 4 down with the run total being below 10. At one point we had them 6 for 5, and we knew that the game was ours at that point. A 65-run sixth-wicket partnership saw the game slow down a bit, but eventually we took the wicket of Qais Farooq, making it 71/6. Wickets fell easily after this, and we bowled them all out in 29.2 overs – 10 wickets in a session… We were all so pumped with the victory, and stoked that it didn’t take the whole day to bowl them out.

Due to the fact that we won before the lunch break, everyone was able to tuck into the food and eat as much as they wanted. A few of us went for a net session afterwards, and then headed back to the hotel for a well-deserved afternoon off.

Anshuman, Kinchit, Ninad and myself went go-karting at Kartdrome in Dubai Motor City, something that we had been planning to do since arriving in Dubai. After waiting a solid hour and a half for our race, we set off onto the track for our thrity minute session. The track was amazing, and the sun was setting, so the scene was set for a fun end to the day. As expected, Anshuman “I’m posh because I go to Harrow” Rath finished in last place out of the four of us, with Kinchit slightly ahead of him. Neither of them seemed to be able to make a corner without spinning off the track and slowing everyone else down. Kinchit could be identified on the track by his bright blue shoes, and Anshuman by his brown suede boat shoes – typical Harrow go-karting attire.

Another mall was visited for dinner, and we were all upset to say goodbye to Jamie as he left back to Hong Kong early the next morning. Overall, it was a very good day, and one that I will definitely not forget.

 

November 13th – Day 3 vs UAE

Image courtesy of: Hong Kong Cricket

The weather was back to normal at the ICC academy. The sun was out, and the heat was up, which saw me literally bathing in a pool of sweat during the warm up. The goal today was to take the remaining six wickets for as little runs possible.

Bowling them out with a lead of at least 150 still in tact would see us in a position to enforce the follow on. Our spinners Nadeem and Anshuman got to work right away, bowling steadily to two fairly set batsmen. Anshy eventually got the breakthrough wicket just as the game was getting away from us, trapping the batsmen lbw dead in in front. We knew their batting ended at 6, so the buzz in the field was up as we were know bowling to the tail. Not long after his first, Anshy claimed his second via a quick stumping, seeing their number 7 depart for not many. Two more quick wickets to Anhsy, and two to Nadeem, saw us only have to be in the field for 40 odd overs before bowling them all out.

Our goal for the batting innings was to have a lead of 400 by the end of the day. Kinchit fell early, but Babar and Anshy consolidated for a solid partnership of over 50. Babar stayed in for a while after Anshy fell, which saw Atko come to the crease. Jamie decided to let them have a few LBW appeals first, before eventually clicking into gear and hitting the bowler for six over his head. He continued his innings like this, hitting a few huge sixes before being bowled for a quick fire 30 off 28.

This saw yours truly come to the crease, hoping to make some runs after a disappointing 7 in the first innings (where I got out to the ball of the century). My hopes of making a score faded quickly when I was out lbw for 0 off 2… Tragic… In brighter news, Babar continued his blistering form with the bat, scoring 73, before chopping on in an attempt to up the run rate. Once again our tail helped out a little bit, before being bowled out for 184. Not a huge total, but this left them needing 382 to win.

We bowled a nervous few overs at them before the end of days play, but were unable to pick up a wicket. So the game is ours for the taking. In order to win we must claim 10 wickets for no more than 377 more runs. A long and hard day 4 lay ahead – with everything in our favour.

 

November 12th – Day 2 vs UAE

Image courtesy of: Hong Kong Cricket

After a successful first day with the bat, Tanny and Aizaz headed back out on a gloomy day 2. To our dismay, there were actually rain clouds in the sky, which was the first time the blue skies had disappeared all tour. With Tanny being in the 90’s overnight, everybody was waiting in anticipation for him to make his maiden first-class ton. He eventually did so, which was another fine moment for Hong Kong Cricket.

After he departed, we relied on our tail to wag a bit in order to give us a healthy lead. Rain interrupted play around lunch time, which was an uncanny incident because it apparently only rains for the best part of 8 days in Dubai… Nadeem holed out in the deep which saw us all out, leaving 60 odd overs to bowl in the day.

The skies began to clear, and the seamers dominated early on, with the skipper taking two fine wickets – he really was leading from the front. We continued to work hard, and had them four down at the end of play. If any readers want to know how to pass time during a long day in the field, play a game called Atlas. Look it up, and you will thank me for it later…Not much happens between days during a first-class match – everyone sort of forces themselves out for dinner then returns to their rooms to crash instantly.

So after ridiculously overpriced Lasagna and Olives in Motor City with a few of the boys, Jamie thought it would be funny to play a savage game of ‘fives’ in which the loser had to take the 30 minute walk back to the hotel. Much to everyone else’s delight, Jamie lost, so we all got in a cab and headed home whilst Jamie was left navigating the streets of Dubai.

 

November 11th – Day 1 vs UAE

Image courtesy of: Hong Kong Cricket

Thankfully Tanny won the toss and sent us in to bat first. This meant that a lot of us could sit back and relax, and for us debutants it gave us some time to get accustomed to the First-Class cricket scene. Our first session was fairly successful, as we were only 1 down at lunch with Kinchit Shah on 59 not out, and Babar Hayat in his mid thirties. The batsmen did extremely well to not let the sandstorm going on around them affect their play. The middle session saw a few wickets fall, as Kinchit got caught pulling the short ball, with Nizakat, Jamie, and myself falling in relatively quick succession. Babar and Tanny consolidated well, with Baber later going on to score Hong Kong’s first ever First-Class hundred. It was an innings that all of us will never forget. He later departed for 113, and this saw Tanny take the game by the throat, finishing the day on 96 not out, with Aizaz Khan at the other end on eight not out. A solid days play that probably saw us finish slightly ahead. Fingers crossed the next few days go our way.

 

November 10th – Training day at the ICC Global Academy

Image courtesy of: Chris Carter

Today was the first training session we had on our tour of the UAE. Fortunately enough, we were able to use the facilities at the amazing ICC Global Cricket Academy. We got underway at 10am and went through to 1pm, making full use of the world class playing oval and turf nets we had at our disposal, all in preparation for the start of our I-Cup encounter against the UAE.  Everyone was pure stuffed after training, so not much was accomplished apart from physio treatment and afternoon naps. Burkey, Cooky, Jamie, Anshy, Wilson and myself all ventured out to the Grand Habtoor for dinner, as Burkey had previously discovered that they serve all you can eat ribs and chicken on Tuesday nights. Fair play to Burkey, as the food was good and lots of the local talent was on show…Venturing upstairs to the rooftop club was tempting, but as athletes we had to prioritize our game the next day, and the chances of a ‘rain card’ being successful were extremely low. So everyone got back in taxis and 45 Dirhams later we were back at the hotel with a First-Class match at the forefront of our minds.

 

November 9th – Travel Day to Dubai

Image courtesy of: Chris Carter

All though we had lost the previous day to England, the boys were still on a high due to all the attention that the game received. Before departing Abu Dhabi, ‘Georgie Lad’ had us back in the gym and pool doing intense recovery and core work. One thing we all learnt from this was that Waqas Khan is the owner of a terrible swim cap, which should never be worn again…We then hopped on the bus at midday and started our Journey to Dubai – arriving at our hotel around 2pm. We had the rest of the day off so a few of us went to check out the Mall of Emirates for dinner, which was a fair trek to get to because we are seriously located out in the middle of the desert. Special mention to Kinchit again, as he almost got killed by a bus whilst trying to navigate a round-about on a bike whilst in a fluro yellow jacket, all in the quest for a good place to eat.

 

November 8th – Hong Kong vs. England.

Video courtesy of: Hong Kong Cricket

It was definitely one of the most hyped up matches in Hong Kong cricket history. It is by far not an everyday occurrence to be able to walk out and play against a full strength England ODI team, and walk amongst legends like Joe Root and Eoin Morgan. But as a team we needed to put all the names and fame to the back of our minds and focus on playing a solid game of cricket. In the field we performed admirably. The game got away from us towards the end with Moeen Ali smashing 71 off 36 deliveries, which to be fair, was a pleasure to watch from my position behind the stumps.

The lads were set a hefty total to chase, and an early collapse saw Babar and I having to consolidate. We put on 81 together, before ‘Bubs’ got bowled going for the big shot for a very impressive 78. I eventually holed out at long-on to Adil Rashid, and from there we didn’t provide much resistance and got all out for 181. For me personally it was an experience I will never forget, and an opportunity that I was thankful to have. Once again everyone was shattered after the game, so most stayed in the hotel and got up to their own individual mischief.  I’m sure Atkomeister spent most of his night struggling to complete an easy-rated Sudoku,  whilst Baber tucked into a few rotis and naan.

 

November 7th – Rest Day

A ‘rest-day’ on the Hong Kong Cricket team’s schedule never actually means a rest day. “Active Recovery Day” is the term ‘Georgie Lad’ likes to use. In the morning many of the players were given ODI and T20i hats with their numbers on them, which was a very special moment. These caps will be treasured, and mark each player’s place in the history of Hong Kong cricket. After this, Georgie took us through a yoga session, which was highlighted by Kinchit’s inability to do most of the exercises. The rest of the day was spent relaxing or being tourists and visiting malls. Anshuman and I went for another Nandos session, and watched the new James Bond movie with Jamie and Kinchit. The movie was about 15 minutes short because all the ‘good’ scenes were cut out….. Another mall was visited for dinner, and everyone chose the healthy option in preparation for tomorrow’s game against England.

 

November 6th – Day 2 vs Nepal

Image courtesy of: Chris Carter

The second day of the match saw us go into bat at the start of play, with Jamie and Waqas Barkat opening the batting. Barkat fell early, but Jamie went onto make a quick-fire 80 before holing out in the deep. Once again Nizakhat Khan played well for his 58. We then declared after 36 overs and gave Nepal a hefty total of 313 to chase. As expected, Nepal played for the draw, and at the end of days play were 7 down for 155. The long time spent in the field took its toll on the players, and the ice baths were a welcome treat after a long day in the desert. Everyone hit the sack early with the thought of a rest day tomorrow at the forefront of our minds.

 

November 5th – Day 1 vs Nepal

Image courtesy of: Georgie Stanley

Our first match of the tour saw us face Nepal in a 2-day match at one of the nursery ovals next to the Abu Dhabi Oval. Captain Tanwir “Tan-Man” Afzal won the toss and decided to bat first on a dry grassy wicket. Openers Kinchit and Anshuman both played the new ball well, before Kinchit fell for 29. This saw Babar Hayat join Rath at the crease, and he went on to score a very good score of 68 not out. Nizakhat Khan also played very well for his 48. Tan-Man decided to declare for 206, leaving us to bowl 36 overs at Nepal before the end of days play, at which they finished 1 for 106. The best part of the day though was going to Nandos for dinner, something that us expats in Hong Kong miss terribly.

 

November 4th – First Day

Image courtesy of: Chris Carter

Our first full day in Abu Dhabi was fairly uneventful. Our physio Gerogie had us in the gym at 9:30am doing circuit work and active recovery in the pool, before allowing us the rest of the day off to relax and prepare for tomorrow’s game against Nepal. Myself, Anshuman Rath, Kinchit Shah and Jamie decided to go check out one of the many malls in the city, because that is pretty much all there is to do. This didn’t go without problems though – we managed to lose Kinchit for a while, which left us worried for his life, because Kinchit alone in a foreign country is dangerous situation. One mall down, many more to go.

 

November 3rd – Departing Hong Kong

Image courtesy of: Chris Carter

The day that we had all been waiting for had finally arrived. The squad arrived at KCC for some final preparations before jumping on the bus and heading to the airport. For the first time in a while Jamie Atkinson was semi-fit, and hadn’t managed to drop a salad bowl on his foot or something along those lines. Our flight to Abu Dhabi was long and tiring, but thankfully we got there with no lost luggage and no hassle. We arrived at the Holiday Inn hotel close to midnight, and went to bed with high hopes for what was to come.