Friday 30th November 2018

Our training session this morning went really well. Friendship Oval is in outstanding condition and a huge thank you must be given to everyone involved in the preparations. The team had an hour in the nets and an hour in the field. It was encouraging to see all the players supporting one another and approaching both sessions with enthusiasm and intent.

All eyes were on new squad member, Grant Russ. His accurate bowling, sound batting technique and agility in the field will certainly be an asset in the week ahead. Vimal and Ruchir were rolling out a good variety of deliveries, whilst Danny Smith and Sunny Singh found great rhythm through the crease. Manoj had all the batsmen tangled up with his cutters, swingers and slower balls.

Our batsmen were finding the middle of the bat on a regular basis. The depth of our batting stretches a long way down the order and if we can adjust to the different match situations then I know we will be able to post some significant scores.

Immediately after an official ICC function this evening we had a team meeting facilitated by Mark (coach), Faisal (general manager) and me. A lot of material was covered relating to the culture we aspire to cultivate, the values we believe are integral to our success and a deep and honest reflection on what it actually means to represent the Philippines and play at international level. All members of the squad were given the opportunity to talk about their journey towards this tournament and their overall involvement with Filipino cricket. It was truly fascinating and inspiring to hear the stories of everyone in the group: we laughed and listened and learnt about each other and about what this game means to us all. All these narratives have reached a point of intersection, here on the eve of the first ever international cricket tournament in The Philippines. Before departing for dinner we agreed on a catch cry for the week – “Sama-sama tayo,” meaning “Together as one.” Our belief in each other and in the Philippines will serve us well in the week ahead.

Tomorrow we play our first game against South Korea.

Let’s go, Philippines! See you all at Friendship Oval.

–Jono