KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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Leicestershire Foxes batsman Will Jefferson is blogging exclusively for Lords.org from the Nokia Champions League Twenty20 2011.
In his second and final entry, Jefferson reflects on what could have been, as the Foxes head back to England having lost both their qualifying matches...
"To put it plainly and simply we are on the next available flight home.
"Two games, two losses and no dream ticket to the Champions League, as I sit in my hotel room and write while watching the opening ceremony take place.
"A month's worth of vitamins, probiotics and fish oil capsules sadly not going to be needed. £600 worth of malaria tablets the physio is going to try and have to get his money back for.
_"My new glaringly orange Nike cricket spikes, which I was going to start breaking in in the second week, return home with me as good as new, to be packed away for next season.
"Yes, with no weight limit courtesy of our expenses being paid for, I admit I had packed with the intent of being here for a month.
"As a professional cricketer, losing should only fuel your desire for realising that you need to work even harder, and more importantly, smarter, for the challenges that lie ahead.
"And by these challenges I mean understanding that when you are next preparing yourself in training and practice, that the standards met are ones that will equally match what is required of you when you are next put into a truly testing environment and know what it will take to come out triumphant.
I have never seen Abdul Razzaq upset about anything. He has this zen-like quality about him that I admire, lots of nods of his head, lots of smiles, wobbles of his head and very few words - it is always about actions with him.
"When our second game was done and dusted he had real fury in his eyes towards the umpire's decision to give me out LBW. He knew that one more small partnership during that middle period and the game was ours.
"It was a game that we should have won. We had the life throttled out of us in the middle overs. To return home with a loss and a win would have not left such a bitter taste in the mouth.
"It also showed, in our improved performance from the day before, what another few days of preparation might have meant come match days, and with proper preparation how we might have been able to compete with the world's elite.
"When you are chasing the game like we were, to try and force a victory inside far fewer overs, there was always a chance that by pushing that hard, wickets might fall in batches.
"Saying that, the batting of the top three could not have put us in a stronger position to capitalise on a panicked and clueless looking Ruhuna attack. As is the case so often in T20, pace off the ball and spin bowling proved our undoing in the middle overs.
"Cricket's continuous evolution shows what can be achieved in all departments of the game with people willing to push the respective boundaries.
"Nasser Hussain, when he retired, said that English cricket desperately needed to work on producing mystery spinners in order to keep pace with the rest of the world.
"By being involved in a tournament such as this, we have witnessed at first hand the challenges that meet us as cricketers in order to compete with the very best, both with producing them but also facing them.
"By mystery, he was basically talking about the type of bowlers we have faced in both opposition teams out here.
"A flick of the fingers to get the ball gripping off the pitch in the either direction. Because we do not come up against them much in our country, reading them out of the hand is hard when you do not have many deliveries to try and get used to their variations.
"One of our country's up and coming spin bowlers is MCC Universities cricketer (opens in a new window) Jigar Naik.
"His spinning fingers have been twitching all summer to be playing regular 20/20 cricket and he proved why he is such a valuable asset to our team in all formats by bowling three overs in the powerplay and setting the tone for an excellent start for us with his opening over.
"It will only help to boost his already rising stock as a genuinely big turner of the ball in county cricket.
"Consistent performances in first class cricket in back to back season's for Leicestershire have reaped their rewards as Jigar received a call from David Parsons to confirm his winter's involvement with the ECB player performance programme.
"He is licking his lips at the opportunity of plying his trade on surfaces in the sub-continent that will suit his style and against batsmen who pride themselves on playing spin bowling.
"To a man, our goals should be to return home having learned valuable lessons from this experience.
"Watching the New South Wales batsmen smash Samuel Badree and Ravi Rampaul all round the park two years ago on one of the Indian cricket channels shows how much they have learned in the time that has elapsed.
"Badree, who bowled 4-1-7-2 against us and Rampaul recorded 4-0-14-4, both proved that they put their past disappointing experiences behind them and became better cricketers for it.
"Darren Ganga also came across as a very astute leader in this form of the game. James Taylor overheard him saying to Rampaul, just before he bowled the last over, with the score on 117, "imagine you are defending 120." He bowled a double wicket maiden.
"Even with 50 runs to play with, there was a ruthlessness to their game to go with their calypso style that is so well suited to a game that is dominated by power hitting, smart bowling and athletic fielding.
Somerset roll on
"On a positive note, Somerset continue their deserved involvement in the competition after two closely fought games which they came out on top.
"Lessons learned from their return home early last time? Without doubt, and credit to them for the high standard of cricket they have been playing across all the formats over the last two years.
"When we won the T20 Final less than a month ago at Edgbaston, a well-oiled Hampshire team passed on one of their post match rituals back in the hotel by lofting Josh Cobb in the air with the whole room singing the Man of the Match (M.o.m) chant-"M.o.M, M.o.M, M.o.M O M.o.M."
"The mantle was passed on once again here in Hyderabad, when the Somerset players returned to the hotel.
"This time Peter Trego, for his well paced, match-winning 70, was lofted up on Paul Nixon's shoulders and the shouts of "M.o.M, M.o.M, M.o.M O M.o.M" could be heard ringing round the hotel's corridors well into the early hours of the morning...
"And so a whirlwind week comes to an end. As is the nature of sport, this team will never take the field again.
"Not many players on the county circuit get to play their last game of a season in a country other than England.
"Just to have packed our kit away one last time and be doing it in India, we must remind ourselves of the moments that got us here and look back with pride and satisfaction of having a trophy of our own in the cabinet.
"We return with rich, life-enhancing experiences, plenty of fond memories and stories to be told to those not lucky enough to have been in our shoes."
Jefferson and Somerset's Nick Compton are blogging exclusively for Lords.org during this year’s Nokia Champions League Twenty20.
MCC and the Nokia CLT20 will combine to promote the MCC Spirit of Cricket campaign in the third domestic global twenty20 tournament, which takes place across Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata from 23rd September – 9th October.
MCC’s Head of Cricket, John Stephenson, attended the opening ceremony of the competition to oversee the signing of the ‘Captain’s Charter’, which serves to ensure the ten participating teams uphold the Spirit of Cricket's ‘Play Hard, Play Fair’ principles.
It is the third successive year where MCC has partnered the competition. The Club also partners the Indian Premier League.