I can not think of anybody who would have expected such a young and
inexperienced team to pick up two trophies in their first two competitions.
I could not have asked for a better baptism, particularly in the way that we
beat South Africa three times.
The selectors went for youth and during the five weeks we were together we
improved match after match. Thatís not to say we are anything like the
finished article, far from it.
The original target remains and still is the 2007 World Cup, but the way
we have progressed in such a short time encourages me to believe that by the
time it comes around, we have every chance of having a very competitive
side. But I am not getting carried away because this side still has a long
way to go, just as I have as a captain.
All I know is that I have enjoyed every minute of it so far and now I have
a few months before our next matches to reflect on where we have gone so far
and where we have to go in the future.
There have been many pluses so far, but none has been bigger than the
return to the international fold of my Yorkshire colleague Darren Gough.
Goughie had been written off, but that is always dangerous with a player
of his calibre. I knew he would be a great asset to the team and so it
proved as he returned to show that he is still a world-class bowler.
Everybody has played their part so far, but special mention must be made
of man-of-the-series Andrew Flintoff. Freddie was exactly what I expected
him to be Ė exceptional with bat, ball and in the field. Now heís set
himself a new benchmark.
As for my own form, I was never worried that being captain would interfere
or be a burden. Early season, I just wasnít playing well and then I kept
getting out for 30-odd. But things have turned round again and now I can
look forward to facing the South Africans in the Test series.
by Martin Hardy on behalf of ISM