Saturday, November 15th, 2014

Mitchell Plays Important Role On And Off The Pitch In Japan

Mitchell Plays Important Role On And Off The Pitch In Japan

Worcestershire skipper and opening batsman Daryl Mitchell has returned from a highly successful tour captaining the MCC in Japan.

The 30-year-old made several telling contributions with the bat during the 13-day trip.

But Mitchell also played a key part off the pitch in coaching, promoting and demonstrating the game to various groups of schoolchildren and even the Japan National X1.

Here we continue Michael Krause's blog of the tour – published on the Lord's web-site – which details the second half of the trip.

He writes: "Following a busy few days, with a packed schedule of cricket, we were given some time to relax and promote the game off the field.

"After a travel morning followed by golf or sightseeing, MCC were hosted by the a Japanese Cricket Association for an evening function on Saturday November 8.

"During this event local dignitaries, sponsors and supporters of the Association heard about the future plans for cricket in Japan and the role MCC has played in raising the profile as part of this tour.

"The following morning saw all members of the touring party supported by JCA coaches in delivering all day coaching sessions in local primary schools.

"The highlight of the day was a demonstration to 350 elementary school students on the various aspects of how the game is played.

"As before, all concerned found the day a very worthwhile experience despite having sore legs after nine hours in front of an audience.

"The showcase 50-over game of the tour against the Japanese National XI took place at Tanuma High School, currently the only full size venue and turf wicket in the country.

"Captain Daryl Mitchell won the toss and had no hesitation in electing to bowl first.

"Charlie Hopkins made an early breakthrough, dismissing the hosts' captain Kobayashi with a delivery that bounced and found the outside edge.

"The star of the bowling attack was Gareth Fisher who produced a fine spell of swing bowling to return figures of 6-13 off six overs.

"Japan were unable to recover from this devastating spell and were all out for just 44. This total did not prove too challenging for MCC and victory by nine wickets was secured in the thirteenth over.

"At the end of the game Mitchell and tour manager John Emburey led a masterclass, along with a Q & A session, with the Japanese XI on batting strategies and improving technique against swing and seam bowling.

"The main purpose of the tour was not only to raise awareness of the game in Japan but also to help the National XI prepare for their upcoming ICC tournament.

"With this in mind MCC suggested playing an unofficial T20 match to aid this preparation.

"Captain Mitchell was able to re-enforce his earlier words by scoring a fine 88 not out in leading MCC to a competitive total of 141.

"Whilst Japan's batters were only able to muster a score of 111-6 in reply, it was most pleasing to see the improvement in technique and application of strategy that was demonstrated in this innings.

"The final day's cricket of the tour saw MCC take on a North Kanto XI once again at Tanamu High School.

"The weather would ultimately claim most of the proceedings. However, opener Vishal Sethi (37) and Ben Scott (34 not out) enabled MCC to reach a competitive total of 143-4.

"In reply, only five overs were possible with the opposition left on 22-1 before play was abandoned due to rain.

"After a prolonged lunch and persistent rain it was decided that the full T20 game would be abandoned. Yet there was still time for both sides to put on a five-over exhibition match to entertain the crowd and local dignitaries.

"Following the match a number of presentations and speeches were made by representatives of the local council, British High Commission and MCC which emphasised the purpose of the tour and the need for further support in developing Japanese cricket on a national level.

"These proceedings brought to an end a fruitful and meaningful tour by MCC to Japan."