I never thought I would be so happy to have a blister on my hand, but it means one thing – cricket is back.
I went back to training on Monday, along with 23 other England players, and I am currently training three times a week at the Bristol County Ground.
It is still a bit strange. Before we leave for training, we have to do a temperature check, fill in a questionnaire on coronavirus symptoms and then drive to the ground.
Once we are at the ground, we have another temperature check, follow the one-way system and use hand gel at every stop point.
We can use the gym, but you have to wipe down everything once you have used it.
It feels pretty normal actually, apart from the coach sometimes having to wear a latex glove when they are touching the ball.
We also have our own set of balls. The one weird thing is if you are having a net and the coach is throwing at you, it is his ball, so you can’t pick it up and throw it back to him. I have had to stop myself a few times.
The stiffness the next morning has not been fun – and I got cramp in my hand from gripping the bat for so long.
The DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) from bowling was not my favourite feeling, but it is quite nice to have them from cricket for a change, and not from any home fitness routine.
You can’t really replicate that feeling of having a bat in your hand. I have been like a kid at Christmas, waking up on Monday morning and being able to get back to a bit of normality.
Thinking about life after cricket
I have been trying to really have a break – which I am not the best at – and switch off from cricket, as this amount of time off is really rare.
I tried to use the time to think about a few things outside cricket and what I might do when I retire. But after a month of that, I was ready to get back to cricket.
I have been able to do a bit of work, fitness-wise, which will hopefully help to prolong my career, although I am not sure how well that has worked.
When you are going from game to game, you have to be in rhythm. You are thinking about scoring runs and you don’t always get a block of time to work on your game.
That is going to be quite interesting when all the players are together again, seeing how the break has affected people’s games and if it can lengthen a few careers.
A break sometimes reinvigorates a bit of love for cricket. When you are in the monotony of international game, you can sometimes forget how lucky you are.
Missing out on it for a few months makes you appreciate what you have got.
Big shops and cookery classes
You realise how strange being an athlete is in a situation like this – the novelty of doing a big shop, for example.
I never used to do one because I would be away at Loughborough during the week and I love going out and eating.
BBC presenter and former England player Isa Guha has been using lockdown to try and perfect her mum’s recipes. Her mum sadly died last year and Isa has been making loads of Bengali dishes that her mum taught her.
I joined her for the British Asian Trust Big Curry Night In and we cooked a prawn curry together.
It was really good. The only slight problem was I didn’t have all the ingredients and then I realised there was no coconut milk in the house, so the curry ended up being pretty hot.
I won’t lie, though – the rarity of cooking has worn off now and I am ready to eat out again.
Danni Wyatt has been sending me videos of her tomato plant. We are both growing one – hers has got some little green tomatoes on it and mine is absolutely pathetic.
It is just a little shrub. It’s nowhere near flowering! Any advice would be great…
A landmark in women’s cricket
Finally, I am absolutely chuffed for Clare Connor, who will become the first female president of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) next year.
Clare has done so much in her career and had so many firsts, but this one – the first female president in the club’s 233-year history – is pretty cool.
She was very close to Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, who was a pioneer in our game, and it is amazing for Clare to achieve such a huge landmark.
It is so important that different voices and female voices are involved in our game.
That is the only way women’s sport and equality is going to get a push – this is a great move for Clare and for women’s sport.