England's dramatic first Ashes Test victory against Australia on Sunday came as the perfect send-off tonic for Team GB’s cricket squad just hours before they departed for Israel for their Maccabiah Games challenge.
Player manager Russell Corin and his squad arrived at their base in Tel Aviv on Monday hoping to emulate England’s success…but they face a tough task in the tournament, especially in their first match today against heavily fancied South Africa in Lod.
"Playing South Africa in our first match is a difficult start, but in another way it will be good to get it out of the way and will give us a good idea of what we are up against,” said Corin, 32, who has been managing the team for a year.
Also to be taken on are Australia, Canada, Israel, India and Corin said: “We believe we are in with a genuine shout of a medal, hopefully gold, but of course anything is possible and we don’t really know the quality of the opposing teams, though we know the South Africans will be a big challenge.
"But we are confident because we have a squad that benefits from a great range of youth and experience.
But playing cricket in Israel is totally different to playing on the green and pleasant pitches in England.
"It is quite a unique experience and there are certainly no lush grassy outfields like here,” said Corin.
"They use something called a Flicx wicket which is a synthetic surface rolled out like a carpet and used in
Britain for coaching or practice.We have played on it before and it can be inconsistent and difficult to bat on, but it offers a really good test for both batsmen and bowlers.”
After South Africa Team GB face India in Tel Aviv on Sunday, Israel in Ashdod on Tuesday, Canada in Tel Aviv on July 26 and they will hope to pour more grief on the Aussies in Ashdod on July 28.