SO the new year has started and everyone’s trying to try shed the Christmas bulk they put on by over-indulging in massive feasts and no doubt a few shandies at some parties.

I hope you can all feel for me when I say since December 21, I have been living it up in Perth, Western Australia, having barbecues and relaxing on the beach. Sorry!

As I knew my first game Down Under for my club side Willetton would be on January 4, I thought it best to get over before Crimbo and acclimatise to the conditions and deal with the jet-lag.

I did this by treating the festive period as a proper holiday, catching up with some old friends and revisiting many of the old haunts I used to have a chilled beverage in.

It didn’t do me much good in terms of being ready to play cricket.

I bowled outside on the Thursday before playing for the first time since September. Other than waking upsore all over and with a back like a bag of cement, I felt good!

The game itself didn’t go to plan for me as the first three overs I sent down got pummelled for 30 runs and I was removed from the attack. Rusty, to say the least!

Luckily, I came back strong and ended up with 1-38 from eight overs and we won convincingly.

It’s a bit strange, because I’m out here to do a job for the team and be the professional, but it is also my pre-season.

I need to ease myself in and be patient while everything skill-related clicks together. Sooner rather than later, would be useful though!

Away from cricket, I’ll be doing the usual training and gym work. Luckily, I’m able to get down to the WACA and train with the Perth Scorchers/Western Warriors whenever I feel the need to get some extra bowling in.

Because it’s a professional environment, it just keeps me fresh.

Having Jason Gillespie as coach back in Yorkshire is useful as the former Aussie paceman has so many contacts and Justin Langer is head coach of WA/Scorchers. He has been very helpful in getting me involved.

This weekend it will be 40 degrees, so that will be an interesting experience for me, playing in those temperatures.

Hopefully, I won’t melt or burn, but I’ll let you know.

The big difference for me in the Ashes Series was Mitchell Johnson. He was superb and well backed up by the other bowlers.

Ryan Harris is one of the best in the world and if it wasn’t for injuries, he would have a phenomenal Test record.

I don’t think England have played particularly well since the New Zealand tour, but we have not suddenly become a bad side.

We just need a bit of re-grouping, and clearly some fresh faces are going to be integrated. So the rebuilding job may take a while until England are a force again.

Somehow, we have to dig up another world-class spinner too!