Lazy days fit the bill for Ian
England Test batsman swaps his bat, pads and whites for a place in the sun travel2013
WINNING at cricket is all about seizing opportunities, making the most of the right moment.
A bit like holidays, in fact. And, for me, finding a gap in my schedule is always the first hurdle when it comes to heading off with my wife and young son.
I’ve no complaints about being a professional sportsman. I travel the world playing a game I love. But quality time with family can be all too scarce.
Even when England are playing at home, I’m shut away in hotels.
So when I told my wife, Chantal, we had an opportunity to spend a week away, she quickly had her laptop open to look at holiday options – and it didn’t take us long to make a decision. We knew exactly what we wanted: somewhere hot and reasonably close so we could just relax.
In fact, we knew what we wanted, because we had already been there. In 2007, we spent a glorious week at the Abama resort on Tenerife. We lazed on the beach, dozed on loungers and ate in excellent restaurants.
Our second visit was guaranteed to be different to our first. There was just the two of us back then – now we have our nine month old son, Joseph. He is inquisitive and interested in everything around him. Thankfully, he is also a happy flyer and, a three-hour hop to the Canary Islands was never likely to be a problem.
We landed in the middle of one of those warm days that are such a feature of the Canaries. We had a quick transfer – and suddenly there we were.
Abama boasts a dramatic setting. It sits on the west coast of Tenerife, laid out on the lower flank of the giant Mount Teide, where it slopes to the ocean. The resort is impressive when you first see it, with a stylish reception area and the accommodation below, all the way down the hill to the water.
It is a big place, with more than 450 rooms and villas, seven swimming pools and its own beach.
Six years ago, we cosied up in one of the villas. This time, we opted for the main hotel, knowing we would be nearer to the pools and dining areas – crucial with a baby. When we entered our room and saw the view from the balcony, with neighbouring island La Gomera shimmering in the distance, we knew we had made a perfect choice.
Not that we could stare for long. Joseph is at that age when, although not quite walking, he tends to shuffle about and bang into things. I’m not sure what requires more of a watchful eye – a fast ball from an Australian bowler, or my son when he feels like exploring.
Despite this, we settled in easily. And then did blissfully little. We took Joseph for a splash in the children’s pool, and to the beach.
But beyond this, I wanted to switch off. I’m a keen golfer and Abama has a beautiful course, but I didn’t even think of swinging a club. I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my family.
The resort has a pair of Michelin-starred restaurants, including a brilliant Japanese option called Kabuki. But we had our best meals out on our balcony, ordering room service, sharing a bottle of wine once we had put Joseph to bed.
We did, though, slip in a trip to the spa each – where, perhaps inevitably, I had the sports massage. This was gentler than what I’m used to with the England team physios.
A good thing, too. This month’s Ashes in Australia is a bigger challenge than playing at home.
With so much time given over to training and practice, we rarely see much of the country. But the boys are looking forward to when our families come out to support us. They will be in Melbourne in time for the festive period which really boosts team spirit.
And if we are winning again in Australia, it will be a very happy Christmas indeed. – Daily Mail