Chandigarh: New Zealand’s Otago Volts skipper Brendon McCullum, on Sunday, said it is not going to be an easy run for his side in the Champions League T20.
“This is a tough qualifiers round. Look at all the teams, on paper, they are all strong. We know it is going to be tough for us to make the cut. But we also know that if we do make it to the main tournament, we will be extremely confident,” McCullum said.
Otago Volts will take on Faisalabad Wolves in their first qualifying match at the PCA Stadium, Mohali, on Tuesday. Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kandurata Maroons are the other teams in the qualifiers.
Speaking about the Mohali wicket, McCullum said: “The wicket is slightly faster and bouncier than the regular Indian tracks, we can be confident that we have the right team to exploit the conditions.”
McCullum said his team has prepared well to handle spin bowling of the opposition.
“In Sri Lanka, we played on some spin-friendly wickets and our batsmen seemed to stand up to the challenges reasonably well. I know it’s challenging for the overseas teams to play spin bowling, but we believe we have ticked off the preparation well and time will tell if we were spot on or not,” he said.
McCullum and coach Vaughn Johnson also talked about the preparation camp in Sri Lanka where the players got used to the conditions, especially those who hadn’t been in the sub-continent before.
Volts’ had crashed out of the 2009 season by losing their first two matches, but McCullum exuded confidence this time, saying 2009 was a great learning experience.
“I think 2009 was a great experience for us. It was the first time that a lot of our guys had toured outside New Zealand and had to play in totally alien conditions. We couldn’t perform to the level at which we hoped to but we still had some competitive moments through that tournament,” he said.
Sri Lankan Lahiru Thirimanne, who would be captaining Kandurata Maroons, said the presence of international cricketers such as Kumar Sangakkara and Ajantha Mendis, will give his team a good balance of youth and experience.
“We are a young team but some of our players are very experienced and that makes for a very good combination.”
About the conditions here, he said these are similar to back home in Sri Lanka and it gives them a big advantage in the Qualifiers, with the team also having spinners like Mendis and Rangana Herath.