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Anand Subramaniam in Ranchi

Important to start the tournament well: Haurtiz

Positive start and focused approach will hold key according to Brisbane Heat off-spinner

It has been raining here at Ranchi over the past few days hampering preparations of the teams who are scheduled to play their practice games. Thankfully, as luck would have it for the Brisbane Heat, the cloud cover was off, there were no signs of rains and there was a speck of sunlight over the oval ground were the Heat were scheduled to play a practice match on Friday.

The match got underway, Peter Forrest and Dan Christian got entertaining half-centuries, captain James Hopes and opener Joe Burns got to scores of forty. Even bowlers Kemar Roach, Ben Cutting and Nathan Hauritz got a bowl, which could be vital ahead of their preparations of their first match against Trinidad & Tobago on Sunday.

“Everyone is training really well and we have prepared extremely well to play and we are looking forward to the challenge against Trinidad & Tobago on Sunday. T&T have been in this competition a few times and they too have some very good players,” said Nathan Hauritz, who is the most experienced spinner in the Heat squad. Hauritz is no stranger to Indian conditions and has toured with the national side in the past. He feels that it was necessary to be behind the eight ball right away.

“I have played well but I have not done exactly well here. But I do know the conditions and know for a fact that you have to be on the game straightaway. India is a place where if you are not on your game, everything consumes you – the wicket, the crowds, the weather, everything gets on top really quickly. The quicker you are on your game, the better it is. Our team is extremely well prepared and the boys are looking forward to the challenge and hope my experience of playing here also helps.”

Haurtiz believes that starting off well in the tournament was crucial to stay alive in the three-week event. “This tournament is a bit more cut throat and you got to start really well. I think if a team loses more than two games, they will get knocked out pretty much. There is very strong competition in both groups and we just have to start as well as we can against T&T.”

And when asked if the Indian teams had an advantage over the foreign teams in the CLT20, Haurtiz was of the view that the team that performs well on a particular day would have their noses in front. “CSK and all those players have had a stable side for a long time and they have proved to be probably the best side in the world. Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals and now Sunrisers Hyderabad are in it as well. But the Otago Volts played well the other night and showed how lethal they can be in conditions here. It is really whoever comes out on the day and starts well who is at advantage. One good performance from each side can win you the game. But yes, when the wickets begin to spin a lot more in the second week of the competition, then I think then the Indian sides will become very strong.”

A lot of hard work, some good cricket back home and being the Australian T20 champions makes Haurtiz confident of the well-oiled Heat side. “We have got a long time to train together. We know each other’s game very well. The continuity between the boys is really strong, whereas the IPL teams come together quite late and though they know each other, it can take time. We have some guys who have been playing extremely well back home and hopefully that form can carry through into this format. We need our guys to stand up and put in their best performance whenever they can.” Haurtiz said.

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