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Prajakta Pawar in Ahmedabad

Langer instills confidence in the group: Beer

Scorchers players hope to capitalise on coach’s knowledge of Indian conditions

With a healthy mix of youth and experience, the Perth Scorchers have returned to the Champions League Twenty20 to stake a claim to the title once again. After a forgettable tournament in South Africa in 2012, the Australian side has now been preparing diligently under the guidance of coach and former Australian cricketer Justin Langer.

The finalists of the KFC Big Bash League have tried to anticipate the challenges that they are likely to encounter and face conditions that are markedly different to what they are used to back home in Australia. And under the leadership of Simon Katich, they are ready to take on the Highveld Lions on September 23.

When asked what would they be doing differently this season, former Scorchers captain Marcus North said, “The conditions here are different to what they were in South Africa (in CLT20 2012). That’s our first challenge. Our preparations have been good; we have had some great facilities here, which have given us great exposure to Indian conditions. The guys have had opportunities to use that. It comes down to us planning well and making sure that we execute our game plans. We have seen it in the IPL, and in the qualifying stages of this tournament that the wickets are good cricket wickets that produce a lot of runs. That’s going to be an encouraging sign for our batsmen to get good opportunities to play on good surfaces very similar to those we play on in Australia – that are high scoring and true wickets. So we kind of expect the same over the next couple of weeks and so the challenge for our bowling group is to adapt to those conditions.”

Speaking about the weather, North said, “In the middle of a summer in Perth it would be hot as well, but certainly not this humid.” But the Scorchers are prepared for the heat. “The good thing is quite a few of us have been to India and are used to these conditions. We have been here long enough to get acclimatised. I don’t think that (humidity) is going to play any part in our performance in the next couple of weeks,” he added.

Besides being physically ready, the Scorchers are excited and confident, and coach Langer has played a big part in instilling this confidence in the team. Speaking about the coach’s influence, Michael Beer said, “It is great to have someone with so much experience in the team. The main thing he puts into us, and especially with the young guys, is that they go out there without any fear.”

The team does have a few new faces that were not part of the tournament last year, but that would not be a deterrent to their chances in CLT20 2013 as they have been working together for some time. “To be honest, majority of the group here has been training together all winter as part of the Western Australian squad. I think the group is very tight. A lot of guys who have come in to replace those guys have been part of the Western Australian squad. We train together all the time so we know each other's game inside out and so hopefully we can show that on the field,” Beer mentioned.

Another aspect that can be a factor while playing in the subcontinent is spin. But the Scorchers are prepared for that and they have options in the bowling department. “We have got spin options, which is very handy and we have got good pace bowlers in our squad as well. We will take it game to game. We will have a look at the wicket and go on from there,” Beer said.

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