Cricket

McKenzie backs Lions' chances

2013-09-16 20:00
Neil McKenzie (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - The Highveld Lions will head to the Champions League Twenty20 with the perfect mix of youth and experience in their search for silverware in the international competition says veteran batsmen Neil McKenzie.

The Lions gained entry to the competition by winning the domestic T20 competitions and Mckenzie, 37, felt confident his side would gel well for the tournament.

"We tend to mix it up a bit, we've got a few spinners that have come through the ranks that have done really well in South African conditions," said McKenzie at the Wanderers on Monday ahead of his team's departure for India on Tuesday.

"(Aaron) Phangiso has played international cricket, so has Imran Tahir.

"So that's two in our favour. Sohail Tanvir is from Pakistan so he knows exactly what to expect.

"Then we've got pace upfront. Hardus (Viljoen) hasn't played anywhere other than South Africa so it's going to be a big experience for him.

"Dwaine Pretorius is another."

The Lions also finished runners up in the competition which was held in South Africa last year.

This time the different conditions could pose a problem for the Gauteng outfit, but McKenzie said their strategies should work in any conditions.

"Being the hunted team, or the known team, what we showed last year is that we're a quality outfit.

"I think five or six of our guys represented South Africa.

"If you look in the squad now there are a few household names which there weren't last year."

After a training camp in Potchefstroom last week, the side had the chance to prepare as a team but the time together was still not ideal without actual game time.

"With the format of the T20s we have had only a few practice games so it's not like the real thing.

"Like any competition, especially the T20, we have to hit the ground running.

"We're in foreign conditions and we have to take as much as we can from the practice facilities and the practice games we've got and go from there. We have to start well and run with it.

"Luckily enough, there have been a few guys involved in SA 'A' games and I've been overseas as well as one or two of the other guys."

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