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Jefferson blog: Foxes at the ready Published: 20 September 2011


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Leicestershire Foxes batsman Will Jefferson is blogging exclusively for Lords.org from the Nokia Champions League Twenty20 2011.

In his first entry, Jefferson assesses the mood of the English Twenty20 Champions ahead of their first match with Trinidad and Tobago...

At 3.56pm this afternoon Indian time, the players representing the Leicestershire Foxes and the Trinidad and Tobago cricket teams must be ready for the MCC Spirit of Cricket hand shake ceremony, as we come face to face in the second match in the qualifying pool stage of the Nokia Champions League Twenty20 2011.

The feeling within the squad is one of obvious anticipation and pure excitement about what the coming days, and possibly weeks, could bring for us.

A cross section of both ages and backgrounds is generally the make up of all sporting teams - ours seems even more to the extreme - it has to when one of our senior players, Paul Nixon, held another, Josh Cobb, in his arms when he was born!

A lot of the players were expecting a media frenzy of international proportions due to the hype surrounding this tournament.

Experience
Some of the old heads – Paul Nixon, Matthew Hoggard and Claude Henderson - will no doubt take it all in their stride. These people are invaluable to gain an insight into the way to approach these big occasions.

That we are involved in here is very different to a ten day batting camp in Mumbai, or in a secluded corner of Pune where you never really leave the bosom of the luxury member's club during your stay, and spend most of your day in the net facilities facing the local bowlers.

The single biggest realisation since arriving at our hotel three days ago is that with our every move you feel you are being watched. Even at 5:00am there were about forty people to welcome us to the hotel.

No doubt cricket followers over here have seen us perform on their television sets and the half hour media commitment slot this afternoon put all the pre-season media days on the county circuit to shame.

With the cameras, dictaphones, tape recorders, note pads and long lists of questions being fired at some of our players, it was an enjoyable experience to just walk around the room taking it all in.

Andrew McDonald summed it up nicely for me. He said we were a tight group who play for each other out on the field, have good understanding of our roles and play to express ourselves with the T20 format allowing us to show off our repertoire of skills.

He finished up by saying we were quietly confident of causing an upset to one or two of the bigger teams - this line backing up the confidence within the team that we all share a determined view that we want to be here beyond the pool stages and keep the dream alive as long as possible. As Paul Nixon would say,"it is our destiny."

United

The stadium is an impressive one. Boards showing the Leicestershire Foxes crest along with the other five teams competing for the remaining three places in the next stage of the competition are dotted around in between the tiers of seating.

Just another proud moment to add to the others collected for all those out here involved in the coming week based here in Hyderabad.

What I had prepared myself for before we got out here has certainly lived up to expectations.

It has been a manic 24 hours since arriving. A number of team swims, an array of delicious curries every lunch and dinnertime (fingers crossed), security talks, young lads prancing around in their new kit, anti-corruption lessons, lots of photos with the locals.

In there somewhere the two practice sessions have provided the opportunity to hone both the thought processes and physical skills in readiness for this afternoon's first game.

Not surprisingly there were throngs of excited onlookers of all ages peering in through the surrounding netting having no doubt just taken part in some form of practice themselves.

All asking the same question - "who are you?!" A couple of big performances today and tomorrow and hopefully the questions will be slightly different.

We have many advantages in our favour as we enter this new tournament tomorrow - the momentum we have gathered as a T20 unit through being unbeaten in our last seven games.

This has helped fuel our belief that we can win a game from any situation - the nature of T20 means that one player can put their hand up and the game can be turned on its head in a matter of minutes.

Memories from winning consistently are very fresh in our minds.

Each player has a very open mind to their specific roles and although the team operates in a very structured way, there is adaptability there at all times.

This ranges from who we want to send in at certain times of the game, to a point that we might have 5 or 6 batsmen padded up, to us looking out for each other in the field to make sure certain players only field in already pre-determined fielding positions.

Uniting us as a group and bringing together the eleven of us both on and off the pitch will go a long way to getting us over the line in tight matches.

Princely height
Greg Smith has been given the job of drawing up the list of fines for the coming days, which were slipped under our hotel room doors last night.

My involvement in them is going to feature every morning, as each player is fined 200 rupees if they do not kiss me on the forehead and say "morning honey" when they first see me.

By the swimming pool, in the breakfast room, next to the hotel reception Indian people are probably scratching their heads wondering if my height (6'10") brings some prince-like status with it...

Of all the countries worldwide that are mad about a particular sport, not even the drubbing that India have had at the hands of England this summer will diminish the sheer passion for playing and following the game in this country.

If anything, the next crop of Indian superstars will be trying to prove that they are capable of stepping up to take over the places of some of their cricketing legends as and when they move on from the international scene.

No doubt the Indian public will be demanding answers for their team's recent Test and One-day series whitewash, but the Indian players of the future will be concentrating on letting their performances do the talking, and this is the first opportunity some of them will be getting on a big stage.

But this brings us to the likes of James Taylor, Josh Cobb, Nathan Buck and Greg Smith, who can also potentially make a name for themselves.

Having all recently represented England U19, when we talk about the strength and depth of the pool of talent coming through in English cricket, these are the players who are on the selector's radar.

In terms of furthering their own cricketing education, for players of their age to see and be engaged on a stage such as this, it can only be good for the future of English cricket in years to come.

After a blistering 43 off 15 balls in our warm up game two days ago, Josh Cobb certainly has a bright future using the combination of his fearless mindset and clean ball striking ability.

The action, can't come soon enough...

Jefferson and Somerset's Nick Compton are blogging exclusively for Lords.org during this year’s Nokia Champions League Twenty20.

MCC and the Nokia CLT20 will combine to promote the MCC Spirit of Cricket campaign in the third domestic global twenty20 tournament, which takes place across Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata from 23rd September – 9th October.

It is the third successive year where MCC has partnered the competition. The Club also partners the Indian Premier League.


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