CLT20 2013: Brendon McCullum says qualifiers won’t be easy for Otago Volts

Brendon McCullum will captain the Otago Volts in the CLT20 2013 © Getty Images

Chandigarh: Sep 16, 2013

With Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) 2013 qualifiers set to begin, New Zealand’s Otago Volts captain Brendon McCullum on Sunday said it is not going to be an easy run for his side in the tournament as there are three more teams from the sub-continent who would pose a tough challenge.

“This is a tough qualifiers round. Look at all the teams, they are all good on the paper. We know it is going to be tough for us to get past the qualifiers, but we also know that if we do make it to the main tournament, we will go with a good head start,” McCullum told reporters in Chandigarh.

The Kiwi wicketkeeper-batsman said that beating tough opponents will surely give them the confidence as they go ahead in the tournament.

The Sunrisers Hyderabad, which put up an impressive performance in India Premier League (IPL) 2013, will take on teams from New Zealand (Otago Volts), Pakistan (Faisalabad Wolves) and Sri Lanka (Kandurata Maroons) in the qualifiers starting at the PCA stadium in Mohali on Tuesday.

On the Mohali track, McCullum said: “The wicket is slightly faster and bouncier than the normal Indian tracks, we can be confident that we have the right team to exploit the conditions.”

The McCullum said his team was also confident of tackling the spin bowling challenge and had done all the preparations.

“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 western 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 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, 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.