Steelbacks all set for Twenty20

Andrew Hall
Andrew Hall

Andrew Hall believes that the Northamptonshire Steelbacks have the kind of balance in their squad that can lead them to the Friends Life t20 finals day.

The Steelbacks have only reached the last four of the tournament on one occasion - in 2009 when they lost to Sussex in the last four at Edgbaston - but Hall has set his sights on emulating that achievement.

The Welsh Dragons, or Glamorgan in old currency, provide the opening opposition on Thursday evening and Hall can’t wait to get started.

He said: “We’ve had a chat about T20 and how we want to go about it and there’s definitely a buzz in the team.

“We feel that we’ve got a very balanced team and a good squad and if we look back a couple of years at when we played some very good cricket, we think we’ve got the same kind of balance this year.

“It’s a home game first up, hopefully we can get a nice big crowd in here and that can lend itself to us making a good start.

“The last time we played a 10-game format we made it to finals day and this year we can use that in our plan for the competition.”

While 2009 and 2010 saw Hall’s men reach the knockout stages, it was a completely different story 12 months ago when they didn’t even threaten to make it out of the group.

And Hall knows where the improvement will have to come from if that is to be avoided.

He added: “Last season we didn’t bat well at all. We’ve had a look at the stats and that showed where we were going wrong. We had a lot of different guys going in at the top of the order while we tried to find a good solution.

“There’s a good mix now, especially with Cameron (White) coming into the middle of the orderr, and we feel that we should be able to post the kind of scores that we can defend.

“As captain I feel a bit more at ease with the batting order now that we’ve got more players who can clear the ropes.

“Hitting boundaries at important times was something we found hard to do last year but with Cameron and Kyle (Coetzer), players who have got plenty of experience in this format, there is the ability there to achieve that.”

Hall also feels his charges have adopted a more mature attitude towards their approach to the shortest format of the game.

“It’s about the players taking responsibility for their roles,” he continued.

“I’m really pleased about how we’ve gone about our practice. In previous years we’ve gone out and just tried to hit boundaries from the off but this time everyone’s been a bit more measured and I think that bodes well.

“Last year we didn’t have a great tournament but that can happen. We feel like we’re in a good place and are ready to go.”