Jackson expects senior players to lead way
Southland cricket coach Steve Jackson is asking the province's experienced players to step up and lead the way in a new club competition that has been introduced to better prepare players for the Hawke Cup format.
Southland last year won the southern zone of the Hawke Cup competition and progressed to take on holders Hamilton in a three-day challenge match.
Southland were well beaten and one of the glaring problems was that batsmen struggled to bat time in the longer format.
In the off-season Jackson, the senior clubs and Southland Cricket Association staff talked through ways to better help the Hawke Cup team's buildup this season.
One idea was to provide batsmen the opportunity to bat time in club cricket and also simulate Hawke Cup cricket at the club level.
Previously Southland had a two-day club competition but in recent seasons it was replaced by a full season of either Twenty20 or the 50-over-a-side form of the game. It was decided bringing back two-day cricket was probably not the answer.
"Unfortunately the standard down here isn't as strong as it was to support two-day cricket.
"The games just wouldn't last long enough into the second day and our worry was teams would end up in the pub by 2.30pm.
"And the whole culture we've worked so hard to establish in the last decade really would disintegrate," Jackson said.
Instead a revised "declaration" competition, used overseas and in other parts of the country, has been introduced to club cricket and will start on Saturday.
The concept where 110 overs will be played in a day is hoped will allow batsmen to bat for longer periods and bowlers to bowl longer spells and in turn help Southland's Hawke Cup chances.
"When it comes to the two-day games and when we had the three-day game last season they just hadn't had the experience of being patient and being selective as far as batting goes. We were finding in a three-hour session our teams were all out, which is equivalent of what you'd expect in a 50-over game.
"Bowlers also are not used to bowling as many spells and I guess that's part of the reason why we've been struggling to develop spinners down here."
What Jackson wants is the players who have played at Hawke Cup level to step up and lead the way in the new format.
"I'm looking for guys that have played rep cricket to be stepping up and being real leaders in their clubs and trying to teach guys how to play the game," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News