There's no magic T20 formula says Styris
Few players are better qualified to judge the nuances of Twenty 20 cricket - if they exist in the blast and blitz format - than Scott Styris.
The 37-year-old former Black Cap, who will captain the Northern Knights in their HRV Cup campaign this season, has also been a hired gun for the Chennai Super Kings, Deccan Chargers, Durham, Essex, Middlesex, Sussex and the Sylhet Royals, and now the Hobart Hurricanes are next on his list.
He's been entrusted for the second season running to oversee the Knights' quest to finally break their duck in the domestic Twenty20 competition in 2012-13.
But he says he doesn't have the secret formula for T20 success.
"If the answer was that simple, we'd be winning every year," Styris says.
"So I'm not sure if we have the answer yet.
"But if we're going to be a bit cliched and basic, the batsmen in the top four need to score runs and the strike bowlers need to take wickets for you.
"That's no magic formula - it's just doing the basics well."
Styris has more than 3500 runs and 100 wickets in Twenty20s and in a side that will be without New Zealand internationals Tim Southee, Kane Williamson, B J Watling and Trent Boult when they meet the Otago Volts at Hamilton's Seddon Park on Friday night, he will assume a major role - something he insists on as a leader.
"I want to lead by example on the field.
"That's one of the great things about Twenty20 - you get a chance to win games by yourself, to be the hero and win the game single-handedly.
"And when you demand something, it's a lot easier if you're the guy that's been showing them how to do it."
Styris was underused with the bat last season when the Knights finished third, with four wins, five losses and a no-result. But he was hesitant when asked if that would change this summer.
"Probably . . . with us missing a few of our New Zealand guys.
"But I saw a lot of the World Cup Twenty20 and teams were being very specific with the roles for each player - the batsmen were batsmen and the hitters were hitters."
Styris now qualifies himself as a hitter - which he did to an extraordinary extent with Sussex earlier this year when he plundered 100 off just 37 balls.
Given his ability to transform a game, it would be a crime to limit him to just a handful of overs with the bat, so it will be intriguing to see where coach Grant Bradburn aims to employ his skipper.
The Knights have been a victim of their own success domestically, often stacking the Black Caps' side but leaving them short on top-drawer talent throughout the home season.
It's something that Styris said the association prided themselves on.
"That's always been the case for ND - I got my opportunity playing as a 19-year-old when there were six guys away in South Africa with the New Zealand team. The next guys now get a chance to become Black Caps over the next five years."
The Knights will play three televised Friday night matches in November and Styris acknowledges the new schedule allows his side the opportunity to get a quick start, which has been absent in past years.
"We do play a lot of games before the other teams really get under way, so there's a chance to get a jump and put some pressure on them.
"Momentum is huge in this version of the game, and getting in front of the others can allow you to create your own momentum."
English all-rounder Steven Croft, who has been joined by fellow English county star James Foster as the Knights' HRV Cup imports, is a big Styris fan.
"He's obviously a brilliant player and he's brilliant to play with as well," Croft said.
"He's got heaps of experience - he can bat, bowl, and is someone I've looked up to as a player and if he's in your side, then you're generally playing in a good side too.
"That 100 [for Sussex] this year was one of the best Twenty20 innings I've seen.
"I think he likes a challenge, whether it's with bat or ball, he loves that competition - it brings out the best of him. He's definitely a game-winner."
Styris is also a mutual fan of Croft and wicketkeeper-batsman Foster.
"We've done really well with the two guys we've got," Styris said.
"James was the MVP of the Twenty20 season in England among 18 counties and Steven was player of the year for Lancashire.
"They're experienced cricketers, which is very important. The local boys can expect them to win games and lead the team, which isn't always the case for some imported players in their other teams.
" But those expectations won't be a problem at all for these two."