Knights won't alter approach to game

Northern Knights coach James Pamment says his side won't be playing catch-up cricket today.

The Knights meet the Auckland Aces in their fifth round Plunket Shield match at the Eden Park outer oval desperately needing an outright win to gain ground on the points table.

Pamment's side are fourth nearing the midway stage of the six-team competition and already 28 points behind leaders the Canterbury Wizards.

However, Pamment said that won't dictate any notable change in approach.

"It won't alter the way we do things at all," Pamment said.

"You start every game of cricket with the intention to win it. We've put ourselves in a position to win every game so far but we've only come up with just one win.

"I suppose one thing we need to look at is the need to bat better in the first innings to try and pick up on some of those first-innings bonus points that we've missed out on so far.

"But in terms of the mentality of how we're going to play, we always look to win games of cricket all the way through every game."

A lack of first innings runs has been a problem for the Knights in recent first-class campaigns, and it doesn't help that the side is again without Black Caps Kane Williamson, B J Watling and Corey Anderson, along with bowlers Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Ish Sodhi.

Daniel Vettori is also unavailable for the four-day match, heading to Australia for domestic Twenty20 duties with Brisbane.

That means Pamment wants his experienced campaigners - the likes of skipper Daniel Flynn, fellow opener Brad Wilson, allrounder Anton Devcich and seamer Graeme Aldridge - to assume greater responsibility in a side which may see prolific Bay of Plenty batsman Bharat Popli make his ND debut.

"That's always the way in any successful team - the big players come to the fore," Pamment said.

"We have some very experienced players, and some very young players, without a lot in the middle. So those senior players know they need to lead very strongly.

"You only have to look across the Tasman and see why the Australian team are performing so well - they have all their best players available at the same time, whereas 12 months ago with injuries they weren't as strong.

"In every sporting team it's important the senior players lead, and lead through performance."

Pamment expects an excellent wicket to help both sides chase an outright win - Auckland are bottom with 21 points.

"Bowlers will be encouraged by extra pace and bounce while for batsmen, once they work really hard to get themselves in, it's a great place to bat."

Fairfax Media