Chennai: South African T20 champions Cape Cobras seemed to be reconciled to the thought that their team begin the Champions League tournament this weekend as underdogs, but skipper Justin Kemp and coach Richard Pybus believe that their side is not out for the count.
"Yeah, we realise that there are a lot of fantastic teams here. I think we are underdogs. The other teams have some players who have done exceptionally well in the last few years, but we are confident and can play good cricket.”
"We played here (in 2009) and it is a great opportunity for a lot of young guys and a lot of the older guys too," said Kemp who, incidentally, was a member of the Chennai Super Kings team whom his side faces in a Group A fixture next week.
Pybus, having trained the Pakistani national squad, is only too aware of the conditions in the sub-continent, but admitted that with Super Kings, winners last year, and 2009 champions New South Wales Blues in the group, the task before his team was indeed challenging.
"We have been studying the strengths and weaknesses of our opposition sides. We have got a real challenge in this group, and the IPL teams have an advantage as they know the local conditions better. But we have had a good winter, trained hard and are looking forward to the contest," said Pybus.
Kemp, when asked whether the state units have a better chance since the players have been together over a period of time, held the Super Kings as an example while stressing the point that it was not the case.
"I think it can be an advantage, but if you see last IPL, the Chennai team got together three days before the tournament and won the championship. I think these days cricket is becoming very adjustable and very flexible.”
"They pay you good money, so you just go ahead and do your job. You adjust to your team environment very quickly. So I don`t think it is going to be a massive advantage," Kemp opined.
Both Kemp and Pybus agreed that spin was a definite option although historically, South African teams have always relied on their fast bowlers.
"We have got Robin Peterson, JP Duminy, an all-rounder called Justin Ontong and a young Chinaman bowler, Michael Rippon. So we have got depth in the spin bowling department and it is great to have three South African players (internationals)," said Pybus.
"I think the South African team has over the last few years started to change its dependence on complete, out and out fast bowling and also focused on the spin bowling department. So it is good to have three spinners who could win the game for you," Kemp observed.