Playing Scorchers first is an advantage for us: McKenzie

Ahmedabad: Lions cricketer Neil McKenzie on Sunday said playing Perth Scorchers first instead of subcontinent side will be an advantage for the South African outfit in the ongoing Champions League Twenty20.

"The only positive thing is playing the Scorchers (Perth) first because they`re not a subcontinent side. So they`ll also be happy to adjust to the conditions. It will be even for both teams," McKenzie, who will be discharging his duties in the middle-order, told mediapersons here.

Regarding Perth Scorchers, he said: "They`ve brought a young side, with a few old players. So, they`re still a quality side."

Asked how much difference would Chris Morris` absence make, he said: "It`s a bit of a loss for us. Chris is a big player for us over the years. Obviously, he is an all-rounder and then he chips in with some useful runs with his big hits down the order."

"He`s got an IPL contract with Chennai Super Kings, which is great for him. It`s a feather in his cap that they want to keep him. It`s a bit of a loss for us. But we`ve got a big squad which gives everyone an opportunity to perform."

On looking to go one up from their last year`s runner-up performance, he said: "We`re going to take one game at a time. Looking at the quality of sides on offer, all of them can win. I think whichever side gets used to the conditions as quickly as possible will benefit the most."

Asked about the pitch on offer here, he said: "Of what we saw last night and the qualifiers, the pitch seems to offer bounce, seam and swing movement. It`ll be hard for the batsmen."

When asked about the innovations that the game has seen since the advent of T20, he said: "I don`t think the bat will get any bigger. They`re already big enough. Some years back, the doosra emerged. Then came the switch hit, then the lap. May be, some other innovation this time...."

About the prospects of a shortened India-South Africa series, he said: "When two quality sides clash, there should be as much cricket as possible. Spectators want that, that`s what you pay money for. The more cricket you get between quality sides, the better it is."

Scorchers` Michael Beer said that though their side has been depleted by injuries to some of their key players, the current squad has been training together since winter.

"We have been training together since winter. A lot of guys have come up and we know they can replace them."

Scorchers are missing injured Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh and Patrick Cummins while Mike Hussey will turn up for CSK in the Champions League. Alfonso Thomas`s services will also be not available to the Western Australian team due to his commitments with English county side Somerset.

On having former Test opener Justin Langer as the team`s coach, Beer said, "To have someone like him is very good. He has a lot of experience and is very good with the youngsters."
When asked about their chances in the tournament, southpaw Marcus North said a lot will be determined by the playing conditions.

"The pitches here are the first challenge. We need to adapt to the conditions. Our preparations have been very good. Conditions are similar to what we had (in Darwin). The training facility here in Ahmedabad is excellent and it has given a lot of exposure to the conditions."

On the difference in T20 league in Australia and India, he said: "The boundaries here are really short."


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