Notts Outlaws face only their second away trip in the NatWest T20 Blast this week, with a visit to Grace Road on Thursday night.

With Leicestershire Foxes lying in wait, Ajmal Shahzad is aware of the task at hand for the Outlaws.

“The crowd is massively against you, and the whole experience at Grace Road is quite tough,” he said.

“As soon as you get there the dressing rooms are tiny, there’s a staircase that is so steep, it’s about 80 degrees to drag your bag up. The wicket is quite flat too, which doesn’t help us.

“They play their championship cricket in the second division, they’re probably not the best four day side but when it comes to T20 they have some strong players.

“They have a few bits and pieces cricketers, who take the pace off the ball well and hit clean balls out of the park. It’ll be tricky but if we can execute our skills well we should have enough.”

The Outlaws are enduring a hit and miss first summer of the T20 Blast, with two wins and three losses placing them seventh in the competition’s North group. With the Foxes one position lower, Shahzad didn’t underestimate the importance of a win at Grace Road.

“There’s a bit of pressure,” he said.

“Everyone talks about how good our team is on paper, nine out of 11 with international experience but it’s on our minds.

“It seems we’re doing one of the two skills well, and not backing them up with either bat or ball to make sure we win.

“It was disappointing to lose last week against the Bears but these games coming up are massive, and if we can get two wins we’ll push ourselves right back into the mix.

“It has to start on Thursday, and a win at Grace Road should lift us into Friday and then on to Somerset on Sunday.”

With the Notts batting order boasting hugely talented individuals, alongside a powerful seam attack, the Outlaws would have hoped for a better start, certainly at home. For Shahzad, however, different personalities come into play when the team travel in the T20.

“Playing at home, we benefit from the likes of Siddle, Jaques and Andre who are big personalities, playing away the likes of Hales and Andy Carter, they come out of their shell a bit and give us a bit of impetus," he said.

"I’ve only been here for a year and a half, but I can already feel the importance of Nottinghamshire’s rivalries.

“When I was at Yorkshire whenver we played Lancashire that match was massive for us, and the reverse when I was on loan with Lancs.

“Leicestershire will be big for us, they’re our neighbours and it means a lot to us.

“We’re in a different division in four day cricket but they’re always there in the white ball game and we’ll be looking to get one over on them.”


Notts Outlaws NatWest T20 Blast fixture and ticket information:

v Derbyshire Falcons – Friday 20 June 6pm BUY TICKETS
v Yorkshire Vikings – Saturday 28 June 2.30pm BUY TICKETS
v Leicestershire Foxes – Sunday 20 July 2.30pm BUY TICKETS

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