Colin Ackermann believes Leicestershire can go all the way in the Royal London One-Day Cup this year – and that beating the Notts Outlaws at the Fischer County Ground today (Wednesday) would prove it.
It's been 17 years since the Foxes made it to Lord's for a one-day final, but a comfortable victory over Northamptonshire at Wantage Road last week got them off to the best possible start in the current campaign.
Cup holders Notts also got off to a winning start, beating Lancashire in a high-scoring match at Old Trafford, but then lost to Northants at Welbeck.
“There are only eight games before the knock-out stages, so stringing wins together early on puts you in a strong position and that's what we're looking to achieve,” said Ackermann, the South African batsman in his second year with the county.
“There's no question the mindset in 50 over cricket has changed, we've seen how the scores have gone up in the last couple of years and you have to be more attacking.
“There are still three phases to an innings - the first 10 overs, the 'graveyard' in the middle, when the spinners usually bowl, and the hit at the end. But if the pitch is good and you want to score 300 plus, these days you have to keep a good tempo during the middle overs.
“Personally I like 50 over cricket because it's always part of my game to try and put the bowler under pressure. At the same time, it's vitally important for everybody to know their role, and I think we have quite a good balance in that regard. We have guys who can win games from any position, and guys who can bowl very tight overs under pressure. The feeling in the camp is excellent.”
Head coach Paul Nixon has named a 13-man Foxes squad for the game, with all-rounder Tom Wells coming in for Zak Chappell (shoulder).
“There's no question the mindset in 50 over cricket has changed, and you have to be more attacking.”
“We read the pitch well at Northants and played the conditions to put a competitive score on the board, which we then defended beautifully,” said Nixon.
“It does look an open competition this season and it's about getting a bit of momentum, stringing two or three victories together and winning the tight games. The sun has been out for a few days, so the pitches are going to be good for batting, and I think it will be here.
“Zak just tweaked his shoulder at Northampton so we don't want to risk him at this stage of the season, we want to get him right because there's still a lot of cricket to play.
“Tom [Wells] comes in on the back of a good hundred for the second team, and he's also bowling nicely, he has good variations in the middle overs – he's sort of our [Notts captain and all-rounder] Steven Mullaney.”
Nixon said the good weather forecast and strong opponents made it an attractive fixture for spectators.
“Both sides like to play positive cricket and express themselves with bat and ball, so it should be a really good day for anyone who can make it to the Fischer County Ground,” he said.
Leicestershire squad: Michael Carberry, Paul Horton, Colin Ackermann, Mark Cosgrove, Ned Eckersley, Neil Dexter, Tom Wells, Ben Raine, Callum Parkinson, Gavin Griffiths, Varun Aaron, Lewis Hill, Ateeq Javid.
Entry is just £1 to all for the Notts Outlaws v Warwickshire Royal London One-Day Cup match and Family Fun Day at Trent Bridge this Sunday (27 May), starting at 11am. Secure your tickets here.