Ahead of Notts Outlaws’ local clash with Leicestershire Foxes in the Vitality Blast on Friday evening, captain Dan Christian has issued a rallying call to his charges as they look to return to winning ways.
The Outlaws currently sit in sixth in the North Group, two points outside the quarter-final qualification spots, with two wins from their six games prior to the short trip to Leicester.
Despite falling short in their last two run chases, the Outlaws have also recorded comfortable wins in this season’s competition, with a particularly crushing victory against local rivals Derbyshire Falcons.
It is those performances which have led Christian to retain his belief that his side have the quality to respond, and he has underlined that conviction ahead of the visit to Grace Road.
“From my perspective, it’s about trying to reinforce that self-belief in everybody and reinforce that their best is more than good enough to be successful in this competition,” the Australian said.
“I think we're doing a lot of things well, we just haven't quite got it together in in the one game just yet. The Derby game, obviously, we played really well.
“Alex [Hales] was magnificent, and we all fed off the back of that, so we're not far away. We just need a couple of blokes to be firing and put it all together at once.
That Hales performance saw the opener pulverise the Derbyshire attack with 91 from just 33 balls last week, and Christian displayed similar pyrotechnics against Yorkshire at Headingley on Monday night, striking 56 off 35.
Steven Mullaney amassed a career-best 79 from 46 deliveries in the same game, and alongside additional fifties for Joe Clarke and Samit Patel, there have also been fine bowling returns for Jake Ball and Luke Fletcher.
For the 39-year-old captain, it all adds up to the morale-boosting notion that the Outlaws are only a fractional distance away from everything falling into place in their T20 campaign this year.
“It was nice to get some runs the other day, and I think the boys have been playing reasonably well. We just sort of haven't all done it at once yet, [but] I think we're pretty close,” he said.
“Samit's been taking some wickets and got a good 60 in one of the games, and [Joe Clarke] got some runs in one. Ben Duckett's been looking really good. So look, I think we're all really close.”
Having played their last three games in the competition in the space of just four days, Christian also went on to discuss the positive impact that a break from the field of play has had on the squad.
The gap of three full days between Monday’s trip to Headingley and tomorrow’s visit to Grace Road represents the largest gap in fixtures since the Blast began.
“I think it's been nice to have a bit of a break where we can get rid of some niggles and things like that,” noted Christian.
“We've had a bit of a reset, where we’ve been able to think about how we've been playing, and a look at those little areas we wanted to improve.”
Alongside the rest period, the extended break also means that by the time play begins in Leicester tomorrow, the Outlaws will be in the position of having at least one game in hand on every other North Group side.
Christian is hoping his side can use that to demonstrate 'bouncebackability', with a local rivalry providing the perfect opportunity to do so.
Albeit, although the prospect of getting one over on the neighbours does exist, it is not one which sits at the forefront of his mind.
“We just need to make sure we're playing well and focus more on what we've been trying to achieve, which is bowlers trying to execute their plans and batsmen trying to execute theirs as well, regardless of the opposition,” said the skipper.
“It’s an extremely easy team to captain, just because there are so many guys in the team that know their roles and have been so successful in their roles for quite a long time now.”
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