McKenzie: Lions have good mix of experience

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Highveld Lions batsman Neil McKenzie feels the team going to the Champions League T20 in India has the right blend of youth and experience, and will do well despite the foreign conditions for many of the players.

Highveld Lions batsman Neil McKenzie feels the team going to the Champions League T20 in India has the right blend of youth and experience, and will do well despite the foreign conditions for many of the players.

The Lions reached the final of last year's edition, played in South Africa, losing to the Sydney Sixers in the end. This time though, they have a bit more experience under their belts, with a number of Proteas in their ranks.

Aside from McKenzie, a former South Africa opener, the Lions can call on current international players like Quinton de Kock, Alviro Petersen, Aaron Phangiso and Lonwabo Tsotsobe, as well as former Pakistan bowler Sohail Tanvir.

McKenzie said: "We tend to mix it up a bit, we've got a few spinners that have come through the ranks that have done really well in South African conditions. Phangiso has played international cricket, so has Imran Tahir.

"So that's two in our favour. Sohail Tanvir is from Pakistan so he knows exactly what to expect. Then we've got pace upfront. Hardus [Viljoen] hasn't played anywhere other than South Africa so it's going to be a big experience for him. Dwaine Pretorius is another."

The veteran Hampshire batsman said of their runner-up status in last year's contest: "Being the hunted team, or the known team, what we showed last year is that we're a quality outfit.

"I think five or six of our guys represented South Africa. If you look in the squad now there are a few household names which there weren't last year."

The skipper acknowledged that this time the conditions will not be as favourable for his players, and they will have little time to get used to the pace of the pitches and such, but he felt confident the experienced players would be of help in this regard.

He added: "With the format of the T20s we have had only a few practice games so it's not like the real thing. Like any competition, especially the T20, we have to hit the ground running.

"We're in foreign conditions and we have to take as much as we can from the practice facilities and the practice games we've got and go from there. We have to start well and run with it.

"Luckily enough, there have been a few guys involved in SA 'A' games and I've been overseas as well as one or two of the other guys."

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