CRICKET: BIRMINGHAM Bears skipper Grant Elliott is happy to be leading a team with “lots of match-winners” into the NatWestT20Blast quarter-final against Surrey at the Kia Oval tomorrow.
Elliott, who took over the reins after Ian Bell stepped down as captain, is no stranger to big-games at The Oval, having in played in many over the years, including five T20s for Surrey in 2009.
He has played at the very top in white-ball. Just two years ago he was in the New Zealand side, top-scoring with 83, which lost to Australia in the ICC World Cup final under the Melbourne floodlights.
Now he has T20 glory in his sights and, while acknowledging the strength of Surrey’s powerful side, the 38-year-old is confident in the abilities of the largely youthful team he leads.
“We have a very exciting group of players with lots of match-winners,” Elliott said.
“And everyone in the squad has played a part in this T20 campaign so it’s a very exciting position to be in going into the quarter-finals. Hopefully we can come out on top.
“We have had a lot of changes in our team during the competition and have adapted well with a lot of different players contributing. In T20, two guys can take the game away from the opposition so hopefully those two guys will be on our side on Friday.
“A game in London on a Friday night is always good so it will be a great atmosphere and it would be nice to get a win down there. Surrey are a strong team but we will put our plans together and hopefully we can put a perfect performance together because I don’t think we have done that yet. As a team I don’t think we have been as consistent as we would want to be.
“I have really enjoyed being captain. I didn’t expect it, but it’s just been a case of continuing what we have been doing and trying to be as consistent as we can.”
The Bears are striving to reach their third Finals Day in four years with the added incentive of featuring in the great showpiece on their own home ground at Edgbaston.
“I don’t know what’s better at Finals Day, to play in the middle or be out in the crowd because it is an awesome day,” said Elliott.
“To be in the home team at Edgbaston on Finals Day would be amazing but we have got to block out all thoughts of that tomorrow and just concentrate on the quarter-final.”