Daunting challenge awaits - Kabir
Kabir Ali is aware of the difficult task facing Hampshire as they look to reach the Champions League competition proper - especially after yesterday’s heavy warm-up loss.
The Royals, victors in the Friends Life t20, suffered a comprehensive defeat against Uva Next, initially stuttering to 135 for eight.
Due to the fact it was not a competitive fixture, the Sri Lankan side were allowed to bat through their innings and duly struck 188 for eight in 18.4 overs.
That gave Kabir et al an indication of what they will come up against in their three-team qualifying group - in which Hampshire are alongside Auckland Aces, whom they face on Wednesday, and Sialkot Stallions.
“It was a tough start,” he told ecb.co.uk. “We only got here on Saturday morning and had a practice session then. The boys had a hard day at the office.
“Some of the guys got what we wanted and we have more days of practice before the competition starts.
“All six sides (in the two qualifying groups) are strong with big names. Even the local players are very strong and we have to be at our best.”
Australian Andrew McDonald starred for Uva Next with the bat, striking Hampshire’s bowlers to all parts in a belligerent 70.
Kabir added: “We are glad to get the game under our belt. Obviously, we would have liked a better result than that but we will practise hard.
“I didn’t realise he (McDonald) hit the ball so well; we tried a couple of different things but it was just his day. He’s a top player in Twenty20 cricket and he batted well.
“On his day, he can take a side down and he did that to us today. But we have only just landed and hopefully we can get things right and get cracking. We have a good, young side with great experience.”
Despite the disappointment of yesterday’s loss, Kabir could not hide his excitement for the competition itself.
He said: “You’re playing against the world’s best players; the sides that have done well in their own countries are all here and well prepared.
“You have big names and it is a great experience for youngsters and also the senior players.”