Lancashire Thunder assistant coach Tom Smith has urged his players to go out and show everyone their talent when they take on defending Kia Super League (KSL) champions Southern Vipers at Liverpool today.
A 51-run defeat to Loughborough Lightning at Blackpool on Sunday was the Thunder’s third in a row at the start of the competition, leaving them bottom of the table.
In one of his first coaching roles since being forced to retire from county cricket last year, Smith says he has seen a huge amount of talent in a young squad and expressed how much he has enjoyed his new role.
Although their chances of qualification for this year’s Finals Day are remote, they could still get through with two bonus-point victories and other results going their way.
Realistically, he is hoping the side can use the final two games to underline their talent and prepare themselves for next year.
“We still have two chances to win a game of cricket, which is obviously what you want to do,” Smith said.
“We want to go out there and express our talent and show how good we can be.
“We will look at the pitch and see if it suits a change.
“I’m enjoying being able to try and win a game – that would be nice!
“The transition has been great into coaching, I’ve had some great opportunities so far. I’m really enjoying it and learning a lot quickly.
“We have some really promising young players coming through the system, which is great.
“Next year it’s a ten-game competition and we have got a lot of good young players. Hopefully we can put up a better fight then.
“The competition is growing massively. The games that we’ve been involved in have been a great advert for the game.”
All-rounder Natasha Miles is taking part in her second season for Lancashire in the KSL and has played in each of their three defeats so far.
The 28-year-old is Middlesex’s T20 captain and began her career playing in the Hong Kong men’s leagues as a 15-year-old.
She made her international debut for Hong Kong before deciding to chase England honours.
Miles echoed Smith’s calls for the players to express themselves in these final two matches.
“We really want to take our personality back out on to the field,” she said.
“We have been in our shells a little bit because we’ve lost one or two games and we want to express ourselves and have a lot of fun which is what we’re more than capable of doing.
“There is a lot of talent in this squad for sure, we have people who can bat all the way through and we’re not quite doing it but they are definitely able to.
“We just need to transfer what we are doing in practice and put it into the game.”
Miles is also looking forward to the expansion of the KSL.
“It’s a fantastic competition, it’s just a shame it’s so short,” she added.
“It will be great when it moves to ten games. I think that will make a difference because it will improve the quality of cricket everyone is playing and make it a more rounded competition.”
Stay up to date with all the goings on in the competition – including tickets, fixtures, results and team news – using our dedicated Kia Super League section.