Smith previews Seconds final

Leicestershire CCC seconds head into their Second Eleven Championship Final fixture against Hampshire CCC seconds at the Ageas Bowl tomorrow (Tuesday, September 3).

Leicestershire reached the final with a final day draw against Lancashire CCC Second XI, knowing that a draw and one bonus point would be enough to see them leapfrog Nottinghamshire CCC and Yorkshire CCC.

Hampshire won the south group by seven points, recording a number of impressive wins along the way.

Second XI Head Coach Tom Smith said: “We knew how things stood going into the game, but we always look to try and win the game if possible.

“Of course, it was helpful knowing exactly what we needed to do but it was not something that the lads spoke about and I tried to make sure that they were focused on the game at hand.”

During the season, Smith named a large portion of the Leicestershire first XI in his second XI squad due to availability, and is aware that Hampshire also made use of the available first XI when possible.

He said: “In second team cricket you can have varying teams from week to week depending on the availability of the professional players.

“I don’t think it will have a massive effect if I am honest because our guys have been playing some good cricket over the last few weeks and it is a great opportunity for some of the younger lads to go out there and play a four-day game and to play at a first-class venue.”

Leading up to the fixture, Smith was challenged with his team selection having the first XI available during their 11-day break following the end of their Vitality Blast season before the Specsavers County Championship gets back underway.

He said: “You always have one eye on development, and it is a great opportunity for young Alex Evans and Andy Jones from the Academy to go out there and play four-day cricket.

“But, at the same time you have got to look at the professional squad and see who needs what, really.”

The 33-year old is hoping that his Leicestershire squad relish the occasion of playing in a final at a test ground.

He said: “It is always good to play in finals as players, it’s always good to see how people perform under pressure and there is no better place to do it than at an international venue.

“Of course, it would have been amazing if we could have done it at Grace Road, but we are obviously away, and it is another good chance for these guys to showcase their skills and to go out there and try to win a trophy.”

Finally, Smith concluded that despite the opposition and the occasion, the foundations of victory come from doing the fundamentals well: “You are always going to come up against strong teams.

“Whoever they turn up with on the day, we have just got to go back to our basic skills and make sure that we can do them longer than they can. If we can do that, we’ll come out on top.”

Leicestershire CCC (12): Aadil, Dearden, A Evans, S Evans, Griffiths, Hill, Javid, Jones, Lilley, Mike, Parkinson, Swindells.

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