WITH emerging star Alex Ross getting the Adelaide Strikers’ early Big Bash plaudits, Sri Lankan import Mahela Jayawardena says he and fellow Dad’s Army batsman Brad Hodge are happy to feature as “role’’ players.
Hodge, who will be 41 next Tuesday, and Jayawardena, 38, have made key contributions batting alongside Ross in the Strikers’ two brilliant wins to start their BBL05 campaign.
Skipper Hodge made an unbeaten 56 from 41 balls against the Stars while Jayawardena scored an important 42 off 40 deliveries against the Scorchers as the Strikers accounted for the two competition favourites.
Jayawardena — brought into the Strikers side late because of a serious knee injury to West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard which forced his withdrawal from the squad — says the veteran pair’s roles were to complement the exciting young batsmen around them, in particular Ross and Redbacks captain Travis Head.
“We’ve got the experience to call on and we use that to handle some of the situations that we come across because we’ve been through it so many times before,’’ Jayawardena said of the pair’s calm and methodical batting demeanour.
“It seems quite natural for us so we try to stay in the moment and with the way Rossy has been playing we just need to try to set it up for him, which has been pretty much what we have been doing.
“Personally, as a top-order batsman, it’s important to take control upfront, try to bat through the innings and let the other guys who are strokeplayers and who have the freedom to (hit hard) go out to express themselves.
“We try to complement each other and at the moment we’ve got a good combination going.
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“We just need Trav (who has made 16 and 22) to get going because the way he’s batting in the nets has been brilliant.’’
Jayawardena said he is still finding his Big Bash feet after only arriving in Australia last week following his late call-up to the team.
“It was disappointing to only make a few (5) in the first game but I was happy to be able to contribute against Perth,’’ he said.
“As a team we executed a very good game plan and to keep them to only 151 was a good effort.
“We’ve definitely hit our mark in quite a few areas but I think we can still improve as a team, which is good.’’
Only half of the Strikers side returned to Adelaide yesterday with the other half flying to other parts of the country to visit family and friends for Christmas.
The Strikers’ next match is against Sydney Thunder at Spotless Stadium on December 28 before they play the Sydney Sixers in their annual Adelaide Oval New Year’s Eve blockbuster.[Source:- news.com]