New Delhi: How it feels to be a champion and that too not once but on a number of occasions, is what Victoria Bushrangers know the best.
They have shown their supremacy in the shortest version of the game in the KFC Big Bash - the Australian domestic T20 championship - by winning the tournament four out of five times, since its inception in 2005. They just fell short of adding another one to their glory when they finished runner-up in 2008-09 season. With this record, one can only imagine what is in the offing at the Champions League.
The side, which is a perfect amalgamation of experience, determination and attitude, will be led by David Hussey in absence of their regular skipper Cameron White, who decided to play for Royal Challengers Bangalore, the side he plays for in the Indian Premier League. But the stand-in skipper himself is a seasoned campaigner in this format of the game with 127 matches.
Hussey would be looking for a support from Brad Hodge, who is equally experienced in T20s as he is in the other two formats. Another player who would relish South African conditions is Rob Quiney. The left-handed batsman though was unsuccessful on the slow and low wickets while playing for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, would look to give his side a flying start with his opening partner Aaron Finch, the other destructive batsmen in the side.
The two openers would then like to pass the baton to Brad Hodge, who could take his usual number three position, followed by Hussey. Andrew McDonald had done a good job whenever he got the chance with both bat and ball both for Bushrangers and Delhi Daredevils. John Hastings, too impressed with his all-round ability in Big Bash, as the 24-year-old medium-pace bowler finished with the highest wicket taker in the tournament. Hastings is also capable of hitting some lusty blows lower down the order.
Matthew Wade, Bushrangers' wicket-keeper, could bat at No. 7 and if needed he could also demonstrate his big-hitting ability at top of the order. The quartet - Dirk Nannes, Shane Harwood, Peter Siddle and Clint McKay - if put together could form a potent pace attack for the Melbourne-based team.
The only thing that could possibly trouble the Greg Shipperd-coached side is a quality spinner. Though, they have Bryce McGain in their ranks, but he may find it difficult to make his way through, especially in the absence of Cameron White. The 27-year-old is not only a good striker of the ball but also a decent leg break bowler. David Hussey has been extremely successful with his off-spin - 38 wickets in T20s.
Strengths: The confidence of winning a tournament - domestic league - so consistently could be a moral boosting capsule for the side before coming to the event of champions. Combination of experience and youth give this side an extra edge then any other side. These players play together throughout the year, so they know each other extremely well.
Weaknesses: The absence of Cameron White, both as player and leg-spinner, could be the biggest hurdle the side would face when they take the field on Septem 13 against Warriors.
Squad: David Hussey, Ryan Carters, Aaron Finch, Shane Harwood, John Hastings, Brad Hodge, Andrew McDonald, Bryce McGain, Clint McKay, Glenn Maxwell, Dirk Nannes, James Pattison, Rob Quiney, Peter Siddle, Matthew Wade.