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Feature

Southern Brave have 'no excuses' after Will Smeed, Will Jacks centuries leave title defence on line

Southern Brave wristspinner Jake Lintott reflects on two powerhouse innings against champions

Jake Lintott
Jake Lintott
17-Aug-2022
Jake Lintott bowls for Southern Brave during the Men's Hundred  •  Getty Images

Jake Lintott bowls for Southern Brave during the Men's Hundred  •  Getty Images

We are disappointed with how we've played in the first half of the group stages, with one win and three defeats in our first four games. There's no excuses: we've just been a little bit off the pace.
We had a week off after our first game and struggled to find our rhythm against Birmingham Phoenix. We played London Spirit two days later, who have gone really well. We did a lot of things right but just left ourselves a bit too much to do. On Sunday, against Oval Invincibles, we were pretty poor.
Will Smeed and Will Jacks both scored hundreds against us and played really well, but we're not naive: that doesn't just happen randomly. It's not a case of being unlucky that we've had two great innings against us. We tried to stick to plans against them but we probably fed their strengths. We have to be better moving forwards.
Injuries don't help any team. At the draft, the seam attack that was put together featured Jofra Archer, Tymal Mills, Chris Jordan and Craig Overton. At various stages, all four of them have been unavailable. Clearly, we've been a little bit unlucky there but we still feel like we have the players to win games. It's quite simple from here: we have to have a proper shot at winning every game if we're going to qualify.
As I see it, there's no reason why we can't. It only takes one person to play a special innings or bowl a special spell, and things can change really quickly. Our overseas players - Quinton de Kock, Tim David and Marcus Stoinis - haven't quite fired yet but they are all world-class performers and will come good at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later.
We play Manchester Originals on Thursday, who won their first game last night after starting with three defeats. They have a really strong batting line-up on paper and it's really important that we plan well before then. Joe Maiden, our analyst, sends through all the opposition information a couple of days before a game, which will outline each batter's strengths, weaknesses, where to bowl, where not to bowl, all of their preferences.
Some people won't spend long looking at it and others will spend a lot of time on it. I'm quite thorough, just because I came into the professional game late: analysis is such a big thing now, and it's all I really know. For others, who have played for 10 or 15 years, they are happy to focus on themselves. I'll go through everything with Graeme Welch, the bowling coach, and then we'll have a meeting with him, Joe and Mahela Jayawardene to make sure our plans marry up.
It's quite a thorough process, just making sure our plans are ready so that if we execute them on the night, we can really shut batters down. Sometimes you find things out that you didn't know about batters and that means it's worth looking into: you might find out that, randomly, a particular batter struggles to score against wide cut-balls.
Manchester's line-up is very strong: Jos Buttler and Phil Salt opening up, plus some quality overseas players like Andre Russell and Tristan Stubbs in the middle order. It'll be a good test for us, and an opportunity to put things right. Personally, I'm really looking forward to the challenge of bowling against some of the best players in the world.
The standard this season has been very high. Every team is star-studded and going up against the world's best is a great gauge of where you're at. A lot of the overseas players this year are big names which adds pressure, but I have to try and break the game down so that I'm really clear with my plans.
It's easy when you're in the flow of the game to end up just bowling without thinking, and that's when you can make mistakes. I've been a little bit disappointed with certain deliveries, but that's part and parcel of bowling wristspin. I've still got a lot of confidence in myself that I can make a big impact on games moving forward.
I'm really looking forward to playing against Jos. We trained together at Somerset when we were much younger, and we played a bit of school cricket against each other: he went to King's College, Taunton, and I was at Queen's. He was still as formidable then as he is now. I haven't come across him much since then but Thursday should be a really good challenge, bowling to one of the best batters in the world.

Jake Lintott is a left-arm wristspinner for Southern Brave and Warwickshire