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'There's pressure on us. Everyone will want to beat the team that won it last year'

Souther Brave wristspinner Jake Lintott describes the "buzz" ahead of the second season of the Hundred

Jake Lintott
Jake Lintott
Jake Lintott celebrates a breakthrough with Tymal Mills, Southern Brave vs Oval Invincibles, Men's Hundred, Ageas Bowl, August 16, 2021

Jake Lintott celebrates with Southern Brave team-mate Tymal Mills  •  Getty Images

I was a wildcard pick for Southern Brave last year and had no real expectations going into the Hundred: I thought I would be carrying the drinks for most of the tournament. Being that bit different, bowling left-arm wristspin, I hoped I would get a chance but I knew I wouldn't start and it felt like a bit of a free shot.
It's a different situation for me coming back down this year and I had a real buzz to get to the Ageas Bowl when I drove down to the hotel on Monday morning to meet up with the squad. Having done well last year - personally and as a team - I want to try and replicate that. There's a really good vibe around the group, having won the competition last year.
We know what to expect now. That uncertainty has gone, but the level of excitement definitely hasn't. When you're all in the same hotel, you spend a lot of time together and create some tight-knit friendships: it's been really good to see some old faces but also some new ones as well.
I think everyone expects us to do well again. We've got a really good side on paper which is really well-suited to conditions here. The coaches and Joe Maiden, our analyst, have put a squad together which covers all bases. There's pressure on us and everyone will want to beat the team that won it last year. It's a different challenge, but we'll give it a really good crack.
We've got three of the best overseas players you can get, plus Finn Allen and Paul Stirling coming in later in the competition as well. Quinton de Kock is one of the best at what he does at the top of the order, and is brilliant at managing the game behind the stumps. I've never played with or against Marcus Stoinis before but he's one of the best around and Tim David - "Timmy D" - is the same: he gives us real firepower and when you play your home games on a big ground, having someone who can hit it 100 metres is pretty handy.
We've got Rehan Ahmed this year too, who I took under my wing a bit when we were with the England Lions. He's got all the credentials to play international cricket in the future, but it's really important that we as players - and the media - understand that he's only 17. Legspinners have ups and downs and have to deal with those, but he seems like a really level-headed lad, impressive in his attitude and fearless.
"It's my ambition to play for England, it's something I think I can do. I have a nice point of difference as a left-arm wristspinner"
Playing for the Lions against South Africa was a great opportunity for me. I loved it, and I really enjoyed how relaxed the environment was. It gave me a taste of the next level and I definitely want to keep improving so I can get myself in the frame again moving forwards.
It's my ambition to play for England. I want to do that, and it's something I think I can do. I have a nice point of difference as a left-arm wristspinner. It's in the back of my mind but at the same time, it's about me putting in performances in the Hundred and the rest will take care of itself. There potentially is a gap in the T20 squad for a back-up spinner but I just need to focus on taking as many wickets as possible.
I feel like I'm ready to play a big role for Southern Brave this year. I took on a role like that with Warwickshire in the Blast and bowled some tough overs, including at the death, so I feel I'd like to take on some more leadership this year if that's what the team needs.
We play Welsh Fire in the opening game of the season on Wednesday night and they have a great side. Out of every team, comparing squads from last year to this season, they look the most improved and have a lot of batting firepower now. We'll have to make sure we're on it, because they could be up there at the back end of the tournament.
Looking across the competition, there's a wealth of talent throughout every squad, so the tournament should be pretty box-office. It's a format where it can go either way on the night and a game can turn against you quite quickly if you don't show up. There's some quality overseas players involved but the depth of white-ball cricket in this country means that every team will be really strong.
Last summer, everyone locally got behind both the women's and the men's teams and there was a really good vibe to it, so it will be different tomorrow night and it's a shame that we're the only team playing. It'll be great when we the women get back from the Commonwealth Games and we're all playing at home together, because the Ageas Bowl was a bit of a fortress for both teams last year.

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