Peter Moores has challenged his Outlaws side to impose their talents on this week’s Vitality Blast quarter-final, as Notts prepare to face Middlesex on Thursday.
Speaking in the latest instalment of the Notts CCC podcast All In, the head coach praised the Outlaws’ performances in Vitality Blast so far, but insisted that the green and golds will only be content if they lift the trophy.
“You’ve got to be ready to take responsibility to deliver on the day,” said Moores of this week’s clash.
“They’re nervy days, but I often say to the lads ‘get nervous early’, so by the day itself you can relax a bit.
“On those days, you hope you represent yourself well as a team. If somebody beats you, you go home gutted but you can live with that.
“If you haven’t played your style and your game, then that’s what makes it even harder.
“Don’t take any comfort whatsoever from getting to the quarter-final, because whether you lose in the last group game, the quarter or the semi, they all feel the same.
“You reach the point when you want to win it. We’ve got to that point, and when we get to the quarter-final, our job is to front up and let go.
“You don’t get many days like this, so if you can think ‘you know what, I’m coming in to play my game’, then that’s the way to be successful.
Episode nine of the behind-the-scenes series also follows Steven Mullaney as he continues his rehabilitation from a knee injury.
The club captain emphasises the importance of not rushing back, whilst admitting that he’ll be envious of the XI that take the field for the upcoming quarter-final.
“I think what comes in to my mind, especially as captain, is not wanting to let the team down,” he said.
“If I go into a game and say my knee’s okay and I know deep down it’s not, then I could put the team in a tricky situation.
“I’ve been helping out with coaching a bit while I’ve been out, and I’ve really enjoyed seeing what the coaches go through when we’re out there in the middle.
“But I’ll be jealous of the guys during a home quarter-final, because you feel like you’re playing in front of 50,000 people. I can’t explain the feeling if you’ve not been out there – it’s unbelievable.”
Batsman Chris Nash, meanwhile, has given an honest account of his long journey back to full fitness after a serious shoulder injury last season.
The 36-year-old also disclosed the pain he has felt at missing out on a place in the Outlaws’ T20 starting XI.
“There was the initial fear that I’d never play white-ball cricket again, and I’ve never worked so hard in my life to get back to a point where I could play white-ball cricket,” he said.
“I played in the 50-over competition, then set my sights on T20 as being a really big competition for myself.
“Over the past ten years I’ve been up there as being one of the top run-scorers in the country, so to be around the squad and not play has been really hard.
“I always thought as a 21-year-old that cricket would get easier, but it gets harder and harder.
“Your expectation levels go up, you think about how many years you’ve got left, and you want to perform to your highest standard.
“My overriding ambition is that – if I get a chance – nobody comes to tell me I’m not playing again.”