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by Sandeep Shivam Thursday 16 July 2015
St Lucia Zouks all-rounder Nathan McCullum was relieved after his side got over the line in a tense last-ball finish, nailing a four-wicket win over Trinidad & Tobago in the Caribbean Premier League on Wednesday.
Speaking to Cricket World, McCullum confessed that his team was fortunate to get across the line with 17 runs needed off the final over that was bowled by Trinidad skipper Dwayne Bravo.
With Bravo known for his variety of slower deliveries, McCullum revealed that the idea was to attack with a pre-determined mindset which eventually worked.
“Everytime you need 17 off the last over, you need some sort of luck,” said McCullum.
“Especially when you have an experienced bowler like Dwayne Bravo bowling.
“So, we were looking at what he might offer. We knew there would be a lot of slower balls.
“So, we just had a go at those and then I got out but Ross (Taylor) finished it off well.
“We needed a bit of luck with 17 needed and it’s great to get over the line.”
Like all overseas players who are participating in the CPL, McCullum too had words of appreciation for the flavor of the tournament.
“It’s a wonderful place to play cricket.
“Pretty chilled out and it’s been a good experience.
“It’s definitely the biggest party in the sport going on.”
St Lucia Zouks have had a good CPL season this year and are currently in third place with nine points from as many games.
When asked about the reasons behind his side’s stupendous success this year, McCullum found it difficult to point his finger at a single one.
While praising the all-round depth of the side, McCullum credited the opening pair of Johnson Charles and Andre Fletcher as the key forces behind St Zouks’ success.
“It’s hard for me to say.
“We’ve got three big fast bowlers and some fine spin options too.
“Our opening batsmen Fletcher and Charles have given us great starts that have helped the other batsmen to bat freely.
“Always great to have such a fine platform consistently.”
Although the shortest format of the game is all about youth and unorthodox cricket, McCullum maintained that experience was a huge factor in Twenty20s.
Citing the example of former South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis who performed brilliantly for Trinidad on Wednesday, McCullum hopes to use his experience for the well being of his squad.
“Experience is huge in T20.
“Jacques Kallis showed it yesterday as he just knew what to do in the format.
“He showed us that there is scope for orthodox shots even in this format.
“Even with the ball, he used his experience.
"So I’m trying to pass over my knowledge to the younger guys. That’s what the CPL is for.”
While the win over Trinidad was a great moment for St Zouks, McCullum is aware of the importance of Friday’s game against Guyana.
The 34-year-old hopes that his side can carry forward the momentum from Wednesday’s win into the clash against Guyana - a match where a win for St Lucia Zouks almost confirms them a semi-final berth.
However, McCullum doesn’t want his team to look too far forward in the tournament and hopes they take it one match at a time.
“The boys are happy after yesterday’s game but this is a big match for us.
“A win will almost guarantee us a semi-final spot.
“We want to make sure that we’re in the semi-finals.
“Once we get there, it can be anybody’s game.
“First things first, go out there on Friday and we’ll see how it goes.”
With just five points separating the teams, this year’s CPL season has been extremely competitive and McCullum put it down to the balance attained by all the franchises.
McCullum also credited the all-rounders present in all the teams as a major factor behind their successes so far.
“All teams have had one or two players performing consistently for them while the rest have chipped in well.
“All the teams have been balanced and adjusted well to the various conditions.
“The teams have had all-rounders who have done well.
“That’s been a huge factor.”
McCullum expressed happiness when asked about his personal experience in the CPL season this year with the Zouks.
Happy with the carnival atmosphere of the team and tournament, McCullum is also pleased to be contributing towards the growth of the local talents.
With the tournament nearing its knockout stage, McCullum is hopeful that his team can go all the way in the CPL season.
“I have had a great time so far.
“It’s been great to be involved to meet the younger guys and to experience the culture as well as the team environment.
“We get along really well and are having one hell of a time.
“It’s been entertaining for people to watch.
“The crowds have been great and I hope it continues.
“Hopefully we can be a part of the tournament till it ends.”
McCullum joined Zouks as the second replacement for Bangladesh all-rounder, Shakib-Al-Hasan, who had to miss the tournament due to national duties.
Nathan McCullum is playing for the St Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League. The Biggest Party in Sport runs from 20th June to 26th July.
© Cricket World 2015