Changes to the InterPro structure and teams over the off-season that sees “27/28 players from Leinster across the InterProvincial teams” means that building the Lightning culture has involved hitting the reset button for Head Coach Nigel Jones.
“It’s a credit to the development work being done in the province. We do have a lot of regulars who’ve played a lot of Lightning games still with us and we can look to build on that now,” says Jones with his typical enthusiasm.
“We will look back on the past experiences and the success, but with a few new guys getting an opportunity to make their own stamp. The previous seasons are the previous seasons, we can only control what’s ahead of us and write our own story now, and the boys are excited about the challenges ahead.
“We’ve talked about resetting the button due to the changes in structure but we’re still keen to live up to and add to the legacy of the Leinster Lightning. If we can manage to stay really focused within our group and train hard on the things we believe will make the difference, then hopefully with seeing each other more regularly and creating that culture it will give us a chance to sharpen our skills.
“Then, when we get out on the park, we’re very ambitious about lifting as much silverware as we can and keeping the legacy going. We’re certainly very keen to go and lift two trophies this season.”
A welcome change for the 2021 season is that the Leinster Lightning are proudly sponsored by LHW Financial Planning
The Lightning play their six IP50 matches in May and Jones is looking forward to having a focused time with the lads for development.
“From a Lightning perspective it’s quite condensed but getting that regular time together as a group will be brilliant. Any player likes to get volumes up and they like to get into cricket so they’re going to get a great opportunity through May and June.”
One youngster itching to get going throughout May is JJ Garth.
“Yeah, I’m really looking forward to the continuity and regular game time in May. There’s a lot of work-ons for me throughout the season. I want to be independent with the bat, show that I’m not just a tailender. Then with the ball, I want to get some good overs under my belt, a good bit of consistency and hopefully a few wickets as well.”
As for his captain George Dockrell, he’s really looking forward to the quick succession of matches after his longest break from competitive action in many years.
“It’s fantastic to be looking at the fixtures and knowing that you’re coming straight into this and you’re right into the thick of it. We’ll need to hit the ground running.
“I think everyone is raring to go and dying to get out there. Knowing that you’ve got those games back-to-back and that a huge chunk of the summer is going to be decided in that first block, you want to start to well and there’s a great opportunity.”
The waiting is almost over as the Leinster Lightning open their IP50 campaign with a home fixture against the North West Warriors on Saturday 1st May at 10.45am. Coverage of the game will of course be brought via the @CL_LLightning @CricketLeinster twitter feeds and with spectators not permitted, a livestream will be provided by HBV Studios, details to follow on the day.
The Leinster Lightning matchday squad for the match against the Warriors will be announced on Thursday April 29th.
Leinster Lightning Core-Group 2021