The West

Scorchers stick to old plan for Champions League
Herschelle Gibbs. Pic: Getty Images

Perth Scorchers will enter the Champions League today determined to maintain the high-risk but high-return strategy that helped them qualify for the international club competition.

As South Australian paceman Joe Mennie prepares to make his Twenty20 debut in place of the injured Nathan Coulter-Nile, Scorchers captain Marcus North said employing an extra bowler had been the crux of his team's winning approach in the Big Bash.

The Scorchers are set to use three seamers and two spinners today while relying on their powerful opening combination of Shaun Marsh and Herschelle Gibbs and another four front-line batsmen to combat the Titans on the bouncy Centurion ground.

"We intend to stick to what worked in the Big Bash last year when we played the extra bowler rather than the extra batter," North said.

"It was a format that was high risk but high reward. We were very aggressive with the ball, we used two spinners and the balance of the squad enables us to play that way.

"The fact is that the way the game is played the top six make most of your runs and it is all about taking wickets in the first eight overs.

"If you take three or four wickets in the first eight you won't lose too many games.

"We think we will use our best six batters, have a bit of extra depth in our bowling and if the blokes batting seven, eight and nine can come in and make 10 off six balls we are confident it will work.

"It is a risk but it worked last year at the Big Bash and when you have success and win games that way it gives you confidence."

While North was confident there would be a full squad to pick from today, Coulter-Nile experienced groin soreness in WA's recent Sheffield Shield loss to Victoria and is unlikely to be risked for the first week of the $2.3 million tournament.

The 23-year-old Mennie was signed by the Scorchers after claiming seven wickets in a shield match at the WACA Ground last December, prompting a furious reaction from Redbacks coach Darren Berry, who accused Warriors rival Lachlan Stevens of poaching.

Mennie did not make an appearance for the Scorchers.

Perth will select a team that differs little from the combination that lost the Big Bash final to the Sydney Sixers with North identifying continuity as a significant benefit.

Shaun Marsh played only one match last summer - for 99 not out - and will most likely replace England veteran Paul Collingwood in the line-up.

"One of the advantages we have is that we have exactly the same squad but with an extra player in Shaun Marsh who only played one game," North said.

"We have a stronger squad than we had in the Big Bash."

India's vast influence on the world stage is evident with four Indian Premier League teams in action. Australia and South Africa have two each.

North is excited by the prospect of taking on some of the biggest names in world cricket.

"We intend to stick to what worked in the Big Bash last year when we played the extra bowler."" Perth captain * Marcus North *

The West Australian

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