Ben O'Connell.
Ben O'Connell. Contributed

Calling shots in quest for national crown

THE Ipswich brains trust of Ben O'Connell and Len Martin has clearly defined roles in their quest to lead Queensland Country to a national title in Geelong next week.

Coach Martin sees his job as preparing the players physically and mentally, then handing over to O'Connell once play starts.

"Ben will control everything on the field," Martin said.

"My job is to get the players ready to play with their warm-up and talk to them about certain aspects of their game.

"Ben has got a huge role to play.

"It's his job and he'll do it wonderfully."

O'Connell admits he has a task getting to know all his teammates in camp at Albion this week.

Knowing what makes each player tick will be crucial and it is the captain that manages it best that is likely to find himself holding the shield aloft at the end of the championships.

"Some players can run on emotion and take five wickets," O'Connell said.

"Others will be more reserved. Over the next couple of days I'll get to know the North Queensland blokes better."

O'Connell hasn't picked up a bat since returning from Central Districts' tour of India on December 23 but doesn't think he'll have too much trouble re-acclimatising to Australian conditions.

The pitches in India were low and slow - the opposite of what Australian pitches are renowned for, though Martin predicts the pitches in Geelong will be good to bat on.

"All the pitches will be similar," Martin said.

"You don't know what it's like until you get there but I don't think they'll be raging seamers unless there's rain around."


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