Cricket Australia Items/news/2011/12/22/birt-challenges-bowlers

Birt challenges bowlers

UPDATED 07 February, 2013 2:59PM AEST | by Dejan Kalinic, Sportal

Hobart batsman Travis Birt has challenged his team's bowlers to step up in the absence of Ben Hilfenhaus as the Hurricanes breezed past the Sydney Sixers in the Twenty20 Big Bash League on Wednesday.

The Hurricanes made it two wins from as many matches with the 42-run victory, after setting the Sixers a target of 170 they never looked like chasing at Blundstone Arena.

But, they will have to cope without star paceman Hilfenhaus, who has impressed in both outings, after he was selected in Australia's 13-man squad for the Boxing Day Test against India.

Birt, who struck 65 and was involved in a 107-run second-wicket stand with Phil Jaques (73), said it was up to the remainder of the bowling line-up to stand up.

"We're going to lose Hilf (Hilfenhaus) now, but that just means either Michael Hogan or Luke Feldman has to step up," he said.

"That puts more pressure on Benny Laughlin and Rana (Naved-ul-Hasan) obviously. Everyone's got there little niche in the team and that's why this team has been put together."

Hilfenhaus was named in the Australia squad for the first Test against India, and is likely to be competing against New South Welshman Mitchell Starc for a spot in the bowling line-up.

Jaques, who represents New South Wales in the longer formats of the game, was vital at the top of the order, and Birt said his experience had come in handy.

"We're playing for each other, we're playing as a unit, it's certainly good to have someone of his (Jaques') experience down here," he said.

"Certainly, playing against a Sydney side - that (his experience) certainly helps."

The Hurricanes are top of the table having recorded two wins ahead of their next match - a meeting with the Adelaide Strikers next Wednesday.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 22 December, 2011 8:52AM AEST

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