Gloucestershire must attempt a winning start in the NatWest T20 Blast without new overseas signing Thisara Perera when Middlesex visit the Cheltenham Festival tomorrow (Friday).

The Sri Lankan all-rounder does not arrive until next week, but should be available for the T20 clash with Kent at the College Ground next Thursday.

Michael Klinger returned to England at the beginning of the week and is ready to lead Gloucestershire against Middlesex in what head coach Richard Dawson expects to be a run feast for a packed crowd.

Dawson said: “Not only are there some short boundaries at Cheltenham, but the outfield is lightning quick.

“Spectators love to see high-scoring T20 games and I don’t think they will be disappointed. There are players on both sides capable of very quick scoring.”

Star attraction for Middlesex will be Brendon McCullum, the New Zealander who rivals the biggest hitters in the world cricket and boasts two centuries in T20 internationals.

The 35-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman is set to captain the visiting side and Dawson admits that if it is his day Gloucestershire will face a mighty task.

“You can make all the plans you want for a player like McCullum and he can still take you to the cleaners,” he said.

“The best policy is for the bowlers not to think too much about who is at the other end. He didn’t make runs against us for Middlesex in the T20 last season and hopefully we can keep him quiet again.”

Gloucestershire go into the game boosted by the ten-wicket Specsavers County Championship win inside two days against Glamorgan.

The team will show several changes, with Klinger likely to be joined in the squad by Ian Cockbain, Benny Howell and Tom Smith.

Klinger has been taking part in Western Australia’s preparations for a new domestic season since flying home after Gloucestershire’s Royal London One-Day Cup campaign and has a habit of making big runs in the first match of his stints with the county.

He has already called on his team-mates for a massive all-round effort if they are to reach the knock-out stage of the NatWest Blast “There are some teams with one or two high profile players who can take a game away from you” said Klinger.

“The way to overcome that is to have more players contributing and it doesn’t necessarily have to be the same people all the time.

“Last year although one bowler would generally go for a lot of runs we had four others bowling well and taking wickets.

“If one or two of the top order batsmen got out cheaply, the middle order stepped in. If you look at when we have done well in short format cricket it’s been when everyone plays their specific role.”