Dubai, Oct 16 (IANS) Former Scotland captain Preston Mommsen believes the build-up for Scotland ahead of the men’s T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman has been almost perfect. He also expressed his confidence in Scotland finishing in the top two of their Group B in Round 1 alongside Bangladesh, Oman and Papua New Guinea.
“I think the build-up for Scotland has been almost perfect. They have been together for a good couple of months now. There was a great home series against Zimbabwe which regrettably they should have won. But at the same time, in a roundabout way that may have been a blessing and a bit of a wakeup call to international cricket. You would rather lose then, than in the first round,” wrote Mommsen in his column for the ICC on Saturday.
“The goal has to be to finish in the top two and I’m confident they will. Then it’s about going and expressing themselves in the main event. I’m sure they will cause a few upsets because there is some great individual talent and collectively, they are playing really well. They have come out to Oman and played clinical cricket in the World Cricket League and have been on the money in their warm-up matches,” added Mommsen, who will be commentating on Scotland’s Group B matches in the men’s T20 World Cup in Muscat.
Mommsen is hopeful that current skipper Kyle Coetzer will get a big score in Round 1. “The positive thing is that I don’t think the team is quite firing on all cylinders yet. Kyle Coetzer for instance, has had a few starts but is probably due a big score and hopefully that will come in Round 1.”
Mommsen feels that four teams qualifying from Round 1 to Super 12 is a big motivation for the associate nations, including Scotland. “The motivation for the Associate nations at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup has never been bigger with four teams from Round 1 set to qualify for the Super 12 stage. From a Scotland perspective, they are guaranteed three games in Round 1 against Bangladesh, Oman and Papua New Guinea, but there is the potential for five more games on TV if they can finish in the top two in their group.”
The 34-year-old further explained about how getting more matches in an ICC tournament helps a nation like Scotland.
“That is not just a goal for the players, it provides exposure for Scottish cricket and you find that people back home will watch the games, you can inspire the next generation. It’s the whole trickle effect with sponsors, funding etc.”
“It goes a long way to helping grow the game. I was involved in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand and the format of that tournament meant that there were quite a few fixtures so we were on TV for six weeks and the cricket following back home definitely picked up. It’s hugely important, not just for the players but for the health and growth of Scottish cricket as a whole that they get through to the next round.”
Mommsen had words of praise for Papua New Guinea, who are making their first appearance in the men’s T20 World Cup.
“Papua New Guinea were the team who most impressed me in the World Cup qualifier. At this stage in their development they are best suited to T20 cricket and they seem better able to cope with the conditions and the extreme heat than most of their rivals.”
Mommsen concluded by saying that Scotland need to be wary of Oman, who will be playing their matches at home conditions.
“And Oman on home soil will be a real threat because they have a variety of spinners who will come into effect early on and they will look to exploit the conditions as best they can. I think the Scotland-Oman game is going to be huge in determining the outcome of that group.”
Scotland begin their men’s T20 World Cup campaign against Bangladesh in Muscat on Sunday.