Strugglers Scotland desperate to end losing streak

Scotland arrive at what will be their third World Cup desperate for a maiden tournament victory after eight defeats combined at the 1999 and 2007 editions.

AFP| Last Updated: Jan 28, 2015, 06:27 AM IST
Strugglers Scotland desperate to end losing streak

London: Scotland arrive at what will be their third World Cup desperate for a maiden tournament victory after eight defeats combined at the 1999 and 2007 editions.

For a non-Test nation, the Scots` World Cup record may not seem that surprising but the fact they bowed out of the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean with a crushing eight-wicket defeat by fellow associate country the Netherlands tells its own story.

For many years Scotland were regarded as one of the premier non-Test nations, supplying an England captain in the late Mike Denness during the 1970s and county stalwarts such as Essex`s Brian Hardie.

However, recently they`ve had to look on enviously as Ireland, the Netherlands and Afghanistan have all shone on the world stage, with Bangladesh making the transition from associate to Test status.

"We`ve underachieved over the last five to ten years," Scotland all-rounder Calum MacLeod told the CricInfo website.

"We need to beat some Full Members (Test nations). If we manage to do that then the exposure of the game will increase," he added, conscious of how such victories have been a catalyst for the growth of Irish cricket.

Scotland`s squad for the World Cup features seasoned Northamptonshire batsman Kyle Coetzer while a change in qualification regulations, which allows British passport holders with Scottish parentage to play for them, has paved the way for the likes of Leicestershire all-rounder Rob Taylor, Sussex batsman Matt Machan and Yorkshire seamer Iain Wardlaw to be included in the 15-man party.

The backroom staff is even more cosmopolitan with head coach Grant Bradburn, a former New Zealand Test cricketer, assisted by ex-England all-rounder Paul Collingwood.

Both Bradburn and Collingwood will be looking to defeat their native countries, with New Zealand, the tournament co-hosts, and England the Scots` opening two pool opponents.

Collingwood, still playing county cricket for Durham, has forged a reputation as a tough, competitive professional and has been helping Scotland with the mental side of their game in particular.

"I always felt in the past that if you got on top of Scotland, then there was no fight," said Collingwood.

"I was just being honest and allowing them to come up with a brand of cricket that they wanted to play. Grasping that has been an important step forward for them."

Collingwood, renowned for his fielding skills, added: "Scotland`s fielding is world-class and it`s an area where we should shine in Australia and New Zealand."

But there is only so much coaches can do and the way Scotland suffered an eight-wicket defeat by Afghanistan in the opening match of the recent associate warm-up series in the UAE would have been a concern.

Scotland though later beat their fellow minnows by 150 runs in Abu Dhabi, a heartening result for skipper Preston Mommsen`s side ahead of the countries` World Cup pool clash in Dunedin.