CRAIG Wright has refused to discuss his prospects of landing the Scotland coaching job on a permanent basis.
Wright, put in joint interim charge with Paul Collingwood following the sacking of Pete Steindl, will become a frontrunner if the Scots achieve their goal of qualifying for the World Cup. They can take another step in the right direction by beating Canada in Christchurch tonight.
A win would see Scotland progress to the Super Six stage and still in with a chance of claiming one of two places up for grabs at next year’s global tournament. However, Wright will look no further ahead than a potentially tough clash with the Canadians, who also have an outside chance of going through.
The former national skipper, who captained Scotland when they last qualified for a 50-over World Cup in 2007, said: “Everyone in the squad is concentrating only on the Canada game. To be honest, we took over at such short notice that there hasn’t been time for anything other than preparing for this tournament. We’ll see what the future might hold when this is all over.”
In addition to beating Canada, the Scots would like to see UAE overcome Group A leaders Hong Kong, a combination of results which would mean three countries going through to the Super Six stage with two points each. Scotland’s only blip came in a shock opening defeat to Hong Kong, since when they have recovered with commanding performances against Nepal and UAE. Wright added: “We need to continue to believe in what we are doing and impose ourselves on the opposition.
“I’m not sure the mindset has always been right in the past but the ability is definitely there.”
Namibia are already through to the Super Six from Group B and are likely to be joined by Netherlands and Papua New Guinea.
In Australia, meanwhile, captain Alastair Cook set the standard as England sweated through a four-hour training session.
Forty-eight hours after admitting his captaincy was on the line, Cook led his squad through a workout in 35-degree heat in Perth. A lengthy team discussion began the session, before England busily set about preparing for Friday’s fourth one-day international against Australia.
Cook has just two more chances to secure a first win of a troubled tour before flying home, when he is set to make a call on his leadership. The 29-year-old has been backed by his team-mates to remain, but victory in at least one, if not both, of the games that remain in the already-lost ODI series would provide welcome relief.
Hanging over Cook is also the threat of levelling England’s worst ever run of defeats – a sequence of 10 losses in both 2001 and 1993. England have lost nine games in a row in all formats, dating back to last summer. Another defeat at the WACA would also match their longest losing streak against Australia.
It is a sobering thought for Cook, who appeared glum-faced as he admitted after the seven-wicket defeat in Sydney on Sunday that his time in charge of the England team could be close to an end. It was an honest assessment of his situation that James Tredwell believes all England’s players must share.
The spinner said the players were ready to face up to some brutal home truths. “We’re trying to be really honest with ourselves,” Tredwell said. “We understand that we’ve not been good enough on this tour. Our skills need to be better. We’ve not quite put them into practice over a period of time.
“We’ve spoken a lot about pushing back and giving Australia a bit of their medicine but that’s not always easy when the skills aren’t up to scratch. If we are really honest about it that’s been the issue this winter.”
England found a pocket of relief at the picturesque University of Western Australia ground and have three days to prepare for a weakened Australia line-up.