IT MAY only be days since Scotland clinched their qualification for next year’s World Twenty20 in India but the bid to reach another global tournament begins today when Preston Mommsen’s side face Nepal in the first of two World Cricket League clashes at Ayr.
Finishing in the top two of the eight-team WCL is the first prerequisite in a long and arduous journey which could lead to participation in the 2019 World Cup to be staged in England.
Given the ICC’s highly contentious decision to reduce the number of competing nations at that event to just ten, Scotland’s hopes may be wafer thin. However, the precise format of the qualifying tournament for 2019 is still the subject of intense debate within the corridors of power.
The current plan would see the top two in the WCL join Afghanistan, Ireland and the two lowest ranked Full Member nations, currently Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
However, moves led by Wally Edwards, the influential chairman of the governing body’s powerful Executive Committee, could see four rather than just two Test countries forced to compete in the qualifier.
The addition of the next two in the pecking order, currently Pakistan and West Indies, would see the qualifier elevated to the status of a prestigious tournament in its own right and one of which Scotland want to be a part. Andy Tennant, Scotland’s Director of Cricket, said: “We are monitoring developments closely and will just wait to see what transpires. The bottom line is that we know we have to be in the top two in the World Cricket League and, of course, we want to win it.”
That sentiment is shared by skipper Mommsen who believes Scotland can convert their T20 prowess to the 50-over stage.
Following their successful World Twenty20 campaign they had a further boost last night when three of their triumphant squad were named in the official team of the tournament.
Hard-hitting batsmen Kyle Coetzer and Matt Cross along with fast bowler Ali Evans led the way in the qualifiers and Mommsen said: “There were a few standout performers but it really was a team effort.
“We’re all delighted that the T20 qualifiers went so well but there is a new challenge facing us now and the guys are determined to make a good start to our World Cricket League campaign. Nepal are a talented side but we’re coming off the back of a solid period of representative cricket and are hungry to finish on a high.”
Three of Scotland’s T20 squad – Josh Davey, Calum MacLeod and Rob Taylor – have returned to their counties while Carlton batsman Hamish Gardiner has been drafted in. Their second clash with Nepal takes place on Friday.