Scotland’s cricketers have been tapping the experience of a Calcutta Cup hero for inspiration on how to beat England ahead of today’s glamour one-day international against the world No 1 side at The Grange.
Duncan Hodge scored all the points in Scotland’s famous 19-13 win against the Grand Slam-chasing English 18 years ago and the Edinburgh Rugby backs coach, who played club cricket to a high level and represented his country at Under-19 level before opting for the oval-ball game.
Scotland cricket captain Kyle Coetzer revealed yesterday that he had been with the squad in the build up and passing on tips.
“We’re fortunate enough to have Duncan with us for a few days and his big thing is that when you go out to play a game of cricket, you’ve got to look to win every game,” he said.
“That’s the case with us and while we’ve got to be realistic too, making sure we go out there with every intention of winning the game. Possibly in the past, that may not have been felt throughout the squad but I think it most certainly is now and that’ll show in the style of cricket we’ll play.
“Our head coach Grant Bradburn has been in touch with Duncan since he arrived in Scotland and he’s gone into their environment and tried to find out how different sports can work together. We’ve had Duncan come in as an ambassador, just to give a different view on some aspects of sport.
“And with Duncan having beaten England single-handedly when he scored 19 points is a very powerful message to come across. He’s been here yesterday and into today and so he’s a great person to have around.”
In front of a sell-out crowd and the live TV cameras of Sky Sports and evening highlights on Channel 5, today’s game will be the Scots most high-profile outing of the year and Coetzer welcomed it as a chance to forget the disappointment of failure to qualify for next year’s World Cup in England.
Earlier this year the Scots came so close during the qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe, just falling short in the final game against West Indies.
“We’re extremely proud of how the guys represented themselves in Zimbabwe,” said batsman Coetzer, who will be winning his 50th ODI cap today.
“Obviously we fell at the last hurdle but the way we showed how we played our cricket and the style of cricket we played was seen throughout.
“An occasion like this is always going to be a special occasion and we have to put on a good show.
“I think some people found it harder than others to bounce back [from Zimbabwe]. There was a lot riding on that tournament and there’s quite a bit of time to wait until the next one. We’re not the only sport nor the only country that has to deal with something like that over the next while through the next qualifying tournament.
“It was hard to take and I think some people took it harder than others but the longer you mull it over and wait, the worse it can become so I think that playing some cricket today will benefit everyone.”
Scotland’s batting line-up has been weakened by the absence of youngster Michael Jones, who has returned to Durham to make his first-class debut in the County Championship against Derbyshire at Chester-le-Street.
Coetzer, though, is excited to see Grange batsman Dylan Budge given the opportunity to replicate his stellar club form on the international stage.
“Dylan has performed fantastically since the start of the season,” said the skipper. “I don’t think there’s anyone within the Scotland set-up or even down south who has scored many more runs than him, time after time. His inclusion is well deserved.”