Preston Mommsen urges Scots to put themselves in shop window

Scotland's cricket squad gathered at Glasgow Airport yesterday before jetting out to India for next month's World Twenty20. Picture: SNS
Scotland's cricket squad gathered at Glasgow Airport yesterday before jetting out to India for next month's World Twenty20. Picture: SNS
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Scotland skipper Preston Mommsen believes his team are ready to grasp the life-changing opportunities at stake at the World Twenty20.

The Saltires were in confident mood as they jetted out for India ahead of the tournament opener on 8 March.

They open their campaign in Nagpur against Afghanistan and also face Zimbabwe and Hong Kong in the preliminary round as they bid to battle through to the second phase, where England and South Africa await among the big guns.

And captain Mommsen knows a positive display could not only help see the Scots through, but potentially put their players on course for lucrative deals in county cricket and perhaps even money-rich competitions like the IPL.

The batsman – who has previously featured for Leicestershire – said: “It is absolutely a shop window for us. We are all one innings, one outstanding performance away from changing our lives.

“I know it’s a cliche but the sky is the limit for our guys. If we can put on a stand-out display it could open a whole host of opportunities up from country cricket to playing T20 in tournaments right around the world. Those are real opportunities for most of us.

“We’ve spoken about that as a group and it’s very exciting for us. Hopefully it inspires us to play even better cricket.”

Scotland have never won a match at a T20 or 50-over World Cup but know three victories are likely required against their fellow minnow nations this time if they are to fight their way past round one.

Grant Bradburn’s team 
hope to use the experience of playing at last year’s 50-over World Cup to their benefit in the sub-continent.

There they faced the likes of joint hosts New Zealand and Australia as well as the English – predictably suffering some comprehensive defeats.

But they also managed to let slip a precious win despite having the Afghans on the rack at 97-7, with Samiullah Shenwari’s 96 helping their rivals eventually snatch victory with just three balls remaining.

Mommsen, though, insists that crushing loss can help motivate his side for next month’s rematch.

“We will use the pain of 
losing to Afghanistan as inspiration for this tournament a lot,” he said.

“I still have sleepless nights about that one. But that is what sport is about. We’ve got another opportunity in game one to take them on, head on. We will be really fired up for it.”

Scotland’s record at major tournaments reads: played 18, won none, lost 17, with one no result.

Head coach Bradburn, though, is confident his team can turn that run around.

He said: “To get out of the group we need to win three games of cricket. That’s the task if we want to get through to the next phase and take on the full-member nations but it’s also the plan.

“The 50-over World Cup last year was of huge benefit to us. We were absolutely gutted not to come back with a victory 
or two.

“We saw the door of victory ajar against Afghanistan but were not good enough to walk through it.

“However, we came back from that tournament hugely excited because we saw where we needed to be and for me as a coach, that made it easier to instil the changes we needed to make.

“We’ve done that and we’re a much more mature side since the World Cup. We feel the floodgates could open now,” added Mommsen.