Saltires set their sights on England from Papua New Guinea

Kyle Coetzer said the Scots had notched up some good wins and now had more belief in themselves. Photograph: Ross Parker/SNS
Kyle Coetzer said the Scots had notched up some good wins and now had more belief in themselves. Photograph: Ross Parker/SNS
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The long countdown to Scotland’s glamour cricket fixture with England starts now – and national team captain Kyle Coetzer believes his side are in a good place and improving all the time as their week of matches with Papua New Guinea gets under way.

Today, Scotland begin a four-day Intercontinental Cup clash with their hosts in Port Moresby and they will then take on the same opponents in two World Cricket League one-day clashes.

The England One Day International is still more than eight months away – taking place on 10 June, 2018 at The Grange in Edinburgh – but it is the one that every player is keen to be involved in.

And what better way to impress head coach Grant Bradburn at the end of a long 2017 season and give him some food for thought than to post some positive results in Papua New Guinea.

If the players, who are led well by 33-year-old batsman Coetzer, do so they will be backing up some really good results from the summer which included victories over Sri Lanka, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

“Before we headed off on this tour everyone was working hard in the gym and in training and there were a few fitness PBs flying around,” Coetzer said.

“PNG is a bit of the unknown, we have been trying to do as much homework as we can, we know it is going to be different conditions than what we are used to and it will be hot and humid.

“It will be hard work and we do expect a few curve balls from our hosts. I am not sure they are going to make it easy and it certainly won’t be a luxurious tour, but for us it is a very important trip and although we don’t know what to expect exactly we have to be switched on and play some good cricket.

“The Intercontinental Cup campaign has been quite frustrating so far because we have lost a lot of time in those four-day matches to poor weather, but in general I was very happy with the cricket we played over the summer.

“We notched up some really good wins and showed people what we are all about and I think now we have a lot more belief going into matches as a unit than we did before.

“This tour will only bring the group closer together as we build up to an exciting 2018.”

As Coetzer mentioned, Scotland’s Intercontinental Cup bid has been blighted by the weather and they sit seventh in the eight-team table with PNG fifth.

They have warmed up for today’s clash with two one-day wins in the Gold Coast, Australia, against Auckland.

Head coach Bradburn said: “It’s been two very impressive performances over the two games against Auckland. To adjust to travel, time-zones, heat and foreign conditions was a major challenge. The players have embraced those challenges superbly and have kicked into gear straight away, which is something we have trained hard for.

“The week of training and games has allowed us to arrive in Papua New Guinea ‘game ready’.

“Consistency of performance is not where we want it to be yet and is something we are very conscious of improving over the next few months.

“The players are all very familiar now with their roles and the positive brand of cricket that as a team we want to bring.

“We all look forward to bringing that confidence and entertaining brand of cricket to PNG who will have the advantage of home conditions.”