Scots focus on ‘crucial’ warm-ups

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PETE Steindl’s new-look Scotland side will head to the desert two weeks early to prepare for a series of fixtures against Afghanistan.

Several alternative warm-up venues were considered, including South Africa, but the squad will instead base themselves in Dubai from 19 February.

They face the Afghans in a T20 double header on 3 March and compete again in a four-day I-Cup clash later in the month.

However, sandwiched in between are two vital World Cup qualifiers in the 50-over format.

Coach Steindl, whose side are expected to play three warm-up matches, said: “In terms of preparations we will put the emphasis on the 50-over format. Reaching the World Cup is one of our big goals this year and we are pretty well placed at the moment but the games against Afghanistan are crucial.”

The Scots are second in the eight-team table from which the top two will qualify for the 2015 World Cup. They are two points adrift of Ireland, whom they play later this year, but two wins against the Afghans would put them in pole position.

Steindl is expected to name his travelling squad next week and could include new recruits in former Warwickshire all-rounder Neil Carter and Yorkshire pace bowler Iain Wardlaw.