Scotland cricketers back racism report findings as captain Richie Berrington pledges 'positive change'

Scotland will today return to action when they take on New Zealand in the first of two T20 internationals at The Grange.

Just more than a week after completing three wins from four in their latest series of World Cup League 2 fixtures against Namibia and Nepal, the Scots will require to step-up several notches against the star-studded Black Caps.

Unavoidably today’s fixture goes ahead against the backdrop of the racism scandal that has rocked Scottish cricket in the last 48 hours, a point not lost on skipper Richie Berrington who nevertheless insists his players will be fully focused on the job in hand.

Berrington said: “The players welcome the report and are fully supportive of the recommendations it makes.

“I’ve said it before that there is no place for racism in cricket and we just want to make sure there are equal opportunities for everyone. We welcome positive change in the game we all love.

"Nobody should have experienced racism or discrimination in cricket and my heart goes out to everyone who has suffered. I want to be part of the positive change in our game and I truly hope we can heal as we move forward.

“Going back out on the field again gives us an opportunity to get everyone talking about cricket for the right reasons and we’re determined as we always are to go out there and showcase our skills in front of a home crowd.”

Turning to the challenge of facing one of the best white ball teams in the world, Berrington is under no illusions about the size of the task against a team who last week completed a 3-0 clean sweep against Ireland in the short format.

Scotland skipper Richie Berrington says his players back the findings of the report into institutional racism within Cricket Scotland. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

However, Scotland can take some encouragement from their Super 12 T20 World Cup performance against the same opponents last year when they went within 16 runs of their rivals.

The captain added: “We had mixed feelings about that game – yes, we ran them quite close and there were many positives to take but we missed a couple of chances to win the match.

“Now we have three big opportunities in the next few days to take on a Full Member and hopefully show what we’re all about as a team.

New Zealand are obviously a quality team with so many dynamic players in their batting line-up and they also have one of the best fielding units in the world.

“But we have to focus on our own strengths and we are lucky to have so many options.”

For the first time in many years Kyle Coetzer will not be involved, the former national skipper having last week announced his retirement from international T20 cricket, perhaps opening the door for either Oli Hairs or Craig Wallace to step in, the pair having been in outstanding club form for Watsonians and Forfarshire respectively.

Berrington declined to reveal the likely starting line-up but did suggest that the right-hand/left-hand combination which has worked well at the top of the order will prevail.

Meanwhile, Durham’s opening batter Michael Jones, who will come into the squad for the second T20 and Sunday’s ODI against the Black Caps, warmed-up in style yesterday by making the maiden double century of his first-class career.

The 24 year-old, who already has eight Scotland caps, hit a superb 206 in his side’s Championship clash with Middlesex at Chester-le-Street.

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