Scots to host cricket qualifiers

SCOTTISH cricket is set for a major boost after being selected to host the biggest global event for non-Test playing countries.

ICC officials will confirm later this month that the 2013 World Cup qualifying tournament will be staged in Scotland. The news was last night welcomed by Cricket Scotland chief executive Roddy Smith who revealed that work will start immediately on preparing for the most prestigious cricketing event to come to the country.

Smith also pointed out that hosting the qualifiers will enhance the national side's chances of reaching the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

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Smith declared: "We are delighted to get the chance to host such an important tournament.

"It is a major task but one which should bring many benefits to Scottish cricket."

The development offers a timely tonic after the national team's failure to qualify for next year's World Cup in the sub-continent.

Pete Steindl's side finished sixth in the 12-team tournament staged in South Africa last spring with only the top four going through.

Smith added: "We wanted the qualifiers to be held in the northern hemisphere because the conditions will be much more favourable to our players.

"It is by no means a free pass to the World Cup itself but hopefully it will be an advantage."

With 11 countries descending on Scotland to play upwards of 60 matches in three weeks, the country's cricketing infrastructure will get a stern examination.

In addition to Grange in Edinburgh, Aberdeen's Mannofield, Titwood on the south side of Glasgow and Ayr's Cambusdoon, several other grounds will require to be brought up to international standard.

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"We already have four grounds with ODI status," said Smith, "But we will probably need to use about eight or nine grounds."

Scotland have happy memories of the last qualifying tournament to be staged in the northern hemisphere in 2007. A side captained by Craig Wright stormed through the competition unbeaten to lift the ICC Trophy in Ireland and qualify for the 2009 World Cup.