EDINBURGH: Former England Test star Jonathan Trott says Scotland’s batting line-up is full of “match-winners” as they bid to reach the second stage of a T20 World Cup for the first time.
The Scots have fallen at the first hurdle in their three previous appearances, in 2007, 2009 and 2016.
They claimed their first and only win at the tournament five years ago — an eight-wicket triumph in a rain-affected match against lowly Hong Kong — but it was not enough to progress.
However, the rejigged format at this year’s edition in the United Arab Emirates and Oman gives the Scots, ranked 14th in Twenty20 cricket, a real chance.
The top two nations from two four-team groups will qualify for the Super 12 stage, where they will join world cricket’s leading nations.
Bangladesh are Group B favourites, but the other two teams are Oman and Papua New Guinea, both ranked below Scotland.
Trott, who played Test and white-ball cricket for England, was brought into the Scotland set-up to work as a batting consultant in the lead-up to the World Cup and he likes what he sees.
“We have some really good players in this Scotland squad, the batting line-up is full of match-winners,” the 40-year-old told The Scotsman.
“But T20 matches can ebb and flow so much that it can’t be left to one player to perform well.
The whole XI has to play well to get good results.
“In terms of the batters, they are a powerful bunch of lads. It is going to be about who can deal with the pressure and not let the occasion get a hold of the emotions when the World Cup starts.”
In 2007 Scotland finished bottom of a group also featuring Pakistan and India, and in 2009 they finished last in a group with South Africa and New Zealand.
The 2016 tournament gave more opportunities for the lower-ranked nations but Scotland’s victory against Hong Kong was not enough qualify from a four-team group also including Zimbabwe and Afghanistan.
This year could be different. Oman have only competed in the tournament once before and Papua New Guinea are making their first appearance in the competition.
Scotland head coach Shane Burger can call upon the experience of captain Kyle Coetzer, a veteran of the 2009 and 2016 tournaments.
Richie Berrington, Calum MacLeod, Safyaan Sharif, Matthew Cross, Alasdair Evans, Josh Davey, Michael Leask, George Munsey and Mark Watt also boast big-tournament experience.
“This squad has worked hard over a long period of time now and deserves the opportunity to show the world what we are about,” said Burger.
“This is an experienced, versatile and exciting group of players and we’re looking forward to embracing the challenges ahead as a team.”