The ICC T20 World Cup gets underway in Oman today with hosts Oman taking on Papua New Guinea in the opening encounter of the tournament. 12 teams, including Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, will contest for four spots in the Super 12 stages. That will add as extra motivation for all associate nations who have been deprived of quality international exposure since ICC decided to trim the ODI World Cup to 10 teams. Former Scotland captain Preston Mommsen believes that it is a great opportunity for associate nations to build on this.
"The motivation for the Associate nations at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup has never been bigger with four teams from Round 1 set to qualify for the Super 12 stage. From a Scotland perspective, they are guaranteed three games in Round 1 against Bangladesh, Oman, and Papua New Guinea, but there is the potential for five more games on TV if they can finish in the top two in their group. That is not just a goal for the players, it provides exposure for Scottish cricket and you find that people back home will watch the games, you can inspire the next generation. It’s the whole trickle effect with sponsors, funding etc," Mommsen said in a column for ICC.
"It goes a long way to helping grow the game. I was involved in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand and the format of that tournament meant that there were quite a few fixtures so we were on TV for six weeks and the cricket following back home definitely picked up. It’s hugely important, not just for the players but for the health and growth of Scottish cricket as a whole that they get through to the next round."
While Scotland lost to Zimbabwe at home a month ago, since landing in Oman, they have played some excellent cricket and would like to carry that momentum to the main event. Mommsen, who has overseen many highs and lows with Scottish cricket, remarked that his team is at a pole position to deliver goods.
"I think the build-up for Scotland has been almost perfect. They have been together for a good couple of months now. There was a great home series against Zimbabwe which regrettably they should have won. But at the same time, in a roundabout way that may have been a blessing and a bit of a wake-up call to international cricket. You would rather lose then, than in the first round. They have come out to Oman and played clinical cricket in the World Cricket League and have been on the money in their warm-up matches.
"The positive thing is that I don’t think the team is quite firing on all cylinders yet. Kyle Coetzer, for instance, has had a few starts but is probably due to a big score, and hopefully, that will come in Round 1. The goal has to be to finish in the top two and I’m confident they will. Then it’s about going and expressing themselves in the main event. I’m sure they will cause a few upsets because there is some great individual talent and collectively they are playing really well," the 34-year-old added.
Scotland will kick start their campaign against Sri Lanka at Al Amerat Cricket Ground (Ministry Turf 1), Al Amerat on Sunday.