It has been a long wait for Head Coach Shane Burger and his Scotland cricket team to get back out and play international cricket
When they stepped off the field in Dubai in December 2019, little did anyone know that it would be 519 days until they had the chance to play another ODI. But that long wait comes to an end today as they face the Netherlands in the first of two one day international matches.
During the last lockdown, the team were furloughed and only returned to training in April, but Burger is confident that the most recent training block, and the time put in by the players in maintaining fitness during lockdown will stand them in good stead for their first match in nearly 18 months.
“The objective is first and foremost to get back involved in playing international cricket because it has been such a long time out. In a year where we have Cricket World Cup League 2 games it’s great to reconnect with ODI cricket and make sure that our road to the 2023 World Cup starts again properly now for us,” said the South African.
“Our county guys aren’t available on this trip, so it is a good chance to look at what talent we have throughout our whole squad, give guys an opportunity to play, see where they are, see if the training that we’ve done over the winter has been effective and also play two games of cricket against a rival that we’ve always enjoyed playing against.
“In a big year of cricket for us this is the reset button in terms of playing, being competitive, giving guys opportunity and trying to win games of cricket. When an ODI is presented to you, you want to go out and win it.”
While some players are unavailable, Burger also has a huge amount of experience to draw upon from the travelling squad with Captain Kyle Coetzer, along with Richie Berrington and Calum MacLeod leading the way.
“We’ll be tapping into that,” confirmed Burger. “Richie has played 246 games for Scotland so that’s incredible to have in the team. Whilst we are probably feeling a bit undercooked, there is a lot of experience to draw from in the squad, so that’s a huge positive.
“There’s real excitement in the squad. There’s a real happiness to get back involved. This is the start of what is going to be a very busy season for us. Traditionally, we are not used to playing six, seven, eight months of cricket in a row and we like to believe that we have prepared the guys for that, but you will never know until you go out and do it.”