Coaches look ahead to 2015 World Cup

03 Feb

From ICC, 2014 IDI/Getty

Coaches with Preston Mommsen (2014 IDI/Getty)Aqib Javed, Paul Collingwood and Craig Wright are well known names in international cricket who have added an extra achievement to their names after steering their sides to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand. 

The three coaches were at the helm as Scotland and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reached the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier New Zealand 2014 (CWCQ) on Saturday, sealing the last two positions at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. 

An unbeaten century from captain and Man of the Tournament Preston Mommsen saw Scotland defeat UAE by 41 runs to seal the third qualification spot and join Pool A of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. 

Scotland coaches Collingwood and Wright were thrilled with the result, with Wright saying: “I think the players have done a fantastic job and shown a real level of consistency of performance, winning seven games in a row after a disappointing result in the first match.  But they recovered really well from that, and pretty much every game after that was a must-win, so we are absolutely delighted.” 

Collingwood, who represented England in three ICC Cricket World Cups (2003, 2007 and 2011), led England to the ICC World Twenty20 West Indies 2010 title and played 68 Tests, 197 ODIs and 35 T20Is from 2001 to 2011, agreed:  “Playing in a tournament like this is real high pressure, and people don't realise that.  

“To actually know what it means to an Associate team to get to the ICC Cricket World Cup through this qualifying tournament - there's a high amount of pressure there.  For them to play under that pressure and go out there and perform, I think that puts you in really good stead for the future,” he said.  

Collingwood believed that his experience in high-pressure international tournaments will benefit the team: “Confidence was the crucial thing for our ICC World Twenty20 2010 win in the West Indies.  I am a big believer that the mental side is the crucial thing.  These guys do have the skills, they've certainly got that with the batting, and the fielding is exceptional, there might be some areas that we've got to need to work on with the bowling, but it is amazing how powerful it can be if all the players go into a tournament very confident about their own games and know their strengths.” 

Wright, who captained Scotland in the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2007 and played 20 ODIs and three T20Is, as well as 123 List A matches between 1997 and 2009, said the experience gained at the ICC CWCQ NZ 2014 will be vital as the side commences its preparations for 2015.  “I think there are areas, certainly with the bowling, that we'll need to work on.  Hopefully the batting can continue to function as well as it has done, and hopefully we'll have a programme of fixtures in the next year that will allow us to work on those areas and get some high level competition to make sure we're in good shape for the ICC Cricket World Cup.” 

Looking ahead to Scotland’s Pool A fixtures in the showpiece event in 2015, Wright said that Scottish fans will have a lot to look forward to: "It will be hugely exciting to play the host in the home venue, it will be fantastic.  And obviously Scotland-England, there's a lot of significance there, so I think every fixture in the tournament will be fantastic." 

UAE will join Pool B of the ICC Cricket World Cup, along with defending champion India, qualifier Ireland, 1992 champion Pakistan, South Africa, two-time champion West Indies and Zimbabwe. 

UAE coach Aqib was a member of the Pakistan side that won the ICC Cricket World Cup 1992 and also played in the 1996 tournament, besides featuring in 22 Tests and 163 ODIs from 1989 to 1998.  He said that the team will be ready for the challenge of competing against the best teams at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.  “Twelve months is a long time.  We can make huge progress in 12 months.” 

The coach was delighted that his charges will face his country of origin in the pool stage of the tournament.  “I’m excited because they’re playing against Pakistan and India. They’ll be very excited playing against the players that they’ve always admired. I think by the time 2015 comes, you’ll see huge progress in UAE cricket.” 

Aqib believed that his knowledge of Australia and New Zealand conditions will benefit the team.  “I’ve played the ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. This experience has definitely helped the team already, and it will definitely help in their progress to the World Cup.  I know the nature of the different venues, from Melbourne to Perth.” 

Reflecting on the ICC CWCQ NZ 2014, Aqib was thrilled that his side was able to demonstrate that it could perform well in the New Zealand conditions.  “Before coming here there were a lot of mental blocks about the New Zealand conditions and the pitches, and the sideways movement. Now they are very confident. They are looking forward to coming back and doing well.” 

“We have good bowling options, a few good seamers and very useful spinners. But we need to work out our batting especially against short pitched bowling. (But) I’m confident because we have time. They are very excited and they want to do well,” he said.

 

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