De Lange excited by Desert T20 prospect
Gary Heatly speaks to Scotland's vice-captain for the Desert T20 Con de Lange as his the squad prepare to take on Hong Kong in the tournament opener on Saturday.
Con de Lange will turn 36 in February soon after he and his Scotland team mates return from the Desert T20 event - but two days away from the start of the tournament the elder statesman of the squad is like a kid at Christmas!
De Lange, the South African-born spinning all-rounder, has been with the Scotland set-up since just after the ODI World Cup in 2015 and he has loved the opportunity to play international cricket later in his career after he thought the chance might have gone.
He tasted T20 international cricket with Scotland firstly in the summer of 2015 when he played in the matches against Ireland, Afghanistan and Hong Kong and his contribution in those ones saw head coach Grant Bradburn pick him for the T20 World Cup in India last year.
In the showpiece event he played in the victory against Hong Kong - and took a wicket - on what was a famous day for Scottish cricket.
And now he is looking for more positive results in the Desert T20.
Scotland begin their Pool B campaign against Hong Kong in Abu Dhabi Cricket Club’s Zayed Cricket Stadium on Saturday, January 14.
They will then play the Netherlands in the same stadium on Tuesday, January 17 and then Oman in the Dubai Sports City two days later with and further matches determined by final placings in the pool.
“It is really good having an event of this calibre to start off the new year with and all of the guys who have been training back at home cannot wait to get out there,” he said.
“You can train all you want and we have been doing that very well, but you only really find out about yourselves as cricketers out there in the middle in a game situation.
“Ever since I came into the Scotland set-up in 2015 I have been impressed by the talent in the squad and the work ethic.
“We all know that we would rather have had a lot more competitive outings together in the last 18 months or so, but that is not something that we have any control over.
“And now that we have this chance to go out and play against some top quality opponents we have to really grab it with both hands.”
De Lange and a number of other members of Bradburn’s full-time squad have been training hard over the winter in the indoor nets at Cricket Scotland HQ in Edinburgh and in the gym.
Other members of the party who will be at the Desert T20 have been spending time playing abroad - the likes of Matthew Cross, Mark Watt, Chris Sole and Safyaan Sharif - and de Lange believes both preparation types can be beneficial.
“For myself, being at home has been great because it has allowed a smaller group of players to really look on 2016 and analyse things that were good and things we could have done better as a group and as individuals,” he explained.
“We have been working on a lot of things and it has also given us a bit more one-to-one time with the coaching staff to work on things that we feel needed a bit of fine tuning.
“Nothing beats actually being out there playing though and I am sure the guys who have been abroad will have picked up a lot and learnt a lot about themselves as cricketers and as people.
“I'm excited to meet up with them and hear about their adventures and I am sure they will bring a lot to the group too. It has the makings of a nice dynamic and I think this bunch of players is really ready now to go out there and perform in this tournament.”