Grant Bradburn 'Scotland ready to adapt to conditions'
Before the squad left for India Kaylan Geekie spoke to Scotland Head Coach Grant Bradburn on the challenges that lie ahead.
Scotland coach Grant Bradburn assesses his team’s chance at next month’s ICC World Twenty20 in India and what it will take to have a successful campaign on the Worlds biggest stage.
The team arrived yesterday in Pune for an intensive training camp and with the hope of playing more than the two warm-up matches that have been organised against the Netherlands and Oman in Mohali prior to their opening fixture against Afghanistan in Nagpur.
The sub-continent is a world away from the comforts of home. India is a massive country that is cricket-crazy; where the cliche: cricket is a religion is as apt as it is tedious.
Scotland will have to adapt quickly to the heat and humidity as well as the varied conditions, especially the surfaces on which they will play.
From low-and-slow wickets, rank turners where the ball barely lifts off the surface, to the hard, flat batting paradise on small grounds which can leave a bowler scarred for life, ever wondering: why he had not picked up a bat in the first place?
The 49-year-old former Test and One-Day International speaks eloquently and has a calm demeanour - think Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption.
But when Bradburn speaks, he exudes confidence and you believe all that he says to be sincere as well as realistic.
Standing outside the team’s training centre in Edinburgh on a freezing February evening, dressed only in tracksuit bottoms and the team’s branded polo shirt, the coach says: “no, the heat won’t affect us” when asked about India’s heat and humidity and its likely affect on his team.
Scotland’s players have been doing ‘Hot Yoga’ to aid preparation for similar conditions on the sub-continent, but have also been out in the heat of Dubai for some warm-weather training and three T20 games.
However, the conditions in India will be vastly different to what many of the squad has experienced but they will not be alien.
“In India adjusting to lower, slower conditions will be important and that’s why our pre-camp in Pune and Mohali is very important to get comfortable.
“Only half the squad has played in India so it will be challenging, but we’ve prepared for it and will embrace it,” he added.
“It’s about adjusting to the conditions of the tracks [pitches], assessing and adapting as we go, which is one thing that we’ve worked hard on since the [2015 50-over] World Cup.
“We are much better prepared since then to adapt to the conditions we face.”
The New Zealand-born coach has been with the team for a qualifying tournament, multiple series’ and a World Cup and is positive his team has what it takes to show the world his side belong.
“T20 cricket is as regular a diet for Associate nations as 50-over cricket and we are comfortable with it.
“We have an outstanding T20 side and I’m pleased with the 15 that have been selected - we’re dynamic, young and have experience - each player offers specific skill-sets in this format which is fantastic.
“We are starting to see a difference in our T20 side to our one-day and four-day side and are pleased with the balance that we’ve got.”
Bradburn understand that to be successful and win games of cricket, a team must be good at all three aspects of the sport.
“Clearly batting is very important and we need to score lots of runs to give ourselves a chance to defend totals if we are setting.
“T20 cricket is about all facets of the game; fielding is probably one of our most important. We’ve got some outstanding fielders in our side and if we can hold our catches, take our run-outs and win that battle, it will go a long way to winning games of cricket.”
But how will Scotland fare in the heat of battle on the grandest stage of them all?
“We can win pretty, we can win dirty; we’ve just got to get the fire in our belly, roll our sleeves up and get the job done.
“There’s going to be big crowds, nerves and pressure and we’ve tried to simulate that as much as we can.”
And with that, he walks into back into the National Cricket Academy to put his chargers through another fitness session.