Mommsen: Scotland Well Prepared For CWC

09 Feb

From ICC Media

Transcript of Preston Mommsen's press conference which was held in Sydney as he previews Scotland's chances in the World Cup.

Q. How are Scotland's preparations going for the ICC Cricket World Cup now that we're on the eve of the tournament?

PRESTON MOMMSEN: Yeah, it's been a very busy 12 months for us since qualifying this time last year. We've been fortunate enough to be given access to some brilliant coaches, some brilliant opportunities, traveling around the world. I'm getting acclimatized to these conditions. We're the best prepared Scotland team that's left the shores, there's no doubt about that. We've got a fully contracted 15 players, and we're looking to make a mark on this world stage.

Q. Is England the one you'd like to one most of all?

PRESTON MOMMSEN: Yeah, as you say, every game we'll approach in the same systematic way. We want to win every game we play, but as you say, that England fixture, that's a very big one. I think that atmosphere is going to be a pretty good one. Hopefully get some home support there going into that game as the underdogs, but that would be a game we'd love to turn them over in.

Q. Have you got a point to prove for associate cricket really? It seems to be under a little bit of pressure. You seem to be having to prove your worth in a slightly bizarre way. Does that add a little bit of space to this World Cup?

PRESTON MOMMSEN: Yeah, definitely. I think coming into the tournament there's a lot of talk about associates and whether or not they deserve a place. At the end of the day my view is it's a World Cup, and of course they deserve a place. But at the same time, you know, we have to put performances in. There's no doubt about that. We're not here to fill in the numbers. We take a lot of inspiration from what Ireland have done at previous World Cups. You know, they've found a way to stand up to the big teams, and we'll be looking to do the same thing.

Q. It's been quite a fight for Scotland to get here, hasn't it? It seems that Scottish cricket is quite well poised but they may be at a bit of a crossroads? Is that how you see it?

PRESTON MOMMSEN: Yeah, absolutely. It's been a long time coming, this world tournament for us. Been a bit unfortunate in recent times not to qualify for the tournaments, but yeah, it's a big moment for us. This group of players being together for the last two, three, four years, it's a nice group, it's a healthy average age across the squad. We're under a lot of pressure going into the qualifying tournament, so to get through that was a huge positive for us. This is obviously the next stage for us, coming to a world tournament and being put under a lot of pressure to perform. But yeah, absolutely. We view it as a crossroads. We're very excited about the next few years as a group, as a squad. There's some real quality in the 15, and hopefully we'll deliver.

Q. What could you do with cricket in Scotland with a little bit more support if you win?

PRESTON MOMMSEN: That's a good question. Obviously the ICC have kind of created a pathway for Test cricket, if you like. You know, they've effectively hope the door to have a fixture against the lowest-ranked test team. That's in four‑day cricket, which the focus will shift after this tournament because the value of playing a team like that is huge. At the same time, I think there's no question that we need to be exposed to higher level one‑day international cricket. If you compare our buildup to this tournament with the likes of New Zealand, South Africa, West Indies, Australia, England, the number of one‑day internationals they've played compared to the number of one‑day internationals we've played against full member nations, you can't compare it. So in terms of a level playing field, I'm not sure that was quite level in the preparation we've been given, but we have to deal with that, and we're doing our best to be best prepared for that first game against New Zealand.

Q. Do you get the impression there are lots of people watching in Scotland? Is there a potentially very large market of cricket followers?

PRESTON MOMMSEN: I think there's a huge market of cricket followers, 100 percent. You know, only since qualifying 12 months ago, the profile has increased dramatically. We are getting a lot more support as a team. We feel that obviously social media has a huge part to play in that, and we're beginning to tap into that, and hopefully through good performance at this World Cup we can see cricket grow and grow at a very quick level, as well.

Q. Can I ask you about the influence Collingwood has had on the squad? He obviously helped you qualify last year and he's back for the World Cup. Having a guy with that much experience must be a real boost.

PRESTON MOMMSEN: Absolutely, yeah. Paul joined us for the qualifying tournament in New Zealand last year, and he had an immediate effect. Obviously he brings with him huge experience, a World Cup winning captain with England, and he's very easy to relate to. Obviously he's still playing with Durham, so he's almost like another squad member, and guys ‑‑ he's very comfortable in our environment, and the guys are very comfortable with him being in our environment, and he's a great guy to tap into. He's not in your face, but at the same time very easily approachable, and he adds great value to the team. He's just joined up with us yesterday, so looking forward to getting stuck in with him.

Q. Given his experiences in Australia, he's won Ashes tours out here and he knows the England team fairly well, as well, he's a useful man to have with that game in Christchurch?

PRESTON MOMMSEN: Absolutely. That's invaluable stuff he's going to bring to those team talks and those preparation meetings for sure.

Q. Do you look at England in the last few major tournaments, you look at the world T20 in Bangladesh when Holland beat them, and then the last World Cup in India when Ireland famously won the game in Bangalore. Do you look at those examples and think, you know what, we can possibly follow these guys?

PRESTON MOMMSEN: Yeah, we have to. There's no doubt about that. As I've said, Ireland have turned over big teams, England in their own right, though they're still a good one‑day international team, they showed glimpses of that in this recent series. They're a very dangerous side. They obviously have a few dangerous players in their lineup. We know we have to be at our best, and hopefully a few of them have a few off days, and come the 100th over, we'll still be shouting.

Q. Have you set any target for this match against Bangladesh?

PRESTON MOMMSEN: Yeah, Bangladesh, as I've said previously, we're looking to try and win every single game we play. At the same time, Bangladesh, we do see them as a target we can break down. We're hoping that the conditions will play into our favor and the wickets will play, and hopefully we have seamers that can exploit conditions if there's anything on our firm, and hopefully the pitch prepared for that game will give us something to exploit.

Q. For those of us that haven't seen the Scotland team before, can you tell us how big a percentage of the team are actually home grown and home raised, and how important will this game be to kind of promoting the game back home?

PRESTON MOMMSEN: Yeah, we actually have a very healthy percentage of players who have grown up and learned their cricket in Scotland. I grew up in South Africa, but I did my final year of school in Scotland at Gordonstoun, and I've been there ever since. The other player who didn't grow up in Scotland, Hamish Gardiner, he's Australian. Well, he's obviously Scottish through parentage, but he grew up in Australia. But the rest of the squad are home‑grown players. A couple of guys obviously grew up in England, born in Scotland. It is a very homely team. I guess in the past some associates have been guilty of kind of importing players in for the big tournaments etc, but there's a very good feel to our squad. The guys get on very well. It's a good bond. I think we are very proudly Scottish, all of us.

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