Mommsen 'Pleased with WT20 Preparation'

03 Mar

Scotland captain Preston Mommsen spoke to the local media ahead of their sides first official warm up match for the ICC WT20 2016 in Mohali against Oman tomorrow. 

Preston Mommsen is happy with the way his team’s preparation has gone since arriving in India and he is excited about the challenges that lie ahead.

Scotland play their official warm-up matches in Mohali against Oman on Friday, before taking on the Netherlands on Sunday.

The Scots have spent time acclimatising to the conditions and the weather; playing four matches against local sides in Pune and Mumbai, winning three and losing one. 

However, it is not about results so much as preparation and getting a feel for what to expect in this most demanding of cricketing countries.

Mommsen said: “We’ve played at some good grounds and against good opposition in our warm-up games.

“It was brilliant to play at such cool stadiums with lots of history, [especially] at the Cricket Club of India (CCI) where Sachin [Tendulkar] used to play. 

“It was a good experience and a chance for us to get used to the pitches. We feel that we have had a good amount of cricket behind us these past couple of weeks and we are ready for these official warm-up games to begin.”

One of the biggest problems facing teams on the sub-continent is the dew that arrives in the evening. Writing in his on-tour blog, coach Grant Bradburn explained that the bowlers and fielders have been practicing with wet cricket balls during training.

The only game the team lost was played under lights and Mommsen is fully aware of the demands facing his side to adapt quickly in alien conditions.

The 28-year-old said: “It was our first night game and very important for us to get used to playing under lights.

“We don’t play [night games] much back home and obviously during this tournament we’ve got a few fixtures under lights. In India that is a factor with the dew and the wet ball. 

“We learnt a lot in that game and these next two warm-up games, we’ll get to bat and field under lights and make sure that when we get to the start of the tournament, nothing is a surprise and we’re ready.”

This Twenty20 World Cup will be the fourth tournament that Scotland has taken part in going back to the World Cup Qualifiers held in New Zealand at the end of 2014, which sealed the Saltires’ place at last years 50-over showpiece event down under.

However, Mommsen wants more cricket for the Associate nations in between international tournaments if they are to be able to compete with Full Member nations on a regular basis and not just make up the numbers.

When asked how hard it is to prepare for playing against the Full Members he said that it is a “massive challenge”. 

“We don’t play a lot of fixtures against full members, so when we do we have to make sure that we’re right on the money because they give nothing away,” he added.

“They play big fixtures week-in, week-out and that’s the challenge for any Associate team, but it is what it is and we have to be ready for any game.”

Is he happy about this?

“I’m not happy with that arrangement at all, no! I would rather - personally - sacrifice a World Cup place to be playing more cricket against the Full Members throughout the calendar year, so that the Associate teams can keep improving.

“It’s hard to measure yourself every four years against them. The experience we had at the 2015 World Cup was unmatchable; it was brilliant to play in that atmosphere with the [large] crowds and the quality of the opposition.

“We found ourselves growing as players, growing as a team and by the end of the tournament we were stronger. But the last 12 months there hasn’t been enough cricket for us to push on and show what we are about.”

He added: “We’re very grateful that this tournament has come so quickly after [last year’s] World Cup. It’s another chance to play on the big stage and show that we are challenging as a top Associate nation.

“Fortunately we had the 2016 World Cup T20 Qualifying tournament which we hosted. 

“The way we performed in the qualifiers showed how much we had learnt. We took so much and put it into practice so quickly but unfortunately we’ve not had much 50-over cricket [either]. 

“There needs to be a balance and we need to be playing enough top-quality fixtures so that we constantly grow. 

“All the Associate teams are growing and they need to be helped and pushed so that they are matching the likes of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.”

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