Mommsen ready for Afghanistan challenge
Scotland captain Preston Mommsen admits he and his charges are itching to get going ahead of the two One Day Internationals against Afghanistan at The Grange next week.
The Scots have not played an international fixture since they defeated Hong Kong in the World T20 event in Nagpur, India back on March 10.
Of course earlier in the same event Mommsen’s men had been beaten by Afghanistan by 14-runs at the same venue and over the last few years there have been some fantastic tussles between the two sides.
Looking ahead to Monday’s first match in Edinburgh - the sides meet again on Wednesday - 28-year-old batsman Mommsen said: “It seems like a while since we have played international cricket, but up to and including the World T20 earlier in the year had been a very busy 18 months or so of travelling and playing so I think the rest will have done the guys the world of good.
“At the end of the T20 event we all sat down and had a chat about the things that we had to work on over the next few months and from what I can see everyone has taken a breather then really got stuck into their club, regional and county cricket.”
As Mommsen mentions the club leagues are now past the halfway stage in Scotland while the Eastern Knights have been crowned champions of both the 50-over and the T20 regional events that have been taking place.
A return to the three regions - where the Knights who Mommsen was playing for came up against the Caledonian Highlanders and the Western Warriors - allowed more players to show Scotland head coach Grant Bradburn and the other selectors what they could do.
As a result a number of extra players have joined the contracted Cricket Scotland players for regular training sessions in Edinburgh of late and Mommsen feels that has been of great benefit.
“As a core group of contracted players we can get a lot done and work on a number of things, but having some new guys coming into the group has been really interesting and has driven up the level of competition for places,” the Grange man stated.
“The coaches and myself have been able to look at these players and see how they adapt to the environment and making the step-up while they also get an insight into the effort that needs to be put in to earn Scotland honours.
“As a result of this and a number of English county players being available to us for these two Afghanistan matches it made the selection of a 13-man squad pretty difficult, but we feel that we have a good balance in there.”
The squad members will meet up on Saturday and will get a weekend of training under their belts before the first ODI and Mommsen is clear what he is looking for.
He said: “We want to go out there from the first ball on Monday and play with intent. You have to be positive in white ball cricket in all facets of the game and I think that our fielding is looking sharp at the minute, we have a good mix of batsmen who can play different types of innings when required and the seam bowling attack has really matured.
“We know all about Afghanistan’s squad and the dangers they can pose on their day, but we have to try and take advantage of being at home and the conditions we are likely to find at The Grange.
“These two matches will have a big bearing on the rest of 2016 and we want to go out there and perform.”
Both matches will start at 10.45am with entry being £10 for adults and £5 concessions/OAPs and students (with a valid matriculation card).
Scotland squad: Preston Mommsen (C), Kyle Coetzer (VC), Ali Evans, Brad Wheal, Calum MacLeod, Con de Lange, Craig Wallace, Mark Watt, Matthew Cross, Michael Leask, Richie Berrington, Safyaan Sharif, Ruaidhri Smith.
Afghanistan squad: Mohammad Shahzad, Noor Ali Zadran, Javed Ahmadi, Asghar Stanikzai, Rahmat Shah, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shinwari, Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Mirwais Ashraf, Gulbadin Naib, Dawlat Zadran, Hamid Hassan, Shapoor Zadran, Amir Hamza Hotak, YaminAhmadzai.