Preston Mommsen awaits England arrival
From Kaylan Geekie
Tomorrow’s Royal London International between Scotland and England in Aberdeen will see the return of Preston Mommsen to the team after a three-month stint out with injury.
The batsman’s inclusion in the 13-man matchday squad ahead of the one-day international is welcome news.
Months of rehabilitation have enabled Mommsen to be ready for the ODI and he has made a timely recovery for a fixture he describes as “important” and “vital”.
The 26-year-old had been a doubt for the game at Mannofield Park after the recurrence of a pelvic stress fracture that kept him from competing in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers in the United Arab Emirates last November.
Speaking ahead of the match Mommsen said: “The pelvic injury has been ongoing for the past eight months and I would be lying if I was to say I wasn’t frustrated.
“It has kept me out for longer than anticipated.”
The fixture is a precursor to next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, where the two teams will meet in Pool A match in Christchurch.
The South African-born batsman is revelling in the chance to give England a bloody nose, is calm and focused but not thinking too far ahead.
Mommsen said: “I can’t say how big this fixture is and how important it is for Scotland as a cricketing nation.
“It gives us the chance to measure our progress over the last few months and to test ourselves against one of the best.
“It’s a great chance for us to have a look at England prior to the World Cup. However, the focus needs to remain on May 9.”
During the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in New Zealand at the beginning of the year, Mommsen was magnificent, the lynchpin from which the team revolved.
He took over the captaincy duties when Kyle Coetzer was sidelined through an injury sustained early in the tournament and, under intense pressure, led the team to success.
Mommsen was voted man-of-the-match on four occasions. Scores of 118, 35, 4 not out, 6, 46, 94, 78 and 139 not out in the final, culminated in him being awarded Player of the tournament.
Scotland’s players were playing for their futures; failure to qualify could well have meant the end of the road as professional cricketers. The financial rewards of playing in the sport’s global events are massive for Cricket Scotland, the governing body and for the future of the sport in the country.
“To have the fixture at home and live on Sky Sports brings an added boost and for the opportunity to spread the game in Scotland, which is vital for the growth of the sport,” he said.
Mommsen’s ability to build an innings and score freely makes him crucial to the team’s success. On Saturday, his first game back from injury and with his team in a precarious position, he scored 50 for Carlton Cricket Club.
This came after three months out, having not played since his heroic unbeaten 139 versus the UAE on February 1, which sealed Scotland’s place at cricket’s showpiece event.
Mommsen is not daunted or feeling any pressure by playing to a sell-out crowd, live on national television; he is excited by the prospect of the challenge posed by England.
“As a group we are in a great place and we have played some brilliant cricket in recent times, winning our last seven fixtures,” he said.
When asked if he thought Scotland can win, he replied: “Yes. We believe we can do it.
“Of course we will need special individual performances but we know we have enough skill and class to produce those kinds of performances that can win us a big game.”
The performance, not the result will gauge Scotland’s ability to compete against a higher calibre of opposition and give an indication of the team’s development since the disappointment in Dubai and Abu Dhabi last year.
Although winning is important, evidence of progress is too. Scotland’s supporters will hope but Mommsen expects.