Preview - Scotland head to Ireland for T20 Series
Scotland’s final preparations for July’s ICC World T20 Qualifying Tournament on home soil sees them jet across to Northern Ireland for three 20-over clashes with Ireland.
Bready Cricket Club will play host for the three matches, the first T20Is between the two sides since 2012, when they met at very different venue in Dubai.
Kyle Coetzer struck his highest ever T20I score on that occasion (62) but Scotland were unable to chase down Ireland’s 159, falling 17 runs short.
As Scotland’s leading run-scorer in the format, Coetzer adds experience to a dynamic squad of players, as does Josh Davey, who missed the recent I-Cup draw with Afghanistan due to a foot injury.
“We rely on our experience in the squad,” said coach Grant Bradburn. “Josh had an extremely good World Cup, really excelled with the ball Down Under, and has come back into county cricket in some form.
“His foot injury is all good now and he’s looking forward to getting back on the park. We certainly value his skills and expect him to be an integral part of our attack.”
Without Davey, Scotland were frustrated by rain for much of their I-Cup opener in Stirling, but still managed to salvage 13 points from a possible 20, thanks to a terrific bowling display.
The result was a huge positive, but the challenge of the shorter game is one which will occupy Scottish minds for the next month, as they seek to secure a place in next year’s World T20 in India.
“This series against Ireland is a great opportunity for us as a unit to roll out the style of play we want to bring to the format,” added Bradburn.
“T20 is a format we’re very comfortable with. We’ve played a lot of white ball cricket, and had a really good couple of weeks leading up to this series, with lots of specific training towards T20.
“Ireland always pose a big challenge, and we have a huge amount of respect for them. They’re very strong, particularly at home, and it’s ideal for us to be putting our skills against the best associate side.
“We have an amazingly skilled group of players. You can’t always play dynamically, but with the skills that we have we can, and we can play positive cricket. We’ve got everything, in terms of pace, spin, swing, and guys that can clear the rope as well.
“This is a side selected specifically for this format, and I’m looking forward to giving these guys opportunities.”
Two of those players selected are Craig Wallace and George Munsey, the latter’s exceptional club form, including a bombastic 34-ball 66 in the North Sea Pro Series, forcing his name onto the list for the trip to Bready.
“The Pro Series with the Dutch has been great, and we’ve had some players who have really shone there as well as in the early club season.
“The timing of this series is perfect. This is a great opportunity for us to put everything into practice.”
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Squads in full:
Ireland: Kevin O'Brien (captain), Andrew Balbirnie, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Tyrone Kane, Andrew McBrine, Graeme McCarter, David Rankin, Andrew Poynter, Stuart Poynter (wk), Max Sorensen, John Anderson, Stuart Thompson, Craig Young.
Scotland: Preston Mommsen (captain), Richie Berrington, Kyle Coetzer, Matthew Cross (wk), Josh Davey, Con de Lange, Alasdair Evans, Michael Leask, Gavin Main, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Craig Wallace, Mark Watt.