These are exciting times for the best young female cricketers from Scotland as they are about to take part in a showpiece event in South Africa.
The ICC Women’s under-19 T20 World Cup for 2023 gets underway on Saturday with Australia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and USA in Group A, England, Pakistan, Rwanda and Zimbabwe in Group B, Indonesia, Ireland, New Zealand and West Indies in Group C and India, Scotland, South Africa and UAE In Group D.
The top three teams from each group will progress to the Super Six round before semi-finals and the final bring things to a close.
There will be plenty of thrills and spills before that final on January 29 and Scotland have big games against the hosts next Monday and India next Wednesday to look forward to, but for now they are just focused on the UAE clash.
It takes place at Willowmoore Park, Benoni, on Saturday at 10am local time (8am UK time) and all the training at home and in La Manga pre-Christmas and the warm-up games already played in South Africa have been building to this point.
Head Coach Peter Ross said: “This World Cup is an amazing opportunity for this group of young women to represent Scotland at this level and play against some of the best sides.
“This is the first ever women’s T20 World Cup at this age-grade while it is the first time that any Scotland women’s team has been at a World Cup, so I think that everyone is just excited about the opportunity ahead.
“Our main ambition for now is to make it through to the Super Six stage, that is what we are setting our sights on and we also have our sights set on playing the style of cricket we have spent the last few months speaking about.
“We played that style in the qualifiers against the Netherlands and we put on a good show, so it is about building on that and being brave. We want to play an exciting brand of cricket for those watching in the grounds and those watching on from back home.
“To get through to the Super Six stage we will have to win one or two games of cricket and, with South Africa and India in the group alongside ourselves and UAE, we have a chance to take a big scalp.
“We can challenge these teams all the way and if we can get through to the Super Six stage then who knows what can happen.
“We have a really exciting group of players here and there is a good mixture of skill sets between batters, pace bowlers, spinners and all-rounders.
“These players deserve to be here because they stepped up to the mark last year at a regional and national level.
“They are raring to go, can’t wait to play at this level and we know that they are being supported by a lot of people back home and that means a lot to them and us as staff.”
As well as Ross, Assistant Coach Charlotte Dalton-Howells, Team Manager Abbi Aitken-Drummond, Physio Lorna Flanagan, Medical Liaison Sue Strachan and Sport Psychologist Sanika Divekar are with the squad at the event.
On the eve of the tournament there has been a change to the Scotland squad with Kirsty McColl being brought in as a replacement for Molly Barbour-Smith who has been ruled out after sustaining a fractured finger.
Katherine Fraser (C)
Ailsa Lister (V-C)
For all tournament information, visit HERE