Gordon Drummond Previews WT20
Former Scotland captain and World T20 player, Gordon Drummond, looks ahead to the 2016 event which starts in India on March 8.
I think Scotland can go into the first stage of the World T20 campaign with increased confidence from their last few T20 matches against Hong Kong and UAE. Considering the limited amount of match practice they had going into these games, the results were fairly positive. The squad is more dynamic than previously with the depth of power hitters, increased variety in the bowling department and a strong all-round fielding outfit.
As has been the case for a long time, there is no express pace in the squad and that will be a disadvantage in the batter-friendly conditions.
However, this squad are better prepared and more experienced in T20 skills than any other Scotland team which should create confidence to deal with the conditions and the opposition to progress to the next stage of the tournament [against the likes of South Africa and England].
Looking at the two groups, both are as tough as each other, however Scotland should take confidence from Zimbabwe’s recent results against Afghanistan and their own against Hong Kong.
Afghanistan have proved difficult to beat in recent times, adding more refined game sense to their developed cricket skills and certainly have a better head-to-head record than us, but as the UAE showed, anything can happen in a one-off game.
The real challenge is whether the guys can hit the ground running early which has been an issue for Scotland in the past, because the tournament structure means there is no room for any failure adding increased pressure to every game.
There has certainly been an increase in the development of the Associate sides in this format over the last few years, probably coinciding with a more intense focus by the countries in this format and an opinion in many quarters that T20 creates more opportunities for upset.
Consequently, this has also meant that the gap in Associate cricket has narrowed with the likes of Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands consistently being challenged by Hong Kong, UAE, Oman and Nepal.
This tournament will be a fascinating one and, I feel, it will be decided by who can handle the pressure in the big moments, adapt to the conditions quickly, and be dynamic with their tactics.
Scotland have had more experience of the top level tournaments of recent times and the players should utilise this experience to progress to the main stage.