Kyle Coetzer expects Scotland to continue banging on the door for Full-Member status

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Feb
20

Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer believes the team’s continued good form over the past week in Oman is more evidence of the side’s quality, and enough reason for a case being built for them to be the next in line for Full-Member status.

The team added another Full-Member scalp to their growing tally when they beat Ireland on the way to the Oman Quadrangular T20I Series title. They have since started their three-match one-day series against Oman with a record trouncing of the hosts, winning by ten wickets after bowling the opposition out for 24, the lowest total in List A cricket featuring two national teams.

“We want to use this tour, it’s a platform to get our 2019 campaign off to a start, and I guess coming out on top in this [T20I] series is a real positive for that,” Coetzer told ESPNcricinfo. “More importantly, the guys have got some valuable cricket in their legs especially in the T20 format, which is going to be so important moving through the year.”

The win over Ireland was Scotland’s fourth against a Full-Member side in limited-overs internationals since June 2017 – they have also beaten Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and England – compared to just one win over a top-tier team, a T20I win over Bangladesh in 2012, in 18 years prior. They have also tied matches against Zimbabwe (ODI) and Ireland (T20I) in that stretch, not to mention walloping Sri Lanka in a one-dayer in Kent in May 2017 ahead of that year’s Champions Trophy.

“It’s certainly not a position that we’ve been in very often over the last 15 years and I’d be surprised if there is any team in our position within the Associate ranks who have had that amount of armory at their disposal”

KYLE COETZER

Though the majority of Scotland’s upcoming cricket in the first half of 2019 would be of 50 overs – including two more matches against Oman and series against Afghanistan and Sri Lanka in May – Coetzer felt that all of the ongoing work would help put together the best possible squad, capable of adding more big scalps at the T20 World Cup qualifier scheduled for October.

Scotland enter that tournament as joint defending champions with the Netherlands, with the expectation that they would advance and have another crack at a wider pool of Full Members at the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia.

Coetzer attributed the team’s sustained momentum to interim coach Toby Bailey, who took over after Grant Bradburn’s departure last September to be the Pakistan fielding coach. Shane Burger, however, has been hired for the full-time position beginning next month.

“We’re very lucky to have Toby in our ranks,” Coetzer said. “He’s stepped into the role and done a fantastic job and certainly progressed us from where we were and I’m sure he’ll play a huge part for us in the future still.”

Coetzer also lauded the quality of his bowling unit, which, according to him, is at its best talent-wise since he played his first Intercontinental Cup match for Scotland against Kenya in 2004 .

“We’re very lucky at the moment with the seam options we have,” Coetzer said. “We’ve got guys banging on the door to try and play. There’s a couple of people that haven’t made this tour and they’ll certainly be champing at the bit to make the next tour. I would say it’s certainly not a position that we’ve been in very often over the last 15 years and I’d be surprised if there is any team in our position within the Associate ranks who have had that amount of armory at their disposal.”

Scotland arrived in Oman without the bulk of their pace quintet from last year’s World Cup qualifier in Zimbabwe: Brad Wheal, Stuart Whittingham and Chris Sole are out, while Josh Davey, who was Scotland’s leading wicket-taker at the 2015 World Cup with 15 strikes in six matches, hasn’t suited up for the national team since taking on Zimbabwe in Edinburgh during the summer of 2017.

Yet, the unit hasn’t skipped a beat with the experienced duo of Safyaan Sharif and Alasdair Evans leading the attack supported by youngsters Ruaidhri Smith and Adrian Neill on tour in Oman. Neill took three wickets to be Man of the Match on his T20I debut against Oman on Sunday before he and Smith took identical figures of 4 for 7 in the record thrashing during the first one-dayer between the same sides on Tuesday.

“Adrian has bowled fantastic, you couldn’t ask for a better debut,” Coetzer said. “It’s exciting times for us. Bowlers will win you plenty games of cricket and we’re in a good place at the moment with what we have so we just need to keep progressing and not get comfortable.”

Mark Watt, the 22-year-old left-arm spinner, was the leading wicket-taker during the T20I quadrangular with seven scalps, including three each against Ireland and Oman. But Scotland’s pace unit was so dominant on Tuesday that Watt never got the ball.

“Mark, we know he’s developed dramatically and he’ll be a key performer for us over the next few years,” Coetzer said. “Another positive thing for this tour is that everyone’s done something, everyone has put their hand up. So we’ve had the bowlers and most of the batters have got an innings of some kind behind their name and that’ll hold us in a good place for the next coming T20 tournaments and also the [one-dayers] that we have remaining in Oman.”

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