Turning over Sri Lanka is vital for Scotland to prove they deserve full ICC member status.
That is the view of Matthew Cross, Scotland’s Aberdeen-born wicket-keeper, ahead of the two one-day internationals against a Sri Lanka side gearing up for the World Cup in England and Wales later this year.
Scotland are pushing to become full members of the ICC, which will allow them to compete in Test Matches against the other 12 members. Currently they are classed as an associate member, meaning they can play ODIs and T20 internationals but not Test cricket and need to qualify for major tournaments.
Sri Lanka head to The Grange in Edinburgh on the back of a 5-0 series defeat against South Africa and Cross, who began his playing career with Aberdeenshire, believes victory in the two ODIs will go a long way to proving they belong at cricket’s top table.
He said: “They’re important games – we played them a couple of years ago and beat them in one of the games. We’ve got to play a very good game to beat them. It’s the chance to beat another full member nation, which we’ve prided ourselves on of late.
“We’ve turned over the best member nation and other member nations, so we’re starting to stack up wins and push for that full member status. We need to keep performing at that level though – we can’t just beat England or Afghanistan once. We need to turn up with two good performances and win two games of cricket.
“There’s a lot of pride and passion playing for Scotland but we have to prove, consistently, that we’re the next best team that isn’t a member. We need to go out Saturday and Tuesday and win.”
Scotland head into Saturday’s game on the back of a narrow defeat to Afghanistan, losing by two runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method despite Calum Macleod’s century.
Shane Burger has taken over as head coach after the departure of Grant Bradburn, who oversaw the memorable victory over England in the capital a year ago.
Cross added: “Shane has been brilliant. He’s very calm and has a good sense of energy. We’re starting to build something and he’s working individually with the guys, on how to make them better players.
“In Scotland, people who didn’t really associate Scotland in cricket, have taken a lot more interest now. That’s why it’s important for us to have games like this, otherwise people can fall out of love with cricket quickly.
“There’s always lots of rugby and football on TV and it’s easy to follow. We need games like this consistently this for our own public to follow and stay in love with the game.”
Cross was speaking at the University of Aberdeen, who are official partners for the two matches after announcing a new initiative allowing Sri Lankan students to study at the university.