Scotland head coach Shane Burger has no doubts captain Kyle Coetzer will deliver as the nations stands on the verge of T20 World Cup progress.
Burger hailed Aberdonian Coetzer as a “fantastic human being”, who is looked up to immeasurably within the Scotland dressing room.
Coetzer has not hit form yet with the bat, going for nought and six in the first two games. However, with victory against Oman on Thursday assuring qualification for the Super 12, there can be little better time for the Scotland lynchpin to rediscover his touch.
“Kyle has not had the performances he prides himself on, but he’s been a consistent performer for this team for a number of years,” said Burger. “Kyle is not only the leader in the team, but probably the person to thank for the way the brand of cricket has changed. The braveness in how he wants to play has certainly resonated within the team.
“I’ve no doubt Kyle is only one day or one performance away from nailing his form. I’ve never seen a batter hit the ball as well in the nets in my life. He’s just got to take that into a match.
“He’s also an inspiring leader and brings a sense of calm. Tactically in the last two games he’s got a lot right and I can certainly see the players are following him.
“I’ve got an incredible relationship with him and he’s a fantastic human being. I can’t think of anyone else that deserves success more than him.”
Creating history for Scottish cricket
Scotland have already broken a number of barriers to get to this stage. They have doubled their number of wins at T20 World Cups, recorded their highest score at this tournament and Richie Berrington became the first Scotland player to hit a T20 World Cup fifty.
Their win over Papua New Guinea on Tuesday sees them head into the game in Muscat first in Group A with four points. Three wins from three would clinch top spot and see Scotland advance to the Super 12, where the world’s best nations lie in wait.
“It’s a fantastic place to be – we’d rather be where we are now than in any other place,” added Burger. “If you’re not looking forward to competitive sport sitting in the position we’re in then you’re in the wrong game. This is high pressure and high expectation.
“There’s a nation’s hopes resting on the game and we know what that all represents. We’ve already created history by winning two games, more than any other Scottish team has done previously. But we want to take it one step further.
“All the goals we’ve set have been over and beyond this group stage. We’ve spoken a lot about getting into round two and what we want to achieve there.
“We know we have to take it one step at a time and I’m incredibly proud of the calm this unit has shown.”
Goal of full-member status
Being a full member of the ICC, rather than one that plays just T20 and one-day cricket, is a long-held goal for Cricket Scotland.
They have been one of the most consistent associate nations in recent years, but ultimately the step up to the next level is out of their hands.
“In many ways the goalposts are not really there for us to make that decision,” said Burger. “That will come at a time when you’ve earned it. I’ve no doubt that this team is very near to doing that.
“Full membership is just a tag. It doesn’t define a mindset or a behaviour within your team. Professionalism is an attitude and we know that, whether full membership comes or not, we’ll continue to strive to get better every day, to grow the network of Scottish cricket and make sure we leave the sport in a better place than we found it.
“Full membership would help us to grow the systems and put resources into the required field. That’s all it is really. Doing what we’ve done in this tournament so far is a platform for us to show people out there why we are ready for it. And if it came our way I’ve no doubt we would really reap the rewards from that.”
Standings at the end of Round 2 👇
Big day on Thursday.
— Cricket Scotland (@CricketScotland) October 19, 2021
Inspiring the rest of Scotland
Cricket in Scotland has maybe not generated the headlines or attention it needed in the past, but Burger is aware that with their performances so far they have a big chance to change that.
“That’s a duty we have and we have control of that. We would love cricket to grow within the country, but I don’t think people realise how much is already played in Scotland. You only need to walk around and see people playing at the clubs. That’s fantastic to see.
“We need more and more people to keep taking us seriously. We want to be a top 10 nation. That’s a goal we have and our destiny is in our own hands to go out and send another message.
“We appreciate the support the fans have shown. Inspiring a nation is certainly something we speak about quite a bit and we have the ability to do that.”