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Kyle Coetzer wants Scotland to remain in the T20 World Cup picture

Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer against Bangladesh
Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer against Bangladesh

The T20 World Cup has not been picture-perfect for the Scotland cricket team but captain Kyle Coetzer is determined to keep his players in the right frame of mind.

In their hotel in Dubai, there are photos of various World Cup-winning sides from years past. Greats of the game who have delivered on the world stage.

Scotland face three of the world’s best this week, starting with New Zealand on Wednesday. They round off their Super 12 campaign against India and Pakistan later in the week.

“You get to measure yourself against the best,” said Coetzer. “One of the things I mentioned to the guys was there’s a heap of pictures of World Cup-winning sides in the lift in the hotel.

“It was a case of how many of our guys had played against those players, individually amongst different teams, and before some of the guys realised the amount was stacking up.

“Guys have experience against these high-quality players but we have to go into these games believing we are equals. There’s some amazing challenges and it’s only going to push the bar up in Scotland and other associate nations.

Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer, right, delivered 41 key runs for his side.
Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer, right, delivered 41 key runs for his side against Oman

“One of the reasons for mentioning the pictures – it might seem like an irrelevant comment but it was trying to get the guys to remember they’d played against and with some of the guys they’re coming up against in the coming days. We’re on the same field as them and we’re there for a reason.

“We have to keep believing that as best we can and go into these games with as much clarity and freedom as we can. If you go into there with a clear mind and positive approach you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve.”

After hugely impressive progress to the Super 12 stage, Scotland’s progress has been checked somewhat of late.

Defeats against Afghanistan and Namibia were perhaps unexpected but it has done little to dampen the mood within the camp after a week’s break.

Coetzer, who has been involved with Scotland since 2003, rejects any assertions the Saltires have little pressure on them heading into the triple-header against full-member nations.

“Every player puts some sort of expectation on themselves,” he said. “We have to be OK with that and keep believing we can play against these teams. There’s always going to be pressure. We thought playing the group games in Oman there was plenty of pressure there and there was, because what that had on the line was huge for Scottish and associate cricket.

“You have to keep earning the right to get to where we are. You can’t just turn up. Some of these teams who are going to have to qualify for the next World Cup – I can’t imagine the kind of pressure going through these teams when they have to fight for those places.

“Expectation is always there but you have to embrace it and take it on, to let your skills out.”

Their T20 World Cup exploits have generated increased interest from home but sustaining that will prove crucial to Cricket Scotland’s long-term plans.

Coetzer feels it will take “bold and brave” ideas to ensure the team and organisation builds on this tournament and does not rest on its laurels.

“Short-term, as a group, we need to perform and catch up with the cricket we’ve missed. We’ve got lots of World Cricket League to get our teeth stuck into and the T20 World Cup (in Australia) that we’ve qualified for by getting to the Super 12.

Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer.
Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer.

“As an organisation we need to be bold and brave, to try find ways to keep progressing. We have to not be satisfied with being OK, with getting to the Super 12. We have to push the boundaries a little bit further and how that looks, I don’t know exactly.

“I would encourage everyone in Scotland to keep supporting this group of players and keep supporting the organisation as best as possible. We know there will be someone out there and someone who wants to come on that journey with us.

“It’s important we group together to find the path to the next level. We’re going to have to have some help to get there but we’re going to need some bold and brave plans – and bold and brave people – to be involved with us to help us get there.”

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