Cricket World Cup qualifying: Kyle Coetzer leads Scotland


Kyle Coetzer (left) will lead a squad including paceman Safyaan Sharif (second right)

Kyle Coetzer will captain Scotland’s cricketers in next month’s World Cup qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe.

The national side are in Group B of the event alongside Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Zimbabwe and a further country still to qualify for the Super Six phase.

Scotland will play Ireland and Papua New Guinea in warm-up matches before their first tournament fixture on 4 March against Afghanistan.

The two leading nations will earn spots at the 2019 World Cup.

The Super Six phase begins on 15 March in Harare with the final set for 25 March.

The Scotland squad will depart for a pre-tournament camp in Pretoria on 15 February before their two official warm-up matches.

Michael Jones and Tom Sole have both been selected after their maiden international tour to the United Arab Emirates in January.

Hampshire duo Brad Wheal and Chris Sole will form part of a five-prong pace attack including Safyaan Sharif, Stuart Whittingham and Alasdair Evans.

Batsmen Richie Berrington, who has been named as vice-captain, Matthew Cross and Calum MacLeod will provide valuable experience, with 444 international caps between them.

But Con de Lange was unavailable for selection, due to an ongoing health issue.

‘There is nothing to fear’

Captain Coetzer said: “We are all looking forward to the challenges ahead. The squad has been preparing efficiently, taking into consideration the conditions and the opposition we will face.

“The quality of the competition ahead will be higher and better than ever before, especially with four Full Member nations also required to qualify. There is nothing to fear, it is merely something we openly speak about and embrace.

“We hope to be in a position by the end of the tournament to not only qualify for the World Cup but also defend our title from the previous qualifying campaign. We have the depth within our squad to make this a reality and we will be raring to go when the opening game comes around.”

Scotland head coach Grant Bradburn added: “The challenge to qualify for the World Cup is tough for all teams, but we have selected an outstanding group who are confident and ready to take on that mission.

“The squad have had an excellent preparation phase over the winter months in Dubai, including quality game and planning time leading into Zimbabwe. The team are now very familiar with the style of cricket that suits our individuals, which is also a style we believe will win the World Cup qualifiers.

“We have selected a nicely balanced side while the players themselves are determined to have no fear of bringing their dynamic skill-sets coupled with a bloody-minded determination that reflects the prize at stake.”

Scotland squad: Kyle Coetzer (captain), Richie Berrington (vice-captain), Matthew Cross, Alasdair Evans, Michael Jones, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Chris Sole, Tom Sole, Craig Wallace, Mark Watt, Brad Wheal, Stuart Whittingham.

Scotland fixtures (warm-up matches):

Tuesday, 27 February – Scotland v PNG, Bulawayo Athletic Club (BAC)

Thursday, 1 March -Scotland v Ireland, Queen’s Sports Club (QSC)

World Cup qualifying tournament (first round):

Sunday, 4 March – Afghanistan v Scotland, (BAC)

Tuesday, 6 March – Scotland v Hong Kong, BAC

Thursday, 8 March – Scotland v WCL Div.2 (runners-up), QSC

Monday, 12 March – Zimbabwe v Scotland, BAC

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