T20 World Cup: Captain Kyle Coetzer backs Scotland to 'make a scene'

By Tyrone SmithBBC Scotland Sport
Scotland celebrate
Scotland face Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea and Oman in the T20 World Cup

Scotland head for the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman with a squad "as powerful as we have ever had", says captain Kyle Coetzer.

The 37-year-old batter is in his second spell as skipper but his first at the finals, having stood down before the 2016 event.

Scotland failed to qualify from the first round group stage of lower-ranked nations in India, but Coetzer tells BBC Scotland he feels they are better prepared as a team - and he personally as a captain - to make their mark this time round.

Good shape despite extreme conditions

Scotland are one of eight teams in two groups taking part in the first round, with the top two in each qualifying for the final Super 12.

Coetzer's side start their campaign on Sunday and it could not be much tougher against a Bangladesh side who were outside the top eight in the world when the draw was made in 2018 but are now ranked sixth.

However, Scotland will be disappointed if they do not at least grab the runners-up spot given they have beaten the other two teams in the section - Papua New Guinea and co-hosts Oman - more than once in recent warm-up games.

"The boys are in good shape," Coetzer says. "Our results of late have been very good."

'I wasn't the captain I should have been'

Coetzer's initial spell as captain ended in 2013, with South Africa-born Preston Mommsen taking over for their T20 and 50-over World Cup campaigns.

"I will be honest, back then, my previous stint, I certainly wasn't the captain that I should have been," the Aberdonian says. "These are all things you have to go through to learn more about yourself and, when I was asked to do it again, I certainly had to think about it to make sure it was the right decision, not only for me but for the team."

Coetzer believes his role is "giving the guys freedom to play and be the leaders that they need to be on the field".

"As far as I am concerned, we have 11 leaders that go on the field and each of them have to play their part," he suggests.

Scotland come through pandemic 'refreshed'

With the tournament delayed and then moved from India because of the worsening pandemic there, Coetzer and his side have had to wait longer than they thought for their World Cup opportunity, but he believes having the tournament as a target helped the players cope amid the health crisis.

"There were some tough times, but that played a huge part in the guys' motivation levels," he says. "There has been a lot of water under the bridge over those couple of years and it does seem a long time since we were last out here and we qualified and the enjoyment and the excitement that came from that.

"Over that period, there have been a lot of questions asked about how much do you really want to keep working hard when things are really tough and ultimately we had to do that on our own. There were some real challenges in there and the guys have handled themselves well and probably come back in an even better shape physically and mentally refreshed."

'We can make a bit of a scene'

Coetzer admits that, for his team, "it has been a bit of a shock to the system how tough it is out here at this time of the year", but he is confident they can withstand the extreme heat - and the pressure of being in the world spotlight.

"We believe we have a real opportunity over the next couple of weeks not only to do ourselves justice but also to make a bit of a scene," he said.

"I believe this squad is as powerful as what we have ever had. We have got pretty much every base covered in terms of skillset. The players have the drive and the willingness just to get the head down and get the job done - and we've got the explosive power throughout our line-up if and when we need it."

Coetzer is not letting his concentration drift to the prospect of facing the likes of England, Australia, Pakistan and holders West Indies in the final group stage for the first time.

"There is certainly a strong belief amongst the squad that is a real possibility," he adds. "It has been a long old journey to get back to here, but we are here now and it is time to do the business."

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