Qualification would be 'massive' for Scotland - Coetzer
Scotland captain, Kyle Coetzer, has targeted Afghanistan and Netherlands as the two main sides to beat in his team's World Twenty20 Qualifier group. Scotland are one of 16 teams competing for six places at next year's World Twenty20 and Coetzer said that qualification would be "massive for cricket" in the country.
Teams have begun to arrive in the UAE ahead of the tournament, which runs from November 15-30. Scotland, who played in the first two World Twenty20s in 2007 and 2009, will form part of Group B alongside Kenya, Bermuda, Denmark, Nepal and Papua New Guinea, as well as two of the favourites.
"Getting over Afghanistan or the Netherlands will fill our side with confidence," Coetzer said. "Afghanistan has been a side we have not had a huge amount of success against. So we want to make a statement that we are here and we mean business.
"It will be massive for cricket in Scotland and for all the supporters we get from throughout the country. We have not been involved in a world tournament for a couple of years now, so it will be nice to get back in the world stage."
Scotland have lost one of their key players to injury in vice-captain Preston Mommsen but should be among the contenders in the UAE. They are currently ranked 12th in the world in T20 cricket, below Ireland and Afghanistan but above Netherlands.
"Missing Preston is massive and leaves a big hole, but we have got guys who are capable of taking up his spot which is very important," Coetzer said. "We feel we have all bases covered in terms of flexibility in the squad like right-hand/left-hand combination in batting, different aggressiveness styles as well.
"In bowling, we have right-arm and left-arm bowlers, which we have not had in the previous couple of tournaments. So it is nice to have that option, we have three left arm bowlers in our ranks, which give us variation."
Coetzer, 29, is coming off the back of a successful season with Northamptonshire, during which the team secured promotion from Division Two of the Championship and won the Friends Life t20 competition. Allied to his own experience, the team will be able to draw on the knowledge of England's World Twenty20-winning former captain, Paul Collingwood, who has taken up a coaching role with Scotland over the winter.
"In terms of batting, he is really helping guys understand how to get about scoring their runs, or chasing down totals and setting a certain total," Coetzer said. "Having someone like Colly will be a massive advantage to our boys."
The Scotland squad have recently been on a training camp in Sri Lanka, to help acclimatise to conditions in the UAE as well as gain experience of subcontinental conditions, with the World T20 to be held in Bangladesh next March and April. They will prepare for the World T20 Qualifier with warm-up matches against USA and Namibia before taking on Bermuda in their opening fixture on Friday but Coetzer was not worried about his side's ability to adapt in the UAE.
"We played out there a couple of times in a year so it is not like the conditions are absolutely foreign to us," Coetzer said. "I would probably say that the conditions don't suit us as much as others, but you can't use that as an excuse. You've just got to find a way to perform the best in those kinds of conditions."