Mommsen to captain pre-World Cup tour
Preston Mommsen will captain Scotland on their month-long tour of Australia and New Zealand as part of their preparations for the 2015 World Cup. Mommsen takes over from Kyle Coetzer, although Scotland have yet to make a decision on who will lead the side at the World Cup.
Coetzer has struggled for form with Northamptonshire this season and Scotland coach, Grant Bradburn, said he would be given the opportunity to focus fully on his batting. Mommsen has stepped up from his role as vice-captain whenever Coetzer has been unavailable due to county commitments and was in charge for the three-match ODI series against Ireland this month.
"Preston Mommsen is going to lead this team for this tour, while we will announce our World Cup captain when the squad is revealed," Bradburn said. "We now have a number of potential leaders and players who are desperate and proud to lead their country.
"It is deemed a great honour to captain Scotland. Cricket-wise, however, it's imperative that a captain can command with his performance. Preston Mommsen will captain on the back of the fact that he has thrived in recent times in this capacity and will lead the team on this tour. Kyle Coetzer is a valued and highly respected senior member of the side, who also has vast captaincy qualities and experience. For this tour I have taken the opportunity to allow Kyle to focus on his own game without the additional responsibility that captaincy brings."
Scotland have arranged fixtures against Tasmania and Queensland Academy in Australia before moving on to play Canterbury, Otago and a New Zealand XI. All of the games are 50-over fixtures ahead of the World Cup, which starts next February. The full-strength, 16-man squad features a number of players contracted to English counties, including Calum MacLeod, Freddie Coleman, Matt Machan and Rob Taylor.
"This tour will allow us to have a good mix of game and training time," Bradburn said. "We have 15 games between now and the World Cup, and this initial tour allows us to work through our combinations and game plans.
"Strategically, we have chosen some quality training opportunities and opposition. It's a chance to really improve on playing spin and quick pace - something we don't get the opportunity to do as much as we would in our home conditions.
"Having our full-strength side away on tour allows that strong team spirit to build and develop into a winning culture. Our county players have had an extremely busy summer and it's an opportunity for them to get into a fresh, new environment. The ability to get away and focus solely on their own games will be a great prospect. Skill development is one of our big features - it's certainly not that the World Cup isn't important but growing all-round skills is just as vital."
Scotland squad: Preston Mommsen (capt), Kyle Coetzer, Josh Davey, Alasdair Evans, Gordon Goudie, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, Richie Berrington, Freddie Coleman, Matthew Cross, Hamish Gardiner, Majid Haq, Matt Machan, Safyaan Sharif, Rob Taylor, Iain Wardlaw