England v Scotland, ICC World Twenty20 warm-up, Trent Bridge June 1, 2009

Hamilton sets sights on Auld Enemy

Cricinfo staff

Gavin Hamilton's England career was a brief and inglorious affair as he bagged a pair on his only Test against South Africa, at Johannesburg, in 1999. However, he has long since put that part of his life behind him is now gearing up for another chance to get one over the Auld Enemy as Scotland prepare for the ICC World Twenty20.

Hamilton will lead Scotland in their warm-up game against England, at Trent Bridge on Tuesday, knowing that a strong performance can help raise the profile of the game. "It is as big as it gets," he said. "Any Scotland-England game, no matter what sport it is, is always a huge event.

"The Scotland boys are all really excited about it and it's a great incentive because we don't get many opportunities so, when it comes along, the performance levels are raised and the work ethic always goes up.

"It is a national thing and Scotland is a very proud country no matter what they're getting involved in. Scotland performing and doing well against England can only be good for the sport."

It has been a difficult time for Scotland recently after they failed to qualify for the 2011 World Cup, finishing outside the top four at the Qualifiers in South Africa, and on the eve of this tournament there is further unrest in the camp after John Blain walked out.

Coupled with those problems is a lack of experience of Twenty20 cricket - they took part in the 2007 Twenty20 World Cup but one game was washed out - and they have had to quickly hone their skills in the days leading up to this event.

"We always lack continuity as a side for obvious reasons, such as people working, which means we have probably learned more over the last two or three days than we have over a couple of years," he said. "For us, it is literally getting some good fixtures against some good players at some good venues and exposing the non full-time players to these kind of games, which is absolutely crucial."

Three Scotland players - Ryan Watson, Dewald Nel, Gordon Goudie - have full-time contracts, but Hamilton works for Caledonian Breweries meaning he has to squeeze his cricket training in during evenings and weekends.

"At the moment, guys are going to work Monday to Friday, playing club cricket against 70-mile-per-hour bowlers on a Saturday, then turning up on a Sunday and playing against the world's best," he said. "It is not ideal preparation and people tend to lose sight of what guys are up against when they're in the Scotland side. The more games we play the better we are going to be."

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