Preston Mommsen: Bangladesh deserves to be in the quarter-final

Scotland haven’t won a single game in their ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 campaign and now face Sri Lanka at Hobart. Talking to the press on the eve of the game, skipper Preston Mommsen said that the side, which is already out of reckoning for the next round, is looking forward to the opportunity to play against full member nations. He also praised the Bangladesh team, which beat England on Monday to qualify for the next stage. (ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Points Table)

Q: Preston, in case of last week, how have the preparations been for this game, and what do you hope to get out of a match where you’re clearly no longer involved in the tournament?
Preston Mommsen (PM): We see two very big opportunities ahead of us starting with Sri Lanka tomorrow. We don’t get the opportunity to play against full members very often, so to have two in the space of a few days is something very exciting for all of us. Obviously, results-wise it’s not been the most perfect World Cup for us, but we’ve got two great opportunities and that’s the way we’re looking at it.

Q: How are you rating this World Cup so far? Obviously you haven’t had a win at all, but obviously, coming in, what were you hoping to get out of this?
PM: We had a definite goal of winning at least one game in this World Cup. Something we’ve not yet been able to do. But looking back at the first four games, we’ve played some good cricket, some very good cricket at times, but we know we’ve not played that good cricket for long enough periods of time to close out games. We’ve been in a couple of winning positions, and just maybe through lack of experience on playing at this stage, we’ve not been able to win those games. So we look back, and we’re proud of the cricket we’ve played, but at the moment, we are still excited at the opportunity that the next two game presents.

Q: How do you practice facing someone like Lasith Malinga given his very unique bowling action?
PM: We’ve got Paul Collingwood with us who has played a lot of cricket against him. A few of the guys have played against him. Sri Lanka toured the UK two years ago, and they played us at The Grange in Edinburgh, and we played them there. But Collie has a very good kind of worked action in the nets that he is able to kind of throw as Malinga bowls. So that’s kind of the way we’ve simulated his action. Obviously, it’s something that’s different and something that we’ve done some fair preparation on, but we’re expecting to take our time against him. He was, I think pretty devastating against us in Edinburgh, and we can’t let that happen again.

Q: Have you given any thought to how you can try stopping Kumar Sangakkara who is probably strongest batsman in the tournament?
PM: Obviously their top three, top four are quality, quality batting units. We know we’ve still got to play our own brand of cricket, and that means as a bowling unit, we have to come together and earn the right to take wickets. At the end of the day, we have to take wickets and try to negate the effect that those sort of players have. Once they get in, they make it count. So for us, we need to be as attacking as possible.

Q: I guess you could focus on little things during the World Cup. Stuff you’re happy with. Are you pleased of Josh Davey’s ranking up there in the top ten alongside guys like Morne Morkel?
PM: Yeah, it’s a very pleasing stat for us. One of the things we looked at coming into this tournament was that we wanted individuals to feature in those rankings. So to have someone so highly ranked in terms of wickets, that’s something that we’re very proud of as a unit, definitely. Obviously, Kyle Coetzer’s performance the other day is also something that lets people know who we are, and that’s something that we need to do more of.

Q: How’s your time been here and like last year, I think it was, do you feel this is sort of a second home, I guess, at the moment?
PM: It’s cool being back here. Our World Cup preparation actually began in Hobart in September when we came out on a preparation tour playing in Hobart and in New Zealand. So it’s kind of full circle for us. Quite fitting for us to finish the campaign here. But, yeah, wherever we go in Hobart City Center, people are very warm and welcoming, so it is very nice to be back here.

Q: Do you take any heart out of seeing a result like last night with Bangladesh upsetting England, that if you put your best performance out there you might be able to cause something yourself?
PM: Yeah, that’s something we admit. We’ve not yet put in a full package display. That’s something very exciting for us, because we know if we do hit the straps a hundred percent, that we are capable of turning over big teams.

We certainly do take heart from that performance by Bangladesh last night. We obviously put in a good first half against them, but couldn’t finish the game in the second half. So that’s something, yeah, we’ll take confidence from that, but we know we have to perform in both halves of the game.

Q: Do you have a full squad to select from? Everyone fit and ready to go?
PM: Yeah, we’ve got a full complement of 15, and guys are fit and ready.

Q: Likely the same 11 or are you looking at changes given the conditions here?
PM: We’re assessing. It’s a good wicket here, a good One Day Cricket wicket, and generally scores have been pretty high. So, yeah, we’ll look at our different options and assess accordingly.

Q: Does the fact that you get to look at the wicket and everything here before you play Australia give you a bit of a head start coming into the game on Saturday?
PM: I wouldn’t say head start. It is their home venue at the end of the day. Obviously, that’s going to be a very tough game for us but a very exciting fixture, nonetheless, to play against the host team and a very strong team. But that’s going to be a great experience and something we’re really looking forward to. It will be a great way to finish the tournament to play some good cricket against a very top nation.

Q: Did you take more than a passing interest in the result in Adelaide last night?
PM: I mean, it’s never nice to see that sort of thing happen. You know a lot of these guys. But it just shows that you still have to be up to the money, and I think they showed throughout the tournament they’ve not quite been there, and it’s cost them at the end of the day. Take nothing away from Bangladesh. They played with a lot of passion and a lot of skill, actually. Towards the back end there, I think their bowlers really stood up.

I think it’s only a good thing for world cricket that teams like Bangladesh, Ireland are really standing up and not just competing, but winning these sort of games. I think it’s very important that they get the inclusion that they deserve. For Bangladesh to qualify for the quarterfinals, I think that’s very deserving.

Courtesy: ICC