Preston Mommsen: It shouldn’t be called a World Cup if teams keep getting cut down

After yet another spirited show from Scotland in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, the side again failed to register a win. This time they suffered a six wicket defeat at the hands of Bangladesh, who chased down 319. Post the defeat, a disappointed Scotland skipper Preston Mommsen spoke to the media on the match and future of associate nations in World Cup.

Q: How disappointed are you about the game?

Preston Mommsen (PM): Very disappointed, especially after that last result against Afghanistan, and then to play so well in that first half and not get over the line, very disappointed. The team is gutted, but credit to the way the Bangladeshi batsmen managed and handled the chase. I thought they batted very well.

Q: You must say that you’ve got a lot from this game?

PM: Yeah, there is a huge amount we can take from today’s game. I think the way we batted as a team. The way Kyle Coetzer batted, that individual performance was the best of individual performance by a Scotland player in a World Cup. So as a team, we’re very proud of what he achieved out there.

We’re proud of the first half and that first innings total, again, breaking another record. That is the highest score Scotland’s team scored in a World Cup, and hopefully people back home are proud of that performance. Unfortunately, that couldn’t come together in a win.

Q: Do you think the gap of experience between the two sides was the major difference?

PM: Of course that comes to it. The Bangladeshi team all together have played hundreds and hundreds of ODIs whereas we’ve played a handful of ODIs together. So that, of course, comes into it, experience and handling and managing that chase. That showed that they’ve done that before and they went through the gears very well.

Q: You’ve eclipsed a lot of records pretty comfortably, the total of the team, the highest wicket partnership, Kyle’s knock as well. Did you think it was going to be enough? Can you take that as a big positive for Scottish cricket as a whole moving forward into future competitions?

PM: Yeah, it’s a huge positive, and we’ll take a lot out of that first half performance. 318, we knew was a good score, but going into the break we also knew that it was a very good wicket, so we had to come out and be very disciplined with the ball and put the ball in good areas and try to create chances. Unfortunately, we didn’t create enough chances to bowl them out. In the end, 318 didnt prove to be enough.

Q: Preston, looking at the sort of start of your innings, do you think you’re maybe a little too cautious in the first sort of 25 overs? I think it’s a tough thing to say, bearing in mind you’re batting brilliant in the first three games and you could have gotten 340, 350 with the power you have in your line-up?

PM: We lost the toss. So if there was anything in that wicket, it was going to be in that first hour, and I think they bowled decently up front, and it wasn’t that easy for us to get away. I think the guys consolidated nicely up top there. You look back and you might think, yeah, maybe we should have gone a little bit harder, a little bit earlier, but, yeah, it’s easy to say that in hindsight. I think 318 we are very happy with, and that gave us a chance to win the game.

Q: Just on Kyle’s innings, did that give all of you belief into what could be a tricky last two games in Hobart?

PM: Yes, it was a fantastic I was fortunate to spend a lot of time out there with him, especially through that period where he accelerated and timed his innings perfectly. So the guys will take a lot of confidence from his performance. We’re very proud of his performance, and hopefully the people back home are also very proud of that.

Q: Yesterday you expected spin heavy as traditional Bangladesh bowlers have done. Only one specialist spinner all-arounder. Did that surprise you with the bowling attack?

PM: It surprised us a little bit, but we prepared for both events. We prepared for a full spin attack or a full seam attack. I think they had a nice balance to their attack today. They had some decent part-time spinners. Obviously, they can rely on Shakib Al Hasan. He showed today he can bowl at the start, bowl in the middle and bowl at the death, and he bowled very well to contain us. Yeah, we were prepared for the Bangladeshi attack, and I thought they had a nice balance to their attack today.

Q: Do you feel like today was potentially your last chance of securing that first win in a World Cup with the ICC looking to limit the amount of associates that are going to be in the next one? Obviously, you’ve got two really tough games against Australia and Sri Lanka coming up now. Do you feel like today was the opportunity? We said Afghanistan as well, but today was the final opportunity to get that first win?

PM: We knew today was a huge opportunity for us. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future regarding World Cups and the participation of associate nations. I think a lot of discussions need to be had and the right decisions need to be made because at the moment I don’t think people are making the right decisions in terms of associate cricket.

But that aside, we’ve still got two big games to look ahead to. Two very exciting fixtures, obviously playing against two top nations, so the boys are very excited for that. We’re going to have to pick up our heads and move on and hopefully Hobart will turn out to be a good venue for us.

Q: Just to pick up on what you said, what do you feel would be the right decision regarding associate teams and things like that for the upcoming World Cups?

PM: Well, I know a lot has been made of World Cups, but for me what is even more important is what happens in between every World Cup and the fixtures that are made available to associate nations and the amount of cricket that they’re playing and the amount of cricket they’re playing at a high quality level.

Because at the moment, it’s quite clearly not enough. But if you’re focusing on a World Cup, it’s a World Cup, it’s a world tournament, so it should include teams from all over the world. But if you’re cutting that down, I’ve said it before, it’s just going back to having another Champions Trophy, so I don’t think it should be called a World Cup if you’re cutting down the teams even more.

Courtesy: ICC