Preston Mommsen
Mommsen believes Scotland cricket will keep improving and display better performance © Getty Images

Scotland have never emerged triumphant in ICC’s flagship tournaments. At the end of every match, the scorecard suggests a different story altogether. However, they are a better team than it shows. In the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Scotland have had some close encounters. They lost to Afghanistan by 1 wicket, followed by a 6-wicket defeat against Bangladesh despite putting 318 runs on the board. To add to the fire, in a clash against New Zealand, they scalped New Zealand’s 7 wickets while defending a poultry 143 total. Nonetheless, they could never get over the line in such edge-of-the-seat contests.

20-match winless streak in ICC’s major tournaments has put captain Preston Mommsen in a spot of bother. “In general, it’s tough to attribute our lack of getting over the line,” Mommsen told ESPNcricinfo, adding, “I do go on about it, but there is a lack of international cricket for us. Since the 2015 World Cup I have played in one ODI match, in 12 months.”

To add to Scotland’s misery, they have played only two matches against full-member nations since 2013: one against England and the other against Australia. Moreover, they suffered a 109-run defeat against Hong Kong earlier this year in the World Cricket League Championship. “So, you tell me how I’m going to improve my skills and develop as a cricketer,” remarked Mommsen. “That definitely has something to do with it. Playing under pressure, being exposed to a higher level of skill, exposed to different conditions, you know it all adds up, every little percentage. You know, unfortunately, that’s just the way it is and we try and handle it in the best way we can. However, it probably does take its toll.”

In ICC World T20 2016 qualifiers, Scotland was edged past by Afghanistan and Zimbabwe, and has already stormed out of the tournament. Mommsen thinks his side is as good as Afghanistan and Zimbabwe. “Quite clearly there is no substantial gap between the two teams. I am absolutely not surprised that Afghanistan have beaten them 4-0 in a T20 series,” said Mommsen.

Mommsen, however, admits that his side has not lived up to expectations. “It’s disappointing, obviously, that we haven’t come here and delivered. I think, we’re a very talented side and we have let ourselves down. In all honesty, I think, we have played some good cricket and some bad cricket, and those periods in the game have let us down.”

When asked about the World T20 qualifiers in Ireland last year and the ongoing qualifiers before facing the full-member nations, he said “This is a qualifying event, no two ways about it,” he said. “Of course it’s pressure. We’re an Associate team. Of course, it’s pressure. We’re an Associate team. I’m not sure people realise the pressure associated with playing as an Associate. Every time you take the field, no matter what version of cricket, T20s, 50 overs or four-day cricket, you’re playing for something. You’re playing for a place. You’re playing for money. You’re playing for funding. You’re playing for opportunity.”

“We don’t have just bilateral one-day series where we can go and experience different conditions, different elements and play different teams. That’s not part of Associate cricket. Associate cricket is about winning at all costs, and unfortunately that’s just the nature of the beast, and it is a beast.”

However, Mommsen believes Scotland cricket will keep improving and display better performance.

“I still think the future is bright. We soldier on and we have a lot of belief. There is a lot of skill and there’s a lot of talent, and I think, it has been evident over the last two games.”

Scotland showered praises on his team and Cricket Scotland despite the defeats in the ongoing qualifiers. “The partnership between George Munsey and Kyle Coetzer was world-class stuff. With the ball, at times, we’ve shown that we have the skills. So, you know I am not down at all. I think, there’s a lot of talent coming through.”

“We qualified for the Under-19 World Cup recently, which is always a positive sign, and you know we have a good structure in Scotland at the moment. We have a good coaching staff, a new chief executive with a very, very good business background. There are things pointing in the right direction. However, regretfully, we weren’t quite able to show that on the park in the last two games,” concluded Mommsen.