The Super Six stage in Scotland starts earlier than expected

Scotland could still change their starting line-up for the game against Sri Lanka, but not entirely voluntarily. The disease virus, which has left heavyweight player George Munsey locked in his hotel room for several days, has also wiped out several others who may be given a little more time to recover. The fact that Brandon McMullen was able to put together a 100% match against Oman just days after literally running off the field to the toilet makes the all-rounder’s performances all the more impressive.

Scotland are expected to take on the West Indies in their first Super Six competition on Saturday and caretaker manager Doug Watson reckons there will be a full squad to choose from by that point, including Munsey.

“Unfortunately, we had some problems with that,” said Watson. “A couple of boys have had gastrointestinal illnesses, although not as severe as George, who got off very badly with a mixture of gastrointestinal illnesses and a little bit of the flu. Maybe the trip got him too.

“It went through the camp a bit and the boys took some medicine. Brandon McMullen the other day when he scored his five against Ireland, as soon as he threw the five he had to run to the toilet and spend a lot of time in the toilet.

“Fortunately our manager Kenny [Crichton] makes sure our boys get their medication and everyone stays hydrated. We pulled Brandon out of George’s room just to make sure he didn’t get sick. That’s why we do our utmost to keep everyone 100 percent fit.

“I think by the time we get to the Super Six everyone should be 100 per cent there and available to choose from. George will do a little exercise, a 10 minute break just to get out of the hotel room since he’s been locked up for four days. Just to do something low key to boost his work ethic for the next games.”

Scotland have performed well so far, posting victories over Ireland, United Arab Emirates and Oman, but from now on it will only get harder with Sri Lanka, the West Indies, Zimbabwe and the Netherlands to follow. With only two teams making it to the World Cup in India, there is no room for error.

“It’s a brutal world,” Watson added. “We saw Ireland eliminated and you have to sympathize with them. That’s the game. At the Associate level, you keep winning, you keep moving up the ranks, and you get the chance to potentially compete in a world championship. That’s what this group was so good at.

“They’re pretty balanced and don’t go too high when we win and don’t go too low when we lose. It’s about staying constant and focused on the next game and putting all our energy into it.

“We’re always under pressure because we want to win and perform for Scotland. But the pressure is probably more on the other guys now because we can play with freedom. It’s a wonderful opportunity to play against some of the best teams in the world. West Indies and Sri Lanka have won major international events in the past. And we’ve seen Zimbabwe’s form.

“They just shot 408 against USA, one of their players got 174 so they are in great form in their home country. So it’s a great opportunity and the next four games will be great.”

Watson has expressed hesitation about the possibility that he could extend his short-term contract beyond the end of July.

“I love my role and I’m glad to have this opportunity,” he added. “I will return to Auckland on July 21 after the T20 World Cup qualifiers and then get back to work.

“The most important thing is to get through those qualifiers and hopefully qualify for the World Cup. That would be at the top with the best moments [in my career]. It would be incredibly exciting for this group. They are a passionate bunch led by Richie Berrington, a wonderful man and outstanding leader with a calm demeanor. The way he speaks and acts in the team is great.

“It has been fantastic working with this group and we as employees are very proud of their achievement. We’re looking forward to the game against Sri Lanka and then we’ll continue.”

Grace Reader

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