A great experience – Doug Watson relishing chance to guide Scotland to World Cup

By Sports Desk June 18, 2023

Doug Watson is relishing his interim stint as Scotland head coach and has seen enough from the players so far to believe they can qualify for this year’s World Cup in India.

The South African, who also remains head coach of Auckland Aces at club level, took on the temporary role in charge of the Scots in April and will remain at the helm until the end of July.

Watson will lead the team at the World Cup qualifying event which gets under way in Zimbabwe on Sunday and then the 2024 T20 World Cup European qualifiers in Edinburgh next month.

“I’ve got this tournament and the next tournament and then we’ll reassess,” Watson told the PA news agency.

“I’ve been fortunate that Auckland have given me time off to come and do this role.

“It worked out perfectly in terms of timing because the New Zealand season finished at the end of April so that freed me up to spend three to four months out of New Zealand in this job.

“I played cricket in Scotland many years ago and it’s been great to be back. I’ve been really taken care of.

“It’s been a great experience so far, it’s been busy. The squad have been brilliant to work with.”

The Scots play their first match of the qualifiers against Ireland on Wednesday, while they are also in a five-team section with United Arab Emirates, Oman and Sri Lanka.

The top three teams go through to the Super Six stage where there will be two World Cup places up for grabs.

“Yes, definitely, without a shadow of a doubt they’ve got it in them to get to the World Cup,” said Watson.

“We know we’re going to be up against some outstanding teams and everyone’s got the same goal of wanting to be in the top two.

“But Scotland have done really well over the last two to four years. Finishing top of the World Cricket League shows they’re in a good space.

“Now it’s a case of taking everything they’ve learned over the past few years into the tournament. At this stage leading into a tournament of this magnitude I don’t have to drive or motivate the players.

“They’re all motivated themselves and they’re taking on leadership and preparation. We’re pretty clear on what we want to do but it’s about staying calm and present and making sure we don’t look too far ahead and that we just focus game by game.”

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