What does Scotland cricket head coach Shane Burger want for Christmas? Four wins in the ICC World Cup Cricket League Two.
The Saltires are in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) preparing for four matches which form the next part of what they hope will be a journey all the way to the 50-over World Cup in India in 2023.
The World Cup Cricket League is a competition being played between Scotland, the UAE, the USA, Namibia, Oman, Nepal and Papua New Guinea.
It runs until January 2022 with the top three teams in the tournament advancing to the World Cup qualifier.
In the UAE the Scots will play the hosts twice and the USA twice, with their first outing on Monday against America.
Burger’s men started their League Two campaign in August at Mannofield with games against Oman and Papua New Guinea – winning three out of four.
While many at home are already thinking about the festive season, in the UAE all the Scots are thinking about is picking up four wins.
After the final match Burger will fly home to South Africa for Christmas.
He said: “It’s a great time of the year for celebration, the festive period, and spending time with family.
“Hopefully we can all celebrate and enjoy that time by winning four games of cricket.
“The boys know we still have a lot of hard work to do to fulfil the aspirations we have set as a team, but hopefully we can celebrate at Christmas with four wins.
“It is about trying to continue the run. Your most important game is your next game and we’ll go out and try to win four out of four this time.
“That’s what we expect and that’s what we’ve prepared for.
“In the recent past the team have done well when we’ve lost a game at coming back and being very good in the next game.
“I suppose our challenge is to try to bring forward four good performances in a row.
“If we do that then hopefully we can leave the UAE as a really happy team that’s done something good on the road to the 2023 World Cup.
“It’s a three-year journey to the World Cup and the journey requires you to consistently play really good cricket to get there.”
Scotland were in the UAE in October as they qualified for next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
Although they have a long road to travel to reach India in 2023 Burger says the desire is there within the team to qualify for the 50-over showpiece.
For many of the stars of the Saltires squad the T20 World Cup is the first opportunity to showcase their talent on a global stage and Burger reckons many of them would show up well in the longer form World Cup as well.
He added: “There is no greater motivation than playing at a World Cup because that is the pinnacle of any player’s career.
“Whether you are an old or young member of the squad you have an opportunity to play in front of big crowds and some of the best teams in the world.
“We have a couple of guys who have shot up the player rankings which is great to see.
“Richie Berrington has gone up to be the fourth best T20 all-rounder in the world, George Munsey has moved up into the top 20 in batting and Mark Watt has moved up the bowling rankings.
“That’s massive for these guys and we’re proud of them.
“They have the opportunity to become the best in the world at their specific skill set.”