Matthew Cross believes Scotland are ready to make an impact on the world stage this year as they prepare to return to competitive action.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic they are Scotland’s first fixtures since December 2019.
It is hoped there will be more games to follow this summer as the Scots prepare for the T20 World Cup, which is scheduled to take place in India in October and November.
Aberdonian wicket-keeper Cross played in the last T20 World Cup in 2016 in India and the 50-over equivalent a year earlier in Australia and New Zealand.
Across those two tournaments Scotland recorded just one win, which came against Hong Kong in the T20 World Cup, in nine matches.
This year, however, Cross believes they are in a position to take more scalps.
The 28-year-old said: “Playing in both those tournaments the experiences were on another level.
“Being slightly older and wiser now I do think we possibly missed opportunities there.
“It wasn’t that we didn’t focus, but we were enjoying the fact we were there to some degree and we possibly missed chances to win games against full member nations and possibly finish higher in our groups.
“I do think we underperformed at those tournaments which was a frustration, but we’ve shown since India in 2016 that we’re more than capable of mixing it with and beating the best.
“Any opportunity at World Cups now is going to be firmly focused on giving it everything and making sure we don’t get caught up in the aura of a World Cup.
“There are quite a few of us who played in the last two tournaments and having performed against teams like Sri Lanka, England and Afghanistan we have the confidence that we can do it on the biggest stage which is the World Cup.
“I think we’re in as good a position now to make a statement to the world of cricket at a World Cup.
“India this year and Australia next year (in the next T20 World Cup) are chances to do that and we’ll be ready to do that.”
Raring to go against the Dutch
Cross and his team-mates have relished return to training recently and are also looking forward to facing the Netherlands later this month.
The former Aberdeenshire player added: “It’s been good to get back into a training routine again and socialise with the boys.
“Everyone is buzzing to play cricket again and looking forward to the games we’ve got.
“I don’t think you can underestimate the importance of playing cricket together with the same or similar group of guys.
“Getting used to playing in your roles in that team whether it’s 50-over or T20, it’s good to be in that environment.
“We need to get back to playing cricket and focus on winning games and there’s a lot of similarities between 50-over cricket and T20s.
“Momentum can be carried forward from these two games as well.”
Reflection in search for improvements
The lack of action over the last year has given Scotland’s cricketers time to reflect on where they as individuals can improve and where the team as a collective can get better.
Cross said: “Looking back 2019 wasn’t our best year and it would be stupid not to have a look back over what happened and see what ways you can better yourself or what you could have done to make yourself a little bit more consistent.
“The conversations we have with the coaches and the things we’ve worked on in training mean it’s all been used in a positive way to try to become better individually and collectively as a team.
“Any way we can improve and help ourselves win as many games as possible – especially at World Cups – are memories that we’ll all hold until we grow old.”
Lister in Scotland women’s squad
Meanwhile, Stoneywood-Dyce’s Ailsa Lister has been named in the Scotland women’s squad for their return to action against Ireland in Belfast later this month.
Lister, who hails from Huntly, was named in Scotland squad for fixtures last year, which were subsequently postponed.
However, the teenager could now make her senior international debut this month.
Scotland women’s coach Mark Coles said: “It’s great to finally have international cricket to look forward to.
“It’s been a long wait for the players and I know they can’t wait to get out there again. We’ve got a good mix of youth and experience in the team.”
The full squad is as follows: Kathryn Bryce (captain), Sarah Bryce (vice-captain), Becky Glen, Lorna Jack, Abbi Aitken-Drummond, Ikra Farooq, Abtaha Maqsood, Samantha Haggo, Katie Mcgill, Priyanaz Chatterji, Ailsa Lister, Katherine Fraser, Ellen Watson.