Scotland, the brave, improved dramatically ahead of the World Cup
Safyaan Sharif is Scotland’s most prolific international teller with 121 wickets spread across 94 white ball internationals and their Yorkshire-born fast pitcher, and is looking forward to his country’s campaign start at the ICC T20 World Cup.
Scotland’s tournament begins Sunday (3 p.m. GMT / 6 p.m. GST) against Bangladesh in Oman, knowing that a victory will put them in an ideal position to advance to the Super 12 stage and take on the world’s major cricketing nations. .
Scotland aim for Super 12 phase
After their last competitive escapade in 2016 ended in the first round, Sharif is optimistic this time the team can do better, thanks to the brand of cricket they expect to embrace.
“We are going to play a fearless and aggressive brand of cricket. Associate cricket has improved tremendously since then and I have no doubts that we can provide a competitive game for anyone. When we beat England (in 2018) you got to see how much that meant to us as a nation and it’s definitely something we think we can do against teams during this tournament as well.
Sharif made his debut in 2011 and is now an experienced member of the team. Aside from taking on Mark Wood’s famous wicket to take Scotland to their very first victory over England, Sharif is renowned for his variation and ability to bowling to the death.
The rhythm will play its part
When it comes to the slow and friendly wickets in the Middle East, as seen in the IPL, he believes the Scottish pacing attack will always have a big role to play alongside the spinners.
“The wickets here are flatter and slightly slower, but our sewing attack is pretty good. We need to take early wickets in the power play and play well to death. The games could go all the way, so our role is absolutely vital. “
The tail that runs with the bat could also be the margin between winning and losing, between qualifying and elimination and the stick is something Sharif and the rest of the squad have been working on alongside the former England international. , Jonathan Trott.
“He’s been pretty good with our top notch hitters and everyone else. We’ve been working on some technical issues and the little things I can do that will help my game. The experience he has, the mental skills he has too, he has provided that too.
Time spent in Pakistan for the benefit of Sharif
For Sharif, his cricket skills improved in leaps and bounds when he spent time in Pakistan, aged just 19. He went there to develop as a cricketer with the help of his family and soon after his return made his Scotland debut, taking 4/27 in his first game against the Netherlands Low.
“Pakistan is such a crazy cricket nation. Playing cricket pretty much daily has helped me, especially when I came back to Scotland. You are exposed to so much talent and you are learning. I wanted to develop the art of reverse swing. Like a quick pitcher, to death you
I want to bring in your Yorkies and try to get the ball back. Before I was just fast and pretty erratic and before that I never had the skills I have now like swinging the ball and bowling with slower deliveries. I also became a better hitter after this trip. Before that, I was just a bit of a slogger. You have to take a little responsibility with the bat, especially at the international level.
He thanks the mental strength and the rigor he experienced in Pakistan for his development and the mentality he himself possesses today. For him, it was a world apart from Scotland’s cricket culture and a journey that transformed his fortunes.
It was tough, but he thinks he’s become a better player and a stronger character.
This mentality is something that has been crucial in enabling Sharif to recover from missing the 2015 ODI World Cup. Despite his influence in qualifying for the competition by claiming 14 wickets, Sharif has not appeared once. in the tournament.
He says it’s something that has motivated him to come back even stronger.
“I was disappointed that I didn’t play a single game, but it motivated me to become stronger and better. From there I knew that if I wanted to play for Scotland I had to play or contribute. Alhamdulillah (all praise be to God) who has been working for me since
and I think I have improved a lot since then.
Wanting to be counted as a senior Scottish coach
Now a senior member of the Scottish squad, Sharif understands the responsibility he has and is excited about the challenge ahead.
“As a senior player, people expect you to do well and it’s obviously a challenge, but I’m pretty happy and confident where I am.”
The first for Scotland is Bangladesh and this confidence is evident in Sharif. Scotland last beat the Tigers in 2012 in a match where Richie Berrington scored a century and players like Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Ul-Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim all played.
“It’s going to be a tough game. They’re a strong team, but we’ve beaten them in a T20 before, so I don’t see why we can’t show up, play with our guns and look for the win.
Sharif thirsts for Babar’s scalp
Sharif fired Chris Gayle for a golden duck, so we can’t end without asking him which paste he would like to dismiss.
“There are so many hitters I want to rule out, but probably Babar Azam if I had to pick one. I would love to get it taken from behind the way I got Chris Gayle. It would be nice to bring out a top player like Babar. “
In a week where Scottish football has brought joy to the nation with successive victories on the road from Qatar to the FIFA World Cup, Sharif and the Scottish team see this tournament as a huge opportunity for cricket in across the country, potentially inspiring a generation.
“We have a lot of Scottish cricket fans and youngsters and we just want to inspire as much as possible. So it’s important for us to do well in this tournament, not just for us as players, but for Scotland as a whole. We are trying to increase the growth of cricket in Scotland, which has manifested itself massively over the past two years.