ICC Women's World T20 Qualifier: Scottish Wildcats hope to thrive in Thailand

By Amy MacBeathBBC Sport Scotland
Scotland's women start their journey to Thailand from Glasgow Airport as they try to qualify for the Women's World T20 in 2016
Scottish Wildcats have embarked on their journey to Thailand

Scotland's cricketers have embarked on their ICC Women's World Twenty20 qualifying mission in Thailand.

The Wildcats travel to tropical climes to fight for their place, and are prepared to battle the heat too.

Captain Abbi Aitken says the key to dealing with the tournament in Bangkok is "definitely factor 50".

"We've given ourselves enough time to get out there, get some training in, some warm-up games and just try and acclimatise the best we can," she said.

Scotland target World T20 qualification

"Our fitness has been an aspect that we've focused on going out there. We know the humidity is going to be tough but I think we've prepared ourselves well enough for the tournament ahead and hopefully we'll do ourselves justice."

Armed with sun cream and bundles of enthusiasm, the 14-strong squad are off to make only their second appearance at a global ICC event.

And they say they are ready to face the strong competition lying in wait in their qualifying matches, starting at the end of the month against Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh and hosts Thailand.

The Wildcats will take on China, Ireland and Zimbabwe in warm-ups before the qualifiers.

ICC Women's World T20 Qualifier: Scotland's group fixtures
Papua New Guinea06:45 GMT, Sat 28 NovemberThailand Cricket Ground
Bangladesh03:00 GMT, Sun 29 NovemberAsian Institute of Technology Ground
Thailand03:00 GMT, Tue 1 DecemberThailand Cricket Ground

Facing the team ranked ninth in the world is an opportunity Scotland's 24-year-old skipper is relishing.

"Bangladesh are the team we're most looking forward to getting out there and playing," said Aitken.

"They have a lot of experienced and are very talented players so even to have the opportunity to share the pitch with them means we'll learn a lot from them - and who knows what will happen on the day?"

To join their male counterparts, who secured qualification for the men's tournament in August, the women must finish in the top two of the eight teams competing for qualification.

The Wildcats say there is belief among the squad, even though most have not played at this level before.

Aitken herself is nearing 100 caps and many of the squad aged 15-30 are reaching the half-century mark.

Scotland skipper Abbi Aitken and player-coach Kari Carswell
Skipper Abbi Aitken with coach and senior player, Kari Carswell at Glasgow Airport

Senior player and coach, Kari Carswell (who plays under her maiden name of Anderson) said travelling to Thailand is "massive" as it is the most significant tournament Scotland's women have ever played in.

"It's huge," she said. "There's a few of us who played in our last global event but for a lot of these girls it's the biggest competition of their lives."

The previous trip was to South Africa for the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier in 2008external-link and Carswell says interest since then has been building.

"The support for this tournament has been fantastic," she said. "The biggest development has come over the last four years in terms of the number of females, girls and women who have taken up cricket and it's great we're keeping cricket in the news all year round, which is something that we need to do.

"It's great to get an opportunity to showcase our sport.

"As well as going along to compete, we're also trying to inspire the younger generation.

"I have no family that have played the sport, no-one who understood the rules or anything. They're still getting to know the rules, to be honest.

"But with a lot of the girls, their father or brother or their uncle got them into the sport so that's really where we were. Now that cricket is in more mainstream schools it's a lot more available to girls to go along and try."

Top Stories