We will be underdogs in final, says Steindl

Sun, Nov 21, 2010 5:30 PM

We will be underdogs in final, says Steindl

Scotland coach Peter Steindl says his side is ready for a
tough contest against Afghanistan
Scotland coach Peter Steindl believes his side will be underdogs heading into the final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup against Afghanistan.

The title round of the competition will be played from 2 December-6 December at the Dubai Sports City International Cricket Stadium.

Steindl based his assessment on the fact that Afghanistan has been unbeaten in the competition.

"The only game that we have lost (in ICC Intercontinental Cup) has been to Afghanistan. So we are going in as underdogs. Afghanistan deserves the favourites tag. At the same time we have showed fight, we have been competitive and overall are a workmanlike team. We will continue to work on delivering a strong performance. It has been a two-year cycle. We have enjoyed every game. We have targeted this competition as one of the areas for us to do well," opined Steindl.

The Scotland coach acknowledged the fact that his squad will take time to get used to the conditions in Dubai.

"Most in our squad haven't played in those conditions before. It will be a great opportunity for them to become better cricketers. How quickly we adapt to the conditions in Dubai will be a challenge that we need to surmount. But if you are in the right mental state and fight hard you can overcome any sort of challenge that comes in the way."

A member of the Scotland ICC Cricket World Cup 1999 squad, Steindl, discussed how his squad had undergone a makeover in the last year.

"The strength of our squad is that we are a fighting unit. We are a close squad. The squad has changed personnel over the last 12 months. The average age of our side has come down over the last 16 months from 31 to 26. We are developing and maturing all the time. We fight for each other. We are a well-balanced side and are a strong fielding unit. We have a workmanlike bowling line-up, Majid Haq is one of our excellent spinners. We bat right down the order. We have fought our way up in the last 12 months and will be looking to do so again in December."

The Scotland side has been hard at work for some time now for the clash against Afghanistan, but that brings with it different challenges.

"We have been preparing in Scotland for six weeks now. Thanks to the weather we have been mostly indoors, but we have tried to make the most of what we can. We have three sessions a week. The Sunday session is the one where the whole squad gets together. Everybody has been working hard on a few areas. This Sunday was our final session before we head to Dubai on 23 November. It would be good to get outside and have a bit of the sun on the back."

Steindl is backing his team to get adjusted to the conditions much like before its clash against Kenya earlier this year.

"We have shown in the past especially against Kenya at the start of the year. We had a week's camp in South Africa and we ended up doing well in the game against Kenya. We had acclimatised well. That's what we will look to do when we fly in a week before the final. We want to hit the ground running early and take that momentum into the game. At the same time we know we have to work really hard. The Afghan side will also look to do similar things."

Steindl felt his side learnt a lot from the loss to Afghanistan in the league game, but will not brood over it.

"We will not think about the game we lost because it is in the past. We had a couple of issues to fix and we have tried to do that. We felt that we did not do ourselves justice against Afghanistan. We have been working hard and learnt throughout that game. The problem with that loss was that if you start off poorly in a four-day game it is very difficult to recover and you end up playing catch up."

The Scotland coach had high words of praise for his team's opponents, Afghanistan.

"Afghanistan is a good team. Again a very close team, they travel together and play together. In such cases you end up learning a lot. They are passionate and want to do well every time they play. We have done well against them in one-day cricket over the last 12 months by winning three out of four matches we played. They are a strong, competitive unit like us. They will come out hard at us and we will do so too. So expect a good contest. ?'

But on the eve of its departure Scotland has suffered a major blow with fast bowler Dewald Nel being ruled out with an injury. Nel's place has gone to Stuart Chalmers. Steindl is hoping Chalmers steps into Nel's shoes quickly.

"Dewald did well for us in Kenya where he took a five-for and has more pace. But I am confident every member of our 14-man squad will do the job in the final. It is disappointing to lose Dewald at the last minute, but I am sure Chalmers won't let us down. ?'

It is this positive mindset Steindl is hoping will rub off on the entire group as the clock counts down to the final.

"This is ultimately a new game of cricket. We are as good as the game we are playing. We will be going in with a positive mindset to win the game. If we stick to what we are good at, we will do well. It will be a grand final. We believe we can win."

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