Scotland Up For The Fight – Calum MacLeod
‘One of the good things about this group is that we want the challenge, I don’t think anyone is going to shy away from it’
PAYNTR ambassador Calum MacLeod says he and his Scotland team-mates are prepared for the massive challenge of facing New Zealand, India and Pakistan in the space of five days as they aim to get their T20 World Cup campaign back on track.
After suffering an opening game defeat against Afghanistan in the Super 12 stage – inspired by fellow PAYNTR athlete Rashid Khan who took 4-9 off 2.2 overs during the 130-run victory – Scotland once again fell short against Namibia on Wednesday, losing by four wickets after a nightmare start to the contest.
‘The first game against Afghanistan, I think their skills might have been just too good for us on the day and then the Namibia game was a bit of a disaster. Losing three wickets in the first over – you’re never really going to recover from that even though we did fight quite well,’ says the 32-year-old Glaswegian.
The Scots are playing in the Super 12 stage of a World Cup for the first time thanks to victories in previous group matches against Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea and Oman – and while the disappointment of the defeats against Afghanistan and Namibia can’t be ignored, MacLeod is adamant that he and his team-mates will be up for the fight in the forthcoming trio of matches, starting with New Zealand next Wednesday.
‘One of the good things about this group is that we want the challenge, I don’t think anyone is going to shy away from it and think “that’s our World Cup over” – when we came in here, we expected to get to through the group stages and then we’ve always wanted to be beat one of the full members in this main group – and we still have three chances to do that,’ says MacLeod.
Scotland’s first two games in the Super 12 came within three days, but now the team have the opportunity to get some rest in ahead of the remainder of the tournament.
‘The good thing about the schedule now is that we have six days off, so we’ll have a couple of days away from the game – probably won’t train – and just get over those two games as much as possible and then come back to it. We’ll get some golf booked and a bit of tennis too when the sun goes down and keep ourselves as busy as possible within the bubble,’ he adds.
While the enormity of the challenge is not lost on MacLeod, he is looking forward to taking the arena against several superstars of the sport in the next three games.
‘The challenge of playing three of the top teams is massive, but also for me there are three individuals in those teams that I look up to as a batter – Kane Williamson (New Zealand), Babar Azam (Pakistan) and Virat Kohli (India) – seeing what they do and a bit of a chance to learn, and it’s the same for the bowling units too,’ he says.
The Scotland squad have been together for six weeks now, and in the UAE for just over a month – and while the World Cup is front and centre of MacLeod’s mind, he will look forward to seeing wife Laura and 10-month-old boy Finley when the adventure is over.
‘I will look forward to getting home to see them – what with the lockdowns, this is the longest time I’ve been away from Finley and obviously missing him and missing out on a couple of firsts like his first teeth coming through. But I think trying to get to a World Cup and winning games out here is a nice trade-off for it!’
Everyone at PAYNTR is wishing Calum well for the remainder of the tournament, starting with New Zealand on November 3, before the game against India two days later and the final Super 12 clash with Pakistan on November 7.
‘We’ve got a team that if we get it right will be dangerous and we’re a side who should win another game out here, but only if we get it right,’ concludes MacLeod.