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World T20: Cricket not yet the sport to boost Scotland’s pride

world t20 Updated: Mar 11, 2016 09:22 IST
Sumil Sudhakaran
Sumil Sudhakaran
Hindustan Times
Scottish independence referendum

Scotland lost their second World T20 Qualifier to Zimbabwe, ruling them out of the main event.(AP Photo)

The score reads: 20 matches, 19 losses, 1 abandoned game.

Sport has for long been a vehicle for national identity in Scotland; the success of the football or rugby sides provides a channel to express Scottish pride. As late political scientist Benedict Anderson said, ‘sport provides a form of symbolic action which states the case for nation itself.’

With calls for a separate Olympic team and a second referendum on independence from the United Kingdom gaining strength, after the narrow loss in the first in 2014, the ‘Yes campaigners’ may well look the other way when the Scotland cricket team takes the field.

On Thursday, in their second match at the ICC World T20 Qualifier, against Zimbabwe, Scotland succumbed to a 11-run loss, a result which prolonged their wait for the first win in a cricket World Cup, over both the 50-over and 20-over formats. In three appearances at the World T20s, Scotland have lost all but one, the latter an abandoned game against India in 2007. In the 50-over World Cup, it’s a return of 14 losses in as many matches.

Thursday’s loss also rendered their last Qualifier game, to be held on Saturday at the same Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium in Nagpur, inconsequential. With two losses in as many games already, Scotland do not hold a chance to advance to the main tournament, or Super 10s as the ICC calls it.

However, with Hong Kong, a region that is also debating national identity, playing the opposition, the game in the city that houses the RSS headquarters, will have the central theme of nationalism and national identity.

Scotland captain, Preston Mommsen, who was born in South Africa, however, believes the cricket team can turn their fortunes around, immediately against Hong Kong, and generally for the sake of Scottish pride.

“That’s the fact, we haven’t won a game. It’s hard for me to say that. I still think the future is bright. We soldier on, we have a lot of belief, there is a lot of skill, a lot talent,” said Mommsen at the post-match conference.

“I think it is very, very important to go back with a win, and break the shackles of zero in 20 games, if your stats are right; that (a win) will be a monkey off the back. Obviously, there is nothing to play for, but in terms of Scottish pride and getting on board, there is a lot to play for.”

If not, Scotland will certainly come across a lot of displeased faces. After all, the team was sent off to India by no less than the Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of Scottish National Party who has made the referendum her central goal.