Australia to tour Scotland after 11 years for first bilateral men's T20I series

The matches were organized after Cricket Ireland withdrew from organizing the matches due to financial problems.

Richie Berrington is the only survivor, from both sides, from the 2013 ODI which both teams played at The Grange CCI/Getty Images

Scotland and Australia will play their first bilateral men's T20I series in September in Edinburgh. This will be Australia's first tour of Scotland in 11 years, and comes before they play three T20Is and five ODIs against England. The matches will be played at The Grange on September 4, 6 and 7, before the first T20I against England at the Ageas Bowl on September 11.

The announcement came as the two teams prepared to meet in a T20 World Cup Group B match in St Lucia, which will decide whether England or Scotland join Australia in the Super Eight phase. England and Scotland have three and five points respectively, behind Australia, who lead the group with six points. If Scotland beat Australia they will progress, but could still qualify if beaten while maintaining a higher net run rate than England.

Australia was initially scheduled to play three ODIs and a T20I against Ireland in August and September, but Ireland withdrew from hosting the games due to financial problems. Cricket Australia then contacted Cricket Scotland earlier this year, seeking alternatives to the Ireland tour.

“Cricket Australia came to us and said we would love to collaborate with you and we said we would absolutely love to collaborate with you,” Cricket Scotland CEO Trudy Lindblade told ESPNcricinfo. “We just had to find a way to make it happen.

“So for us it was a no-brainer that Australia would come to Scotland before playing England and it was just about finding a way to make that happen. And thanks to the support of [CA chief executive] Nick Hockley and his team at Cricket Australia, we managed to find a way.”

“We need to play high quality cricket more often. The top associate members will say the same thing as us and that will demonstrate not only our performance on the field but also that the people of Scotland will be able to see the best cricket possible.”Trudy Lindblade, CEO of Cricket Scotland

Scotland and Australia have only played five international matches – all ODIs – against each other over the years, and only twice outside of a World Cup, both at The Grange . Australia has been victorious every time and the last time the two sides met in a bilateral match, in a one-off ODI in 2013, Australia recorded a crushing 200-run victory. Richie Berrington, the current Scotland captain, is the only surviving player from the 2013 match on both sides.

But while Scotland hope to be less accommodating on the field in the next series, Australian-born Lindblade believes the tour will provide the perfect opportunity to showcase what Edinburgh has to offer as a cricket destination , as board faces fallout from damaging report findings Cricket Scotland guilty of institutional racism and sexism.

“What a way to end the year to have Australia come to Scotland, playing three T20 internationals at the Grange, when we have been through some incredibly difficult times,” Lindblade said.

“It will be a celebration of cricket in Scotland and we hope everyone will support us and that when tickets go on sale we will fill The Grange for three days and we can show everyone that cricket in Scotland is well and truly on its way and how it’s a sport that everyone can enjoy.”

Lindblade hoped the tour would lead to other tours of full member countries: “We need to play high-quality cricket more often. The best associate members will say the same thing as us and this will demonstrate not only our experience in the field. performance, but also for the people of Scotland to see the best cricket possible,” she said.

“We would like to resume discussions with board members about coming to Scotland. It is not only a great place to play cricket, but it is also a great place to visit. So while they're here, we can also make sure they have a nice time between matches. It's a whole package when you come to Scotland.”

All-rounder Michael Leask said the series would be “incredible” for Scotland. “[We] “I don't get many opportunities to play against teams like Australia, England, India, Pakistan – especially at home,” Leask said. “It’s going to be a wonderful opportunity for Scotland to welcome the world Test champions, the ODI champions, literally one of the best in the world to our home ground.”

Melinda Farrell is a journalist and broadcaster

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