Wardlaw plots World Cup shock

Iain Wardlaw, left, celebrates Scotland's World Cup qualifying tournament win last year.
Iain Wardlaw, left, celebrates Scotland's World Cup qualifying tournament win last year.

Cleckheaton fast bowler Iain Wardlaw will realise the dream of every young cricketer when he represents Scotland at the ICC World Cup.

Wardlaw jets off for the tournament this Sunday when he will be aiming to help Scotland register their first win in World Cup history.

The squad will spend two weeks in Sydney, where they will play warm-up games against the West Indies and Ireland, before moving on to New Zealand for the tournament proper.

Wardlaw said: “I just can’t wait to get out there and play. The atmosphere is going to be amazing and I think just about every game is sold out.

“We play four World Cup group matches in New Zealand and then move on to two day-night games against Australia and Sri Lanka in Hobart.

“It has been a whirlwind last four or five years and it’s been life-changing for me.

“I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet that I’m going to the World Cup but all the hard work and preparation over the last year is now complete and it is time to go out and enjoy it.”

Wardlaw helped Scotland win a World Cup qualifying tournament last year and now gets to play on the biggest stage of all.

Scotland play co-hosts New Zealand in their opening game in Dunedin on February 17 and then meet England in Christchurch six days later.

Wardlaw added: “I definitely want to beat England, especially as I’ll be coming up against a couple of mates from my time with Yorkshire, in Joe Root and Gary Ballance.

“Our first port of call has to be winning a game, with Afganistan and Bangladesh our main rivals to achieve that in the group stage.

“We must first concentrate on getting a win on the board and I think we have the players capable of doing it.

“We did well when we played against New Zealand and I don’t think we are far away from beating one of the big teams.”

After group games against fellow qualifiers Afghanistan and Bangladesh, Scotland travel to Tasmania for their final two matches against giants of world cricket Sri Lanka and holders Australia.

Playing against the world’s elite cricketers is a far cry from where Wardlaw began his career at Hartshead Moor but the 29-year-old has his feet firmly on the ground and is looking forward to the experience of a lifetime.

He will also have the support of proud parents Pauline and Bill, who will travel to New Zealand and Australia for the tournament.