Second Chance For Hamilton
Scotland's Gavin Hamilton gets a second World Cup crack at Australia today – and feels victory isn't impossible.
Gavin Hamilton has long been urging his Scotland team-mates to make the most of what will surely be their only shot at World Cup favourites Australia today.
Hamilton is one of two survivors from Scotland's last match against Australia – a respectable six-wicket defeat in the 1999 World Cup at Worcester – and he is delighted to be getting a second chance to take them on.
It would have seemed highly unlikely during some of the intervening years that the former England all-rounder would turn out against Australia again.
In that time, he lost his bowling completely – a turn of events which resulted in his release from Yorkshire – and is now almost exclusively a middle-order batsman.
Hamilton is determined now, therefore, to leave the field with no regrets after today's Group A opener in St Kitts.
"We don't want to be thinking 'Oh, we should have done this' when we know it could be our one and only chance to get them," he said.
"Each one of us knows he has an individual role in the side, and if at least nine of us do what we have to do I think we will compete."
Hamilton is even bold enough to hint that a Scottish victory is not entirely impossible.
"You never know," he said.
"We have to be realistic, but there is always that nagging thought at the back of your head that it only takes two or three good performances from us and a bad day for Australia."
Hamilton's recollections from eight years ago are of a successful time in his career – when his performances for his native country and for his county set him on the fast track to what was to be his only England Test cap.
"It was a few years ago – and it is something special," he remembers.
"I was probably at the peak of my game then, batting and bowling."
Australia were slow starters in a tournament they eventually won, and Hamilton spots similarities in the circumstances leading up to both matches.
"I think we caught them at a pretty bad time then as well," he said.
"They were playing some pretty ordinary cricket – I don't think they realised what their best XI was – and they were chopping and changing their bowling.
"We caught them at a good time – and we hope we are going to catch them not at their best again.
"But we need to be at our best to compete at any level."
For Hamilton himself, another chance against Australia is the second opportunity of a lifetime.
"I've got a second crack of the whip against them, and we all want to put up just as good a fight if not better," he said.
"I'm starting to feel that over the last two or three months things have gone really well with the bat."
Scotland, meanwhile, have benefited from a more full-time approach to this campaign than was possible in their last.
"It is a lot better prepared team than 1999," said Hamilton. "We have moved with the times.
"We do the right things, and the work ethic in this team is second to none I've ever played with."
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