Hamilton's high hopes
Scotland captain Gavin Hamilton has embraced the format that was once just a "hit and giggle".
Last Updated: 29/05/09 9:18am
As an elder statesman of the game, Gavin Hamilton could be forgiven for turning his nose up at 20-over cricket.
But the 34-year-old Scotland captain has instead embraced the fledgling format which is taking the world by storm.
The former Yorkshire and Durham all-rounder remembers when Twenty20 cricket was little more than "a hit and a giggle" between county sides.
But the vast riches that have found their way into the sport have ensured it is now taken very seriously indeed.
And notwithstanding the Indian Premier League, this summer's World Twenty20 in England is set to be the biggest event the 20-over game has ever seen.
"The back end of my county career, I played a bit of Twenty20," Hamilton said.
"That was very much a learning curve - a bit of a hit and giggle in those days.
"The way it's developed and where it's got to now, it's something you've got to take seriously - a, financially, and b, it's obviously where cricket is going.
"I've always been very open-minded and I think cricket has had to move on. I'm all for it, to be honest.
"It's something cricket needed and it's put it back on the world map."
The world map is something Hamilton is determined to put Scotland back on following their shock failure to reach the 2011 World Cup.
A succession of poor performances in the recent qualifying tournament in South Africa almost cost the Saltires even their one-day international status, something which would have had disastrous consequences both on and off the field.
The fallout saw Ryan Watson resign as captain, with Hamilton's vast experience landing him the role.
Some of the players who let the side down have been axed from the squad for the World Twenty20, though Hamilton insists other changes were made in order to give the side more balance.
He said: "A lot of it was performance-based. You've got to make some decisions on performance.
"But Twenty20's a completely different format, obviously.
"We look at covering all options. Anything that comes our way, we should be equipped to deal with the personnel we've got.
"Everybody needs to be able to bat and bowl, bar one or two."
Hamilton was part of the Scotland side which took part in the inaugural World Twenty20 two years ago.
That saw them lose to Pakistan before their hopes of qualifying for the Super Eights were dashed by a washout against India.
"If we'd won, we would've qualified. But, what ifs..." said Hamilton, who knows the importance of hitting the ground running in what is such a condensed event.
Scotland play New Zealand and South Africa this time around and Hamilton added: "Going into tournaments, you probably go through the motions a little bit and try to find your feet.
"Whereas the Twenty20, it's got to be: 'This is how we're going to play - deal with it'.
"We're realistic about our chances of winning games, but if there's ever a game to win, it's Twenty20 because the whole thing can turn around in two or three overs.
"It's a case of having people playing well and hopefully catching teams on a semi-bad day."
Despite the World Twenty20 being the main event, Scotland's first warm-up match for the tournament may ultimately generate more interest.
They play England at Trent Bridge in what will be only the second meeting between the sides in any form of the game.
"England-Scotland is as good as it gets," said Hamilton.
"As soon as it says England-Scotland in any sport, the interest doubles."
Hamilton, who played one Test for England on the 1999 tour of South Africa before being discarded, added: "That was a long time ago.
"I had my ups and downs thinking about that in the couple of years after it. But not now.
"It was an experience I'd like to change but I came away from that tour a better cricketer.
"It's not even going to cross my mind during the Twenty20 - it's just going to be an enjoyable game."