THERE are few bigger tests for a Scottish cricket team than taking on the world No 1 ODI side but captain Kyle Coetzer says there is a real belief within the squad that they can spring a surprise today.

The Scots take on England at the Grange in Edinburgh and despite a sizeable gap between the teams in the world rankings - Scotland are ranked 13th best one-day side in the world - the hosts are not there to merely make up the numbers.

Scotland have never beaten England in an official international but Coetzer is not ruling out that history could be made today. England are not in their best form of late while the Scots are creeping up the rankings.

And Coetzer and his team-mates are taking inspiration from Duncan Hodge, the Edinburgh Rugby assistant coach, who knows exactly what it feels like to beat England. Hodge scored 19 points in Scotland’s defeat of England in the 2000 Calcutta Cup meeting and Coetzer revealed the former fly-half, who was also a handy cricket player and represented Scotland at Under-19 level, has been involved with this squad in the lead-up to this match against the Auld Enemy, helping to instil a belief in the Scots that aiming for anything less than a win is not an option.

“Duncan’s big thing is that when you go out to play a game of cricket, you’ve got to look to win every game,” Coetzer said. “That’s the case with us and while we’ve got to be realistic too, still make sure we go out there with every intention of winning the game. Possibly in the past, that may not have been felt throughout the squad but I think it most certainly is now and that’ll show in the style of cricket we’ll play.

“Our head coach Grant Bradburn has been in touch with Duncan since he arrived in Scotland and he’s come in as an ambassador, just to give a different view on some aspects of the sport.

“And with Duncan having beaten England single-handedly when he scored 19 points, it’s a very powerful message. He’s been here yesterday and today and he’s a great person to have around.”

The Scots are coming off the back of a devastating defeat to the West Indies in March, where rain caused their winner-takes-all match to be abandoned and meant the Scots failed to qualify for next year’s World Cup by the finest of margins.

While the performances at the qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe were hugely encouraging, the result has taken some getting over.

“We’re extremely proud of how the guys represented themselves in Zimbabwe,” the 34-year-old said.

“Obviously we fell at the last hurdle but the style of cricket we played was seen throughout. There was a lot riding on that tournament and there’s quite a bit of time to wait until the next one. It was hard to take and I think some people took it harder than others to bounce back but the longer you mull it over and wait, the worse it can become so I think that playing some cricket today will benefit everyone.”

From an English point of view, captain Eoin Morgan is taking nothing for granted despite his team’s tag as heavy favourites. Morgan has brought a strong squad to Edinburgh and armed with the knowledge that that Scots will be fired-up, his team will be approaching this game exactly as they would one against a higher-ranked nation.

“It should be a really good game,” he said. “It’s not a foregone conclusion. I think gone are the days when there are any potential banana skins or anything like that. Cricket is moving forward at a fast rate and every team is moving forward with you, so I’d expect it to be very competitive.

“I think Scotland can be dangerous in all aspects, I don’t think any one particular facet should dominate. Like any good team, they are well rounded.”

Morgan, who started his international career with Ireland, expressed his sympathies that Scotland failed to make next year’s World Cup but he is encouraged by the progress the associate nations are making.

“We watched Scotland play in the qualifying tournament, which was an extremely competitive tournament and I don’t think there was a lot between the teams,” he said. “I think the biggest difference in recent years for the associate nations would be the professional nature of things.

“Not only Scotland, but all the associate teams go about their business in a professional manner whether they get paid or not.

“I think they do believe they can beat top teams. And when it’s a one-off game, the likelihood of that happening increases the belief that bit more.”