SCOTLAND’s cricketers will this week embark on their final eight days of competition in what has been an action-starved year.

Two ODIs against Papua New Guinea, an Intercontinental Cup encounter with Ireland and a crucial World Cricket League Championship double header against Kenya – all in the UAE – represents a sizeable percentage of the country’s total game days for 2017.

However, it will hopefully all end on a high with a top four finish in the WCL and with it a place in the World Cup Qualifier to be staged in March.

Scotland need to win just one of their two matches against Kenya at the Dubai International Stadium on December 6 and 8 to clinch that reward though the ultimate prize of topping the table and securing the final berth in the ICC’s new ODI League looks beyond them, requiring an improbable sequence of results including leaders Netherlands losing twice to Namibia.

The Scots will prepare to face the Kenyans by squaring-up to Papua New Guinea on Friday and Saturday just six weeks after the sides shared the spoils in their WCL fixtures in Port Moresby.

With hopes of I-Cup success having been dashed by a combination of poor results and even worse weather, coach Grant Bradburn is in little doubt where the priority lies for this trip.

He said: “The games against Papua New Guinea are important in their own right as every ODI counts for something but we’re looking on them as vital preparation for the Kenya matches which are clearly our main focus. It’s vital that we reach the World Cup qualifying tournament and give ourselves a chance to reach the main event in 2019.

“The players have been fantastic since we returned from PNG – we faced a potentially tricky period when things could have gone a bit flat but the guys have brought a real intensity to their training. All of them have worked hard to advance parts of their game which they knew needed to be worked on.

“Now we’re ready to get into action again. These are eight days of really valuable cricket for us - about a quarter of our entire playing programme for the year – so we have to make the most of them. We want to return with a World Cup Qualifier to look forward to.”

Who will be representing the country in these final fixtures of the year remains a mystery as the squad will not be announced until tomorrow – the eve of departure for Dubai.

A Cricket Scotland spokesman would only confirm the delay by saying: “We are not in a position to name our final travelling squad until next week.”