GREENOCK cricket ace Richie Berrington says playing in the World Cup for Scotland is the highlight of his career.

The 27-year-old is currently in Australia with the national side putting the final touches to their preparations for their first match of the tournament against co-hosts New Zealand on Tuesday.

Richie, a former Greenock Academy pupil, played a crucial role in securing the Scots’ place at the showpiece event during last year’s qualifying tournament.

The ex-Glenpark ace, who now plies his trade with premier league side Clydesdale, says playing at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand will be the pinnacle of his career.

Speaking from Australia, Richie told the Tele: “It is always a huge honour to be selected to play for your country but this is a dream come true to be representing Scotland at the World Cup.

“It is definitely the highlight of my career so far.

“Playing on the biggest stage in the cricketing world is an opportunity that does not come round very often.” The Scots go into the tournament as underdogs but Richie says there is a confident mood in the camp as he and his team-mates relish upcoming matches against both host nations, plus Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and England.

Richie said: “We are all very excited about the challenge that lies ahead, it presents us with the opportunity to beat a full member team in one day international cricket, something we are yet to achieve.

“Playing against New Zealand and Australia on their home turf will be pretty special.” The team jetted off ‘Down Under’ last week to end a whirlwind few weeks of engagements, including a private audience with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who congratulated them on their qualification and wished them luck for the tournament.

Greenock man Richie said: “It was a great experience and a very proud moment for all of us to visit Holyrood and meet the First Minister, who was very supportive and even tried a few mock shots with the bat.

“The support so far has been fantastic and we hope our journey will continue to boost the profile of the game in Scotland.” Scotland’s first match is on Tuesday against New Zealand in the city of Dunedin at 11am local time — which is 10pm on Monday UK time.

Richie scored 52 runs as Scotland thrashed Ireland in their penultimate World Cup warm-up match in Sydney yesterday.