Sceptics will stalk the inaugural 16-team Cricket World Cup like vultures, checking the air for signs of the first blood-curdling mismatch. Had they drawn up the guest list, such luminaries as Mike Atherton, Michael Holding and Courtney Walsh would have kept the non-professional quota to a strict premium - at best, Scotland would have earned the 12th and final invite, their presence a manageable irritation.
 
Yet the underdogs have a staunch ally in Gordon Greenidge, a man ready to go against the grain to lend his international standing to the developing nations' cause. It's not unusual for the great opening batsman to do things his own way - after gracing his last of 108 Tests he spent two summers as professional at Greenock and coached the pre-Test incarnation of Bangladesh, work that led to an appreciation of the cricket world outside the flashing bulbs and dollar signs of the old hegemony.
 
Only a sober individual guided by vision, enthusiasm and an open mind would speak out against a near-consensus in the FPs (former players) community that does not want for logic, but is simply blinkered. Greenidge's expeditions down the Firth of Clyde and a south-Asian delta qualify him to comment on global development, and he does not see the ICC's 33 per cent expansion of the World Cup for its Caribbean curtain call as an error of judgment.
 
In elite sport, parity can only be achieved if a degree of disparity is endured along the way. And Greenidge is certainly no fantasist. While coach of Bangladesh, he engineered an inaugural World Cup win that seriously jeopardised his popularity here, coming as it did over Scotland at the Grange. But within days, he was removed from his post for warning that the Tigers weren't yet ready for Test cricket, missing the chance to savour their subsequent win over Pakistan.
 
"I understand where the critics are coming from but I don't agree with them," Greenidge says of the FPs who have queued up to label the tournament overblown. "Such matches always look like they are going to go a certain way, but there have been some occasions when the lesser teams have given the established teams a run for their money.
 
"I suppose the standard of competition isn't always going to be as high as you would like to see it, but there will still be plenty of spectators who are looking to see how their team does and how their preparations have gone, to get them to this stage. The bottom line is: how are these teams going to improve if we don't give them a chance?"
 
The World Cup begins a week on Tuesday when West Indies host Pakistan in Jamaica. A day later, Scotland face Australia in a contest that many are expecting to set the tone for a fortnight of tedium, before the event is supposedly rescued by the top-heavy Super Eight. However, that labyrinthine round-robin could turn out to be less watchable than its romantic forerunner, where it could be a case of one strike and a giant is out.
 
Like the average punter on his home island of Barbados, where cricket is enshrined and protected from rival pastimes, Greenidge's excitement over the great West Indian jamboree is unqualified. Desmond Haynes' old ally, who played six times for Scotland in 1990, beginning with a fifty against Essex and compiling 166 runs in all, talked to The Scotsman after playing in a gala match - West Indies Legends v World Legends - that re-opened the Kensington Oval.
 
Greenidge is a couple of months shy of 56. Yet, in front of 12,000 nostalgists in Bridgetown, he batted with all his old pinpoint ferocity, twice driving Devon Malcolm through the covers and then unleashing a straight six off Waqar Younis, a man 20 years his junior and only three seasons retired.
 
Everything Greenidge does commands respect. He is sober and economical with his words, a trait that must serve him well in his running of the West Indies Cricket selection panel. "I don't enjoy my job," he confesses of the challenge of uniting opinion among an archipelago of 12 independent nations. But he has cherished the duty of guiding the islanders into a home tournament where few can dispute their outside credentials of winning.
 
Eight weeks out from a possible day of reckoning back in Bridgetown, however, Greenidge was happy to train his thoughts on Scotland's second World Cup appearance. His clear support for minnows is not simply born of sentiment - he followed Scotland's winter odyssey through Bangladesh, the UAE and Kenya and was impressed by the momentum generated by ascending performances that culminated in second place at the World Cricket League.
 
"My memories of Scotland are excellent; I enjoyed my time there immensely," he recalls. "I didn't see as much of the country as I had wanted to but the places I managed to get were very beautiful. I still try to keep in touch with the good people I met because I like to renew old acquaintances, and it's a throwback to those days.
 
"I wouldn't agree that the standard of cricket wasn't great when I was there. There were some good players around, but what was and always will be a problem is a lack of exposure to foreign conditions. International recognition demands that players develop their skills on a variety of pitches worldwide. If you are consistently playing tournaments and matches on surfaces that you are accustomed to, I don't feel you can measure the improvement in your skills.
 
"The more different challenges Scotland can undertake, the better they will become. The tours that they have been having, and the type of cricket they have been able to encounter, are obviously a good step in the right direction because that will help them change the way they would normally play. Soon they will be able to adjust their game to any conditions they face.
 
"It's always going to take some time for associate nations to raise their levels, but some of the bigger teams have struggled of late, so they should understand how difficult it is. You have to adopt a different mindset for full international cricket. The confidence and adrenaline might be there, but there is a whole different set of skills that the top players have been working on for years.
 
"I would hope to see them do well, but the heart of the matter is it's a situation they are not accustomed to. I'm not saying that Scotland cannot come here and win all three of their games, but it will be extremely hard for them. I will be looking out for Scotland's matches because I have spent time in your country, and I will looking out for Bangladesh as well. It's a fact that we want our own country to do well above all, but beyond that, a piece of my heart lies in Scotland."
 
On the matter of West Indies' own prospects - the trophy has never yet been lifted by a captain standing on home soil - Greenidge, a winner in 1975 and 1979, is cautiously optimistic, as the rest of the world should be in appraisal of an athletic outfit replete with match-winners.
 
"There is always a lot of expectation on West Indies - the people demand it because of what happened in the past," he says. "We have a lot of varied talents and sometimes they click together all at once. If they can ignore the pressure and just play cricket, it could happen."
 
If it did happen, few would want to begrudge this enduring West Indian icon, a true champion of the outsider, his moment of satisfaction.