Imagine being a team that came very close to qualifying for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, and then beat the #1 ranked ODI nation in a solitary ODI, following it up with a tied T20I against a Full member and ending up winning a T20I Tri-series involving the Full member and fellow Associate. Quite some show and much would be expected more from them, isn’t it.
But a cruel NO is the answer that hurls back at you, telling you in plain sight that there won’t be any more heroics for the remainder for the year. That’s the current state of Scotland, who have just finished in what was a 7-day International calendar post the World Cup Qualifiers. And that is the end of it as nothing else is scheduled for the rest of the year.
Not just fixtures, but lack of budget is also a big hindrance for arrangement of further matches, not just against Full members but even against fellow Associate members with ODI status.
As is so, the latest Future Tours Program released by ICC does not feature Scotland and again, individual agreements will be the source of acquiring International matches from 2019-2023 period as well. Oh and the best part, Scotland do not have any match scheduled against England (whom they beat) fixed for the next 4 years. So it will be again in the hands of ECB and Cricket Scotland to arrange a ODI or two, whenever possible.
USD $1.5 Million per year as the Associate grant from ICC is simply not enough to get more games. And hence, when Cricket Scotland successfully appealed for more funds, came the boost of $250,000 for 2017 and 2018 each, which enabled them to play more games. Now with no more budget available to them, Cricket Scotland cannot even schedule matches against fellow Associate members for the rest of 2018.
The funding boost enabled them to schedule their itinerary since Jan 2017, which included travels to UAE (Desert T20 in 2017 and ODI Tri-series in Jan 2018), Preparatory trip to Pretoria in South Africa prior to World Cup qualifiers and the recently concluded T20I Tri-series in Netherlands.
The State of Cricket in such scenarios has prompted more than 7-8 cricketers to leave the sport in the past decade in Scotland to pursue other avenues of steady income. If the current scenario doesn’t change for the good, the number could see more increase in the coming years as well.
As much as the interests of the Full members are protected by ICC, the top Associate countries who feature in World Cricket League Championship and Intercontinental Cup should also be looked after in an appropriate manner.
The appointment of Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer in the ICC Cricket Committee was a welcome move as it would ensure that the Associate voice is heard in the meetings, but more needs to be done in terms of Financial strategies for ICC, when it meets in its Annual General Meeting in Dublin, Ireland in Jul 2018.
A team, which is doing so good in all the disciplines of the game, shouldn’t be left cooling off their boots for longer periods of time.