Acting Scotland men’s head coach Toby Bailey is excited for the future of the sport in this country as he prepares to take a wider performance squad to La Manga for a training camp next month.
The 42-year-old has been in and around the national team set-up since he relocated to Edinburgh back in 2012.
And that means that he is ideally placed to take charge of things at the current time with former head coach Grant Bradburn having moved on recently to become fielding coach of Pakistan.
The men’s squad will begin their winter programme next week in Scotland and two weeks later will fly out for a week-long camp at Cricket Scotland’s training base in south east Spain from November 10-16.
A 26-strong group has been selected, including 10 of the squad which performed with distinction at the 2018 Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe, and seven of the side which made history by beating England back in June.
“I have been involved with Scotland in various roles such as specialist fielding coach, assistant coach and analyst since I went on my first tour with the national team to South Africa in late 2012,” Bailey, the former Northamptonshire player, said.
“More recently I have been national performance coach while also assisting Grant with the national team, so to be acting head coach is a great honour. The biggest thing we have worked on over the years has been creating more depth in Scottish cricket.
We have tried to work with players for longer than was the case before to try and help them reach their potential. By really getting to know a broader range of players and grow the group we feel that more guys can push on towards international honours.
As a result of this programme and seeing some players flourish at 22 and 23, the competition has got bigger for places and the philosophies that we work to at first team level have filtered down within the high performance group and into pathway teams.”
With nearly six years’ experience north of the border Bailey has worked with a lot of cricketers – and he believes the current national team squad have set a new bar in terms of the levels they are playing at.
He explained: “The skill level and the standard of the national team is as high as it has been since I came up here, but more so than that there is much more of a belief that the team can go out there and beat top sides.
It is not just about competing and putting up a good show, but winning games against quality opponents and we have the quality to do that.
That is such a shift in mindset over the last few years and we just have to keep the standards as high as possible so that we can keep building.
Grant did a fantastic job and has left the team in a good position and it is the programme and structures that we have put in place that we back.
We know that we have a good team and we will be carrying on and training hard. We will continue with the things that worked well under Grant, but will keep evolving and moving forward because if you don’t then the game can overtake you.”
And Bailey sees the La Manga trip as an important part of preparations for whatever 2019 may bring.
“Over the next few weeks we will be working on the skills that we feel we will need heading into next year. A number of specialist coaches will be heading out to La Manga with us and it is a great opportunity for the players to develop new skills,” he stated.
“The La Manga trip is about bringing the philosophies which the first team already have to a wider group and really getting the players who are on the fringes to buy into them.
Some of the players going on the trip are already knocking on the door of full international selection while some of the others are very young, but we feel they definitely have the potential to play for Scotland. It is up to the experienced internationals to lead by example when we are out there and show the others the levels they need to reach.
If we can develop some new skills within a wider group, get some warm weather training under our belts and come back and keep working hard over the rest of the winter then it will put us in a good place heading into a busy 2019.”
As Bailey mentioned some specialist coaches will be with the squad in La Manga alongside him, Simon Smith and Gordon Drummond and the identity of them will be announced soon.