Craig Wright admits he “can’t wait to get started” after he was appointed Scotland Men’s national team Assistant Coach.
The 46-year-old, who needs no introduction to the Scottish cricketing public, will also be taking on a role as National Fast Bowling Lead within Cricket Scotland working with seamers of all ages.
In his assistant coaching role, he will work closely with Head Coach Shane Burger to build on the good work the South African has done since he took up the post in 2019.
Last year was a frustrating one for the national side with many fixtures falling by the wayside due to the ongoing pandemic, but later in 2021, if restrictions ease, Captain Kyle Coetzer and his men will have a busy schedule.
This will include some crucial ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 fixtures and everything will build up to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in India in October and November.
Plenty for Wright to get involved with from the off then and he said: “I am really excited, I can’t wait to get started.
“I have been away for a while from Scottish cricketing circles, but that has made my enthusiasm even greater now and with so much cricket in the offing for 2021 it is a really good time to come on board.
“There is a lot to aim for and I know that Shane, myself, the other members of the backroom team and the players will be putting in as much hard work as we can to realise our potential.
“I have worked with a lot of the players in the current squad before and I know the desire they have to do well for their country and really put cricket on the map.
“Results such as the win over England in 2018 show how good we can be, but it is up to us all to set the bar high and find that level of performance more consistently because, with the standard of Associate cricket growing all the time, we will face many tough opponents in the next few months while we also want to compete with the top nations when we get the chance.”
Wright retired from playing for Scotland in 2009 after 12 stellar years as an all-rounder, making 195 appearances – which at the time was a record – and captaining the side 107 times.
Under his leadership Scotland won the 2004 Intercontinental Cup and the 2005 ICC Trophy as well as some notable victories over English county sides.
He led the side to the 2007 50-over World Cup and then, after some great success with the Scotland Men’s under-19 side as Head Coach, in 2013 he joined up with the national team as a Bowling Coach under then Head Coach Pete Steindl.
By early 2014, Wright was interim Head Coach and, alongside England’s Paul Collingwood, he took the side to New Zealand where they won the ICC World Cup Qualifier to take them into the 2015 50-over showpiece event in Australia and New Zealand.
“By the time we went to that World Cup, Grant Bradburn was in place as Head Coach and I was his assistant,” Wright said.
“I enjoyed working with him and I fulfilled that role until 2016 when I headed to Hong Kong for another coaching challenge.
“Having been involved with the national team on and off as a player and coach from 1997 until that point I have obviously kept a close eye on how things have gone since then.
“I returned from Hong Kong in 2018 and now I am looking forward to building up a good working relationship with Shane. He is a very good young coach with lots of ideas and hopefully we can push each other and make the Scotland team as good as it can be.”
Since he relocated from Hong Kong, Wright has helped coach Toby Bailey’s Cricket Scotland Performance Academy and the Caledonian Highlanders regional team.
Burger, 38, admits that the calibre of applicants for the role of Assistant Coach was high – “applications came in from all over the world and that shows the standing Scotland now has in the game” – and that Wright was the best man for the job.
“I know that Craig will make an impact with the national squad and I welcome his appointment,” Burger said.
“He has been involved previously with Scotland as a player and a coach and what really has stood out to me already is his character and the fact that he is a winner.
“He will give 100% to the cause and I think the squad will enjoy linking up with him and working with him.
“I am also really excited about his work as the National Fast Bowling Lead and this is a crucial role for the next few years to make sure that young fast bowlers are coming through the system and are ready to lead an attack at the top level when their time comes.
“Craig will work with guys like Ali Evans, Gavin Main, Safyaan Sharif and others in the main squad and the philosophy that those guys have will filter down to the younger ones so that everyone is on the same page.”