First Published 30 January 2013
The first month of the year has been a busy time in the Cricket Scotland office, with lots of work going on behind the scenes in readiness for the upcoming season.
This has ranged right across the spectrum of activity that Cricket Scotland is responsible for, from preparing three international sides to tour the middle-east and Asia, planning for visits by Pakistan and Australia and organising this summer’s domestic events, including the ASDA Schools Cups and the Cricket Scotland League fixtures.
A number of exciting developments have happened recently (hopefully with a few more to come yet), so now feels like the ideal opportunity to update the Scottish cricket community on what has already been a hectic start to the year:
- Our new website is being launched on the 31st of January. This has been in development for the last six months and I am sure everyone will be pleased with the new design. Our approach has been a total refresh with a modern design and, above all, a user friendly layout that will enable everyone who visits the site to find exactly what they want quickly. We have entered a partnership with Cricket Archive, who are hosting our statistics pages. This has been a significant task but with all the historical data transferred, and a process in place to have all domestic cards on the site after games, it is significant progress. Ben Fox has spent endless hours on the new site and deserves a lot of credit, along with our web partners Mercurytide, for producing the new site. There is still some development to be done, including on settingup the mechanisms for match day report entries and detailed scorecards, and we hope that by the start of the season we will have a site that will meet the needs of all cricket player and supporters. I hope you like it.
- Along with the new site, we have also refreshed our corporate branding after 9 years. The new logo is very Scottish, reflects cricket with the use of the ball within the thistle and gives Cricket Scotland a new strong identity. The logo will be rolled out on all our branding over the course of the year, starting with the website and our new playing kit.
- The national side will depart for a crucial tour to the UAE in a few weeks’ time. With games against Afghanistan across all three formats it will be a real test for the squad. Following their trip to South Africa last October, the guys have had a pretty intensive indoor period since - I am sure they are all looking forward to getting back on the playing field.
2013 is going to be a vital year with qualification for two world cups on offer as well as three One Day Internationals against Full Member Nations.
- The ICC confirmed recently that six cricketers were passed, through exceptional circumstances, to play for Scotland through parentage. This was a significant development and goes some way to levelling the playing field of eligibility. There is no doubt this development will strengthen competition within the national squad, which can only be a positive thing. Our commitment to develop our own cricketers is undiminished, emphasised by the investment in our youth tours and programmes and the fact that our ten Scottish based full and part time players, with the exception of one, are direct products of the Scottish development system, a fact we are very proud of and committed to continuing.
- With our fixtures and venues for the CB40 now confirmed, as well as the dates for the ODIs with Pakistan and Australia, we are working hard on producing attractive ticket packages for our supporters. These will be announced during the first half of February.
- Yesterday we received then news that we had won the ICC Europe Award for the Best Overall Development Programme. This is a great achievement by our development team and all the hard working volunteers throughout the Scottish cricket community. We place the highest importance on growing participation and improving structures within the game and providing strong pathways for talented boys and girls to progress through the system. This award reflects the strengths of our current programme while recognising that there is still a great deal of work to do across Scotland. Hopefully, this award will be the catalyst to move the programme forward even more strongly in the future.
- The Under 19 male squad and the Under 21 female Development squad also leave for tours before the season starts. These trips are vital to prepare our cricketers to be the full international players of the future and are a key element of our performance development programme. The under 19s have an exceptionally tough qualification programme in the summer to qualify for the 2014 Under 19 world cup, hopefully the time spent away in March will assist them in reaching this goal.
- Cricket Scotland’s new strategic plan, Upping the Rate, will also be launched during February. A key element of this is stronger partnership working with our regional associations to both develop and manage cricket in their areas. This work is underway and we hope to make some significant progress during the year. The plan will be sent directly to all clubs as well as posted on the website.
- We are delighted that in the coming weeks we will be announcing some exciting new commercial partnerships for Cricket Scotland. Their support is invaluable in assisting our work at all levels as well as working with us to promote our great game. KALLI, our new kit partner will be launching the new Scotland kit in February, with a fantastic new design, ahead of the national team’s departure.
- Domestically, the league and cup fixtures for the Cricket Scotland leagues and cups have been announced and by early February I am sure the majority of clubs will be hard at work in the indoor nets in preparation for 2013.