Andi McElnea Interview
Ayr Cricket Club has a long history of producing excellent cricketers, Mike Denness amongst others, so we thought we would catch up with the latest 1st XI captain, Andi McElnea.
With his brother, Scott, representing Scotland in the ICC U19 World Cup in 2012, Andi will be taking on the Performance Analyst role with the current crop of players as they head to Sri Lanka ahead of the qualifying tournament in August for the next World Cup.
CS: Andi, How did you become interested in cricket initially?
The initial interest came from the Kwik-cricket that was delivered in school by Ayr Cricket club, my local club. They would always have the cricket professional out in the schools during the summer term.
My friends and I went along to the the club to try out some cricket on the Friday nights. Since I joined the club at Under 12s I developed a passion for the game both playing and coaching.
This has now led to me becoming captain of the 1st XI, which also allows me to help out in the local primary schools when I can. It's important as a player at a club to give as much as you take, I have a firm belief that clubs are there to provide opportunities for young players to flourish and become better players. That can only happen if the current players, who are more experienced, help out and guide the younger players through their development.
If Scottish cricket is to continue to move in the right direction then clubs have a huge role to play ensuring that junior cricket is their top priority! Without juniors there are no seniors. I for one know without the mentoring from senior players at my club there wouldn't be a team today.
CS: How did you get involved in the U19 set-up?
Craig Wright spoke to me and offered me the opportunity to join the Under 19s set up as performance analyst in January. It was an offer that I felt would really benefit me as a coach and aid my development in working with performance players. If I can gain knowledge that can then be passed on to players and coaches that I am working with then it’s going to be a positive experience.
CS : How are you feeling ahead of the trip to Sri Lanka?
I am really looking forward to seeing the sun for a start! There is a real feeling of excitement about the tour, but I go into it with my eyes open and ready to learn throughout the time I am away.
I have never been to that part of the world so it is going to be a completely new experience for me. The job I will be doing is going to take a bit of getting used to, so I will have some long hard days ahead of me, particularly when getting up to speed with the system.
I have been fortunate enough to spend some time with Lead Performance Analyst, Toby Bailey, learning how to use the system, and I will have a couple of days in Sri Lanka with support from the system operators Sports Mechanics, but after that it's going to be up to me to work things out myself. Toby has been great in helping me through the early stages of understanding the system. I am excited to see the talent that is going on tour perform well and gain valuable experience that can hopefully be used in order to succeed this summer in Holland, when we look to qualify for the World Cup.
CS : Personally, what are you hoping to achieve after your time away?
I hope to enjoy the trip and gain valuable knowledge and experience that will assist me in further developing as a head coach in the future. I’ll be working in an environment with the best coaches, which will no doubt be an invaluable coaching experience for me.
I wish all the players selected on the tour good luck, and encourage each one of them to work hard and make the most of the wonderful opportunity that they have been given.
Performance Development Manager, Craig Wright was quick to pay tribute to the budding Analyst, “It is an important step forward for us to now have access to a performance analysis system for the U19 squad, and I have no doubt Andi will be a valuable addition to the coaching team in his role as Performance Analyst. We are keen to give development opportunities to young Scottish coaches who have attributes and character that aligns with those we are looking for in the players, and I believe Andi meets those criteria”