Blog from the CS Chair - Tony Brian
Cricket Scotland Chair Tony Brian delivers the first in a series of blogs from those working behind the scenes at the National Governing body.
I hope you are surviving what has been a miserable Scottish winter. With luck (I am occasionally allowed to be optimistic!) that means we will get a good summer - but I am not digging out my T-shirts and shorts yet!
One of the aims of the Board of Cricket Scotland is to increase communication with the wider Scottish cricketing community. We have started this through visits over the last year to our local associations and to meetings of clubs.
Another key strand has to be more regular updates about issues on our website. This blog therefore is the first of what will be a series by different people with updates on what is happening that affects Cricket Scotland and cricket in Scotland.
My topic is one of the key influences on what we can do as a governing body - the level of funding we receive from the International Cricket Council (typically about 50% of Cricket Scotland's income). And worryingly an overall reduction in that was announced in November last year under a new funding model introduced by the ICC. I was therefore out in Dubai last week making the case to individual ICC Board members and the management team for additional funding for Scotland and the other senior Associate nations.
At the same time the ICC Board was holding its quarterly meeting there and very encouragingly decided to reverse in principle the arrangements established two years ago which put India, England and Australia in control of the ICC and its funding - and as a result they have been receiving by far the largest share of that funding. Those new arrangements had led to the reduced overall funding for us.
The new ICC Chairman, Mr Shashank Manohar from India (with whom I had a meeting), has made it very clear he wants to restore more fairness to the governance and funding of the ICC and the Board supported him. He is determined to make the changes quickly - hopefully in time for decisions at the ICC Annual Conference in June this year (which co-incidentally is taking place in Edinburgh!).
Clearly there is a "lot of water to flow under the bridge" before we see the detail of the proposed changes and what they actually mean in terms of future funding for the leading Associate nations like Scotland. And any fairer arrangements must be "future proofed" to ensure that another change in regime at the ICC cannot turn things on their head again.
However I do believe the outlook for our funding is more encouraging than it looked like two months or so ago - which is a big relief.
As partial compensation (!) for the days spent in the ICC offices discussing cricket politics and finances, I was lucky enough, on the last evening of my trip, to catch a day/night T20 game the Scotland squad played in Dubai against an English County Select (including three guests from the Scotland squad!). It was great to see the Scotland players get a good work out as part of their preparations for the ICC T20 World Cup in March. While that game was narrowly lost, a number of the Scottish players (in both teams!) performed really well. That, and the enthusiasm and commitment from all of them, was great to see and promises much for the "big one" next month. And further good match practice was gained in two further games later in the week against the UAE (lost) and Holland (won).
At the same time we have been keeping a close eye on how the U19s have been doing in their World Cup in Bangladesh. It has been tough for them but it was great that they won their 13th place semi-final comfortably. I am sure they will have benefited from a great experience and will be all the better for that in their future cricketing careers. And, equally importantly, they have been fantastic ambassadors for Scottish cricket throughout their trip, particularly in how they approached their meeting with acid attacks survivors. Thank you to the whole squad - players and support staff - you have done us proud!
And so we can now look forward to the fast approaching ICC T20 World Cup next month. With further warm up time and games planned in India the team should be really ready for the competition proper. I know the whole Scottish cricket community will be rooting for them when they represent all of us on cricket's world stage for a second time in just over a year.
Good luck guys!