The Final Training Session
There was a sense of anticipation, excitement and determination around the National Cricket Academy in Edinburgh on Sunday, as both the Scotland men and women’s national teams trained before two squads depart for Dubai on their respective tours.
The women’s national team were the first in the hall along with the U17s women’s squad, as coach Kari Carswell and Steve Paige put them through their paces.
For a number of these young cricketers, this was the final group session before they depart for the Middle-East to play in the Sport Arabia ARCH Trophy next Saturday.
It must be highlighted that the girls have done a fantastic job in raising over £25,000 to fund the trip, at a time where the women’s game is beginning to get the recognition it deserves. It’s demonstrated that with some hard graft and determination, even in the current economic climate, anything is possible.
After the session, the girls were treated to a few words of advice by Scotland coach, Pete Steindl on what they should expect out there and how best to handle the conditions they will face – a far cry from the damp, dank Scottish summer the country has just had to endure.
While the girls listened and quietly contemplated the advice, things were far less serene at the other end of the academy, as the men collected their new kit which had all been laid out earlier in the morning.
Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of handling team kit before will be able to sympathise with the rigours of sorting out training/playing/traveling gear for 23 people of varying shapes and sizes.
Once everyone had discussed, swapped and given the kit the nod of approval, it was time to head to the studio to have headshots taken by Donald MacLeod.
“Ahh headshots, that won’t take long, right?” Wrong! Making sure that the light/backdrop is correct, equipment is set up and working, ensuring players have two sets of kit and that they are happy(ish) with their appearance, it becomes a more time consuming task than you might think.
After the girls had vacated the hall it was then time for the men to show the coach what they could do ahead of the squad announcement for the Afghanistan series. Anyone watching would have witnessed a really strong-minded, intense session which can only bode well ahead of such a vitally important set of matches.
It goes without saying there will be a few disappointed men and women who miss out on these tours, but with so much exciting cricket ahead in 2013 it can surely only inspire everyone involved to improve and compete for their place and the honour of representing their country – an opportunity that doesn’t come around every day.