The Traveling Fox - The Final Blog
Our Roving Reporter is travelling in the UAE with the Scotland Team
Read his thoughts and share his experiences during this important week for Scottish Cricket
Published 11 March 2013
Well, it's the final day of my tour of the UAE and what an experience it has been. Throughout these blogs I have tried to keep it honest and, if I'm to continue in that vein, I'd have to class Friday as heartbreaking.
On Thursday night the coach had us out for a team activity (crazy golf) and a team meal, which put everybody at ease – but the sense of unity was evident. It was a quiet and determined, bus journey to the ground for our final World Cricket League match against Afghanistan.
Kyle's century was up there with one of the best I have witnessed; In such heat, with such pressure, he was magnificent! He and Josh so very nearly helped contribute to what would have been a victory to match the famous win against Ireland, two years ago in the qualification rounds.
The immense effort by the bowlers and fielders in those conditions, and the leadership showed by Gordon Drummond and Pete Steindl, was admirable.
For the guys to turn in a performance like that on Friday, particularly after the manner of Wednesday's defeat, was quite remarkable. While on paper it may not look great, but there were many small aspects of the game that, had they gone our way, it would be from an entirely different perspective that I'd be writing this blog.
Of course, there was bitter disappointment following the game……but that's international cricket I guess, small margins win matches.
I'm sure it will be easy for those at home to judge and write that this tour has not been as successful as we would have liked. However, from what I saw on the ground there are plenty of reasons to be enthusiastic about the future of this team and I am sure we will all be able to properly witness, over the next few months, the emerging talent that is so clearly here.
In earlier blogs I talked about the conditions and atmosphere, but the crowd that packed in yesterday (reports of 12,000 people) was unbelievable, and acted as a 12th man (even 13th as they were so loud) as they were treated to a fabulous game of cricket. According to media sources, 9 million listened to the match on Pashto radio and many more thousands watched via the ICC stream and followed tweets.
One thing that should not be underestimated is just how good this Afghanistan team is. The sacrifices they make and the hours upon hours of work they put in, playing their cricket hard and fearlessly, means they are a tough opposition for anyone.
Sharjah is a funny old place. With the hustle and the bustle of the city, the constant car horns, the crazy driving, the batting friendly wickets - it's a far cry from the quiet closes and green seaming decks of bonnie Scotland.
It seems fitting that I am writing this blog on the plane where it all started, and although it’s been tough, and the results not what I might have wished to be reporting on, I'll look back on my first tour with fond memories of and enormous respect for all of the participants.
I would like to make a special thank you to the team and management, who made me feel so welcome and provided me with support, advice and tolerance. It was a daunting prospect to make my first tour as media manager and, even with the unnecessary excitement of dodgy wifi connections, it has been a massive learning experience that I hope Cricket Scotland will continue to benefit from during the course of this important season. For the folks at home who provided encouragement and support in the background – you know who you are, and know how grateful I am too!
I hope you've enjoyed reading these blogs as much as I've enjoyed writing them - until next time!
From a slightly tanned (perhaps a little burnt),