The summer may be over, but the schedule for Scotland’s women carries on apace. Wicketkeeper-batter Sarah Bryce and seamer Katie McGill have just returned from Australia where, together with Wildcats Assistant Coach Peter Ross, they took part in a fortnight of matches, training and observation as part of the ICC Global Development Squad.
“It was really good,” said Katie. “The trip was in two main parts, the first being us playing as the ICC squad, and then we split off into pairs for placements with teams from the Women’s Big Bash League.
“It was really cool to see both sides because I know people have done either one or the other in the past and so to get a combination was really exciting.”
“It was something that I’d been really looking forward to for a while,” said Peter. “During the interview process I spoke about how I had spent almost all of my coaching career in Scotland, so this was a great opportunity to go out to Australia and mix with a whole variety of players and coaches with different backgrounds and experiences.”
“It was quite a different experience from the first time that I did it,” said Sarah, “which was after the Qualifiers in Holland [in 2018]. That time there were a few visa issues so it ended up being very much a European team, which was great, but we all knew each other beforehand. This time there were eight different countries represented, so loads of different cultures, but we got on so well and learnt a lot from it.”
Captained by Pakistan’s Bismah Maroof, the team played a series of T20 matches against players drawn from WBBL sides before spending time on placement with the teams as they prepared for the first round of matches in this year’s edition of the showpiece event. Designed to enhance the development opportunities for players outside the leading international teams, the squad also featured cricketers from Ireland, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and New Zealand as well as Thailand, who qualified for their first-ever global ICC event at the Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in Dundee and Angus a few short weeks ago.
“There wasn’t a lot of rest,” said Katie. “We arrived on the Monday and then on the Tuesday we met the rest of the team and were straight into training. It was pretty much a match, training or travelling every day, and it was great to be able to access some really top-end facilities.
“We played six games between Melbourne and Hobart against the Victoria team, the Adelaide Strikers and the [Hobart] Hurricanes, then I went back up to Melbourne to join the Melbourne Stars. We got to sit in and observe how they do team meetings and their training and join in with a bit of that where possible.
“It was cool to see how simple everyone keeps it,” she continued. “They have the ability to see themselves and their opponents on video whenever they need to and have four or five coaches and so on, but at the end of the day it comes down to the same simple principles of having a plan, trusting yourself and having the bravery to execute. Although we maybe don’t have all the luxuries they have we can still follow the same basic steps.”
“Techniques keep changing and the way people go about training and so on keeps changing so I think learning how people go about it now [was really valuable],” said Sarah, who followed her 2017 experience on the Women’s Big Bash League Rookie Placement Programme with a second trip to Hobart. “A lot of team meetings now are very player-led, a lot more than I’ve ever experienced before, and to see how the players take on a lot more responsibility was really interesting and hopefully I can take that home and [use it in] my own training.”
For Peter, who worked alongside Netherlands Head Coach Sean Trouw, the programme offered similar benefits.
“Working with Sean was great,” he said. “I’ve seen him many times at ICC events but to get to know him properly over the past couple of weeks was a lot of fun. He has his own way of doing things but I think that we complemented each other really well. We were also fortunate to work with [former Australian international] Joanne Broadbent, our Mentor Coach, and between myself, Sean and Joanne there was a really good dynamic with everyone keen to share, pass on experiences and learn from each other.
“I feel really energised having done it. I constantly want to get better and develop as a coach and I’ve come back with a lot of different ideas about how I can improve my own coaching and, importantly, move cricket in Scotland forward as well. From that perspective I’m really looking forward to my coaching over the next six to twelve months to see how I can implement what I’ve learnt.”