Gary Heatly talks to Shane Burger as Scotland’s men return to training.
The temperature may have dipped in the last few days since a sunny Saturday, but it is fair to assume that Scotland men’s Head Coach Shane Burger, his backroom staff and all the players will have a spring in their step when they meet up today.
After a period of furlough which ended last week, for the next six weeks the 12 contracted players and other squad members who are pushing for national team recognition will be training together under the guidance of Burger and his Assistant Coach Craig Wright.
Others such as Strength & Conditioning Coach Nick Karamouzis will also be putting Kyle Coetzer and his men through their paces so that, when competitive fixtures do return, the group will be in as good a place as they can be.
“We are all just really excited to get back together again,” Burger said.
“For myself personally, well I was back home in South Africa for a spell and then I had to quarantine down in London for a period, so to be back in Edinburgh and have cricket available to us is brilliant.
“Over the last few months since we were last able to train together there have been lots of Zoom calls to make sure that we are all ready for what should be a busy 2021.
“They have been useful and it has really allowed me to get to know every member of the squad and their drivers even better than before, but nothing beats actually being together and moving forward face-to-face as a group.
“The first couple of days of training will just be about bedding ourselves back into things, but we know that we have to use this block wisely for two reasons.
“One, we don’t normally get this length of time together at this time of the year so we can really use it to work on things as a team and as individuals.
And two, when World Cricket League 2 and other fixtures are firmed up for later in the summer they will come thick and fast so we have to be focused from this week onwards on what is to come so that we can hit the ground running.
“I know all of the guys have been working ever so hard on their fitness in their own time in recent months while the time off has also allowed them to step back from cricket and reassess where they are at in their careers.
“When we last played a competitive match in December 2019 I had a hungry group of players who always wanted to get better and that will still be the case now, in fact even more so, given the amount of time out of the game we have had to endure.”
The big event of the year for the men’s squad is set to be the T20 World Cup in India which begins in October.
And while Burger wants to see players putting their hands up to be in the squad that travels to that showpiece event, there will be plenty of 50-over cricket before then.
“Switching between the two formats can be tough, but we feel that we have this first training block set-up just right to cater for working on the skills needed for the 50-over game and for the T20 game,” Burger states.
“We have a strong wider squad while we also have a number of talented youngsters coming through who want to push their way into the set-up, so I am expecting a lot of competition for places and selection headaches – in a positive way – for myself and Craig leading up to every fixture and tournament we play in throughout 2021.”