I recently found out that there are over 1.1 million cricket participants outside the Full Members. An impressive number that keeps growing all the time.
The funding Associate nations get once they qualify for big international events makes such a difference. It’s wonderful to see teams like Nepal, Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea coming up, and the finance and competition structures provided by the ICC are key to this happening.
There are rules in place, so that nowadays Associate nations have the opportunity to come up and play Test cricket and that is so important. Whether you’re a young player or an Associate team, you need ambition and it’s a huge goal to become a Test nation.
I have some experience of Associate teams, thanks to my time working with Scotland. I was contacted last year and asked to come on board for the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2013 and the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2014.
Being with Durham, you have five months off through the winter and it was a chance to look at other avenues. It was a fantastic opportunity and it proved to be a successful time for all of us.
I was assistant coach for the T20s but the head coach, Peter Steindl, resigned after those, and I was persuaded to take on the full role alongside the bowling coach Craig Wright. We put our heads together and it was fantastic to help them through the qualifiers in New Zealand.