I found that very interesting to begin with and to become better teams and better players you need to put your players under pressure and have better opposition than you might get in Scottish league cricket.
Once you qualify for the World Cup, I can see what Richard Done, the ICC’s High Performance Manager, does behind the scenes in trying to get the best opposition they can. Teams can gauge where they’re at and learn so much more on a consistent basis.
There were tours to Australia and New Zealand last year and the training camp and triangular series in Dubai. I was there as part of the training programme to help the UAE.
It was great to go and do some fielding with them. I’m sure they get valuable information and Chris Read working with the wicketkeepers and Paul Franks is still working for them now at the ICC Cricket World Cup.
It’s magnificent that players can go in and get HPP and see specialist coaches and get that experience and good tips.
I can honestly say the quality of the cricket the Associate Members are playing at times is really, really high and the only thing is that you don’t get it for prolonged periods or the strength in depth but it is getting closer and the gap is getting smaller.
You can see what Ireland
have done over the last 10 years and they’ve made a great progression. There’s a real chance that they could qualify for the quarter-finals and that would be an amazing achievement.
There’s talent out there no matter what but that can only take you so far. The likes of Nepal, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea and Afghanistan
have done amazingly well to get where they have just from raw talent in the first place.
There is real vision in the background at the ICC on promoting the game and spreading it and it’s really important that getting the quality opposition to play against them.