Mark Coles becomes Scotland's first-ever full-time women’s coach.
Scotland’s full membership plans received a boost last week, with Coles coming on board as their first-ever full-time women’s coach. The move, which signals Scotland’s ongoing commitment to women’s cricket, saw Coles sign a two-year contract as the Wildcats look ahead to a busy schedule over the next 12 months. He replaces Steve Knox, who had filled the role on a part-time basis since 2016.
Coles, originally from New Zealand, has a breadth of experience across the women’s game stretching back nearly twenty years; most recently he was high performance manager at the Japan Cricket Association, and before that he mentored the Pakistani women’s team throughout their ICC Women’s Championship campaign between 2017-2019. He has also coached the Vanuatu women’s team as well as various domestic sides in New Zealand and Australia.
ICYMI: @CoachColes2 has been named as new full-time head coach of the women’s national team @WildcatsCricket. We’re really pleased to have him on board and we chatted to him about his plans for the team 👉 https://t.co/cSvBprFvZM pic.twitter.com/d6Up7ssDZ5— Cricket Scotland (@CricketScotland) February 20, 2021
Coles’ first priority will be to help the Scottish women prepare for several important tournaments this year – first, hosting the ICC T20 World Cup Europe qualifiers in August, as well as being likely starters in the eventual qualifying tournament for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Gus Mackay, CEO of Cricket Scotland, highlighted the forward-looking nature of Coles’ appointment in a statement released with the announcement: "Mark’s appointment as full-time coach of our women’s national team represents a big step forward for women’s cricket in this country. We conducted a robust recruitment process for this role, considering candidates with a wide range of cricket backgrounds from around the world. Mark’s experience and achievements with Pakistan made him a standout candidate for the role."
Denmark announces new men’s head coach
In more European coaching news, Denmark have unveiled their new men’s head coach and high performance manager following the departure of long-serving mentor Jeremy Bray; Bray recently moved to Vanuatu to take on a similar, dual role.
The Danish Cricket Federation (DCF) this week announced a two-year contract for Ruan Louw, a South African native who has worked in the UK for over a decade, with roles across a range of men’s and women’s teams. Currently working as director of cricket at Exeter University, Louw has previously linked up with, among others, Hertfordshire, Middlesex, Yorkshire and the University of York. In his time with Yorkshire, he impressed fellow coach Jason Gillespie, who praised the appointment on social media:
So excited for my mate @ruanlouw75 on this great opportunity. Been fortunate to spent a lot of time with Ruan over the years and have learnt a lot about our great game from him. Danish Cricket is the winner here.#GreatAppointment https://t.co/Xa1NMvCIan— Jason Gillespie 🌱 (@dizzy259) February 26, 2021
The DCF, for their part, expressed satisfaction with Louw’s credentials as they plan for the Danish men to make a push up the table in the ongoing ICC Challenge League A: "With the appointment of Ruan Louw, we’ve successfully brought on board someone with strong capabilities that we’re certain will be the envy of many, and who will ensure a reinvigoration and renewed energy at the elite level."
Belgium announces three men’s T20I series
Still in Europe, and the Belgian men’s team is pushing ahead with international cricket, as they announced home bilateral series in April and May against Malta, Romania and Austria. With international cricket curtailed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the planned series will be crucial match practice for all four teams after a lean 2020 for European Associates.
International Cricket is Back!!! Belgium will host Malta in a 4 match International bilateral series prior to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup qualifiers 🏏🇧🇪... @MaltaCricket @EmergingCricket @ICC @icc_europe @Emerging_93 pic.twitter.com/hvUZSrkCmq— Cricket Belgium (@CricketBelgium) February 22, 2021
Malta will be the first to visit, with the island nation pencilled in for a four-match T20I whistle-stop tour on April 17-18 at the Royal Brussels Cricket Ground. Then a week later, Romania will travel to Antwerp for three T20Is on the 25th and 25th, before Austria arrive in Brussels for another three-match T20I series on May 15-16.
Our Second Summer Series locked in!!! Belgium will vs Romania in a 3 Match international bilateral Series ... Bring it on 🙌🇧🇪🏏 @CricketRomania @EmergingCricket @ICC @icc_europe @Emerging_93 pic.twitter.com/SoodRrRbDK— Cricket Belgium (@CricketBelgium) February 22, 2021
Belgium, currently ranked 47th on the MRF Tyres ICC T20I Rankings table, will be quietly confident of upsetting their continental rivals Austria (38th) and Romania (41st) after dominating the only cricket they played last year with a 4-0 sweep of their matches at the Luxembourg Tri-Series in August 2020; Malta are genuine outsiders at 69th on the table.
It’s news day for The Belgium Cricket Federation!!! 🇧🇪 ... Our third bilateral summer series will be 3 Internationals vs Austria ... Promises to be an exciting time for both nations 🏏🙌🔥 @EmergingCricket @ICC @icc_europe @Emerging_93 @austriacricket pic.twitter.com/blWvqizOA5— Cricket Belgium (@CricketBelgium) February 22, 2021
All four teams will use the series as preparation ahead of the ICC’s T20 World Cup European qualifiers in July, something Belgium coach Corey Rutgers stressed in a comment to Emerging Cricket: ‘Obviously [we’re] very excited to have three bilateral series coming on in the next three months, with Malta, Romania and Austria touring us. Also very thankful to have three teams touring in such a tricky period in the world. On a personal level, I’m very excited as well because we organised such a big programme last year and a lot of it had fallen to pieces. It’s going to be prep for our ICC qualifiers. Hosting ten games in Belgium is probably the perfect prep to then host 7 games [the qualifiers] in Belgium.’
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