GRANT Bradburn, Scotland’s new head coach, has vowed to take the national side up to the next level.
Bradburn yesterday outlined his plans to make Scotland a major player on the world stage in all formats of the game and is buying into the dream that Test cricket can be a reality for his adopted nation.
The 47-year-old Kiwi, a spin bowler who played in 11 Test matches for his country, enjoyed greater success as a coach, first with Northern Districts and latterly in charge of New Zealand’s second string.
He said: “I was instantly attracted to the people at Cricket Scotland and the vision they have for the long-term development of cricket in this country.
“There are already good plans and systems in place for developing quality players and increasing competition for places.
“I have worked in successful environments in New Zealand and am looking forward to using my experiences for the benefit of Scottish cricket but I am still learning about what is required and that might be subtly different to what I’ve been used to.
“I’m an ordinary bloke with a real passion for cricket and for winning. I want to help develop a winning culture.
“Winning is not just about scoreboards – it’s an everyday thing.”
Bradburn believes his own knowledge of the art of spin bowling can be a major asset as the Scots aim to build on recent successes.
He added: “For Cricket Scotland to be competitive and to one day fulfil the dream of playing Test cricket requires us to develop skills around several facets of the game and spin – bowling it and facing it – is key. A lot of international cricket once we break into the top ten is played in challenging conditions in the sub-continent where spin bowling plays a major part.
“These are skills I have and knowledge I have that I am keen to share.”
Bradburn will start to share these skills with one eye on next year’s World Cup, adding: “Even though the World Cup is being played in Australia and New Zealand, which are not traditionally spin-friendly countries, we will of course be playing some quality spinners in the opposition so it’s a very important part of the game that we need to develop.”
Asked what his targets are for the World Cup, Bradburn joked “winning it” before stating: “We want the team to perform with distinction on the world stage.
“We will have the team well prepared and, of course, I’m very familiar with the conditions we will face and have some inside knowledge on our first opposition [New Zealand in Dunedin].”
While preparing the team for next year’s global tournament is a short-term priority, Test cricket could become a reality further down the line following the ICC’s recent announcement that the next winner of the Intercontinental Cup will play the lowest ranked Test nation for a place in the elite.
“At the moment playing Test cricket is a dream that we’d like to turn into a goal,” said Bradburn. “We will need to develop the skills needed to succeed in the longer format but it is a fantastic dream.”
Bradburn will get the chance to see his new players in action in Friday’s ODI against England in Aberdeen, a match for which his assistant Craig Wright will take charge.
Meanwhile, former captain Waqar Younis was reinstated as Pakistan coach yesterday and quickly made it clear that his main target was the 50-over World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year.
On the way out, however, is fast-bowling great Dennis Lillee, credited for helping resurrect the career of paceman Mitchell Johnson, who has quit as a Cricket Australia coaching consultant after failing to agree terms on his pay.