MORE of the same. Just much better. That is the formula Scotland’s new coaching duo of former England player Paul Collingwood and Craig Wright will use when preparations begin in New Zealand tomorrow ahead of next month’s 50-over World Cup qualifiers.
The Scots have endured a traumatic period that culminated in the abrupt pre-Christmas sacking of Pete Steindl and the promotion of his erstwhile deputies.
Results cost the Australian his job but it was felt that fresh thinking was needed before the national side was entirely derailed. After last month’s failure to earn a berth at the forthcoming World Twenty20, exile from cricket’s showpiece event in 2015 would be potentially disastrous.
Even though Cricket Scotland receives no performance funding from UK Sport or SportScotland, their global standing is a major financial factor. The loss of one-day international status would vastly reduce the TV money from the International Cricket Council.
Wright’s long-time involvement from team captain to marketing manager, to under-19 coach, means he knows the significance of qualification.
“Scotland need to feature in these world events,” said Wright, pictured. “But we have to concentrate on playing good cricket each day we turn up to a match. That’s what we haven’t done enough of. There’s been good days and poor days. We need consistency.”
Only a few tweaks, he believes, are needed from the 20-over qualifiers in the UAE where a last-game defeat to the Netherlands was fatal. The squad, which will face three club sides in Christchurch this week, has been reinforced by the return of vice-skipper Preston Mommsen after injury and the availability of Warwickshire’s Freddie Coleman.
Having worked closely with Steindl, Wright, Scotland’s captain at the 2007 World Cup, has mixed feelings at his promotion. The tour, however, is an opportunity for the 39-year-old to test out some of his own philosophies.
“We need to find a way to free them up mentally and play to the capabilities they’ve got.
“They’ve shown on occasions they’re capable of playing some really good cricket. It’s about finding a level of performance in the moments which really make a difference between qualifying and not qualifying. It’s about getting things right at those points when it really matters.”