Scotland coach Shane Burger employs super scout to seek inside edge for World T20 bid

If there was any conclusion to be drawn from the excellent cricket documentary, Death of a Gentleman, it was how the odds continue to be stacked against the sport’s smaller nations amid the self-interest shown by the establishment towering above. By chance, its creators became curious witnesses to an overt attempt to wrestle control of the ICC five years ago by means of a coup, instigated by India but with England and Australia as the henchmen roped in for extra cover.
Scotland coach Shane Burger. Picture:  Ian MacNicol/Getty ImagesScotland coach Shane Burger. Picture:  Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Scotland coach Shane Burger. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The cunning scheme imploded, but only just. And yet the so-called minnows still beg for scraps. Their only route to advancement and investment is, firstly, to reach the major competitions, and then to somehow excel at them.

One of the film’s directors, Jarrod Kimber, became a powerful advocate for change. And over the next few weeks in the United Arab Emirates, he will construct cases on screen, in the particular cause of the Scottish team. A walking bank of knowledge on the lesser lights, he has been recruited by Scotland coach Shane Burger as a super-scout and video visionary during the qualification tournament for next year’s World Twenty20 in Australia, in an adventurous left-field twist.

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“I want to be as informed as I possibly can be to make the best cricketing decisions I can possibly make,” said Burger, approaching his first significant benchmark since succeeding Grant Bradburn as coach earlier this year.

“I met Jarrod at the Euro Slam draft where Mark Ramprakash had brought him on board for Edinburgh Rocks. And he started passing on a lot of good information to me: stats on our players that I could use from a coaching aspect.”

Few sports are immune these days from the science of analytics. Cricket spurts out enough data for infinite algorithms, of course. Yet Burger sees value in the advance intel on the likes of Singapore – the Scots’ opening opponents on Friday – and others who sit at the fringes of cricket’s associate tier.

“So you’ll show one or two videos, especially of guys that have done pretty well in their side,” Burger revealed. With six places to play for at the T20 World Cup, Kimber’s knowledge could amount to power. “Also for our own benefit,” he added. “How we potentially put our best 11 on the park on any given day, given the conditions and who we’re playing against, could potentially get us the desired results.”

The South African will not be betting his house on it, but he is fully backing Scotland to progress to a date with the big guns, with the winner of their initial seven-team group gaining automatic qualification. He noted: “The players are very individually motivated to make sure this team helps us get to where we all want it to go to.”

That is to sit among the supposed gentlemen around the Test table, with a voice to be heard. Burger’s ruse is to narrate a story where the players boldly disrupt the order. As he noted: “We believe that we can go to this qualifier and win it.”

Andy Flower is leaving the England and Wales Cricket Board after 12 years. The Zimbabwean was appointed England’s assistant coach to Peter Moores in 2007, took over as head coach two years later, and switched to working with the Lions in 2014.

During his spell as head coach, Flower led England’s Test side to a No 1 world ranking, victory at the 2010 World Twenty20 and Ashes success in Australia in 2010-11.