David Currie investigates the curious case of cricket in Scotland, speaking to Scottish players and looking at what the future might hold for the international team.
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afternoon tea and Morris dancing. Not something we really do in
Scotland. Or is it? Well, I have got into character to conduct this Sport
Nation investigation into the curious Case of Scottish cricket. I
want to find out who plays it, how good we are as a nation at it, and
how good we could become. But first, let's discover a bit about the
with the army of King George II. Cricket was, at least in its
origins, and imperialist game. the 1745 rebellion, the Hanoverian
government decided to keep English soldiers in Scotland for years and
years and decades and decades. Naturally, they brought their game
of cricket with them. And it is no accident that in the garrison towns
of Edinburgh, Stirling, Aberdeen and Perth, cricket was very, very strong
for the next 150, possibly 200 years. This is all because the
English soldiers were there, playing the game of cricket. And, of course,
they would, eventually, through time, get a Scottish population
interested in the game. What helped cricket a great deal was in the
1880s and 1890s when employers started to make Saturday afternoon a
holiday. So you went to a football match in the winter and a cricket
match in the summer. This is the West of Scotland cricket ground in
glass go, one of the most historic venues in Scottish sport. Here, in
1872, Scotland played England in the first international match, not in
cricket but in football. The two sports have existed together ever
since. But why did football go on to become a national obsession, and not
cricket? In the 1880s and the 1890s, Scotland were able to beat England
at full or more often than they lost. And I think that was a
tremendous boost to the game. -- at foot tall. Some Scots have played
for England. After Australia gave England a real doing in 1930, he
decided to adopt this body-line policy. Body-line means basically
that you bowl the ball in the line of the batsman's body. They mixed
the orthodox bowling attack with body-line, fast, short pitched balls
aimed at the batsman's chest. Larwood was superb and England took
the series 4-1. If the batsman had to do this several times, you would
get out of the way of the next one. There was the first ever Scottish
born player to become captain of England, and his famous tour of
Australia was 1974-75, where he and his batsmen were very much on the
other end of a piece of body-line bowling from Jeff Thompson and
Dennis Lily. Of course, he could not cope with the fast bowling. He had
an awful tour. Part of it was the desire for revenge for body-line
which was 42 years previously. I think he scored a couple of
centuries for England. He was never a great that's man, but he was a
good enough captain. Varies the winning captain. The margin is 43
runs. Mention must be made of the Village cup in 1985 at Lord's.
has only to see out the last four balls without scoring, but when he
appears to get one, it is too much for both that's men and crowd.
think that will be remembered for ever. Celebrations in 1985. But
there was an even bigger Scottish invasion in 19 99, when the national
team qualified for the World Cup in England. They did not win a match
but it was a worthwhile experience. One that stood out was the first
game against Australia. Sold out at Worcester. Full of the Tartan Army.
We took a huge following on that day. The Australian team were full
of stars. Shane warned, Glenn McGrath, and as you know, they went
on to win the tournament. But the first game was magical. We batted
first, which was a gutsy decision, to bat against an attack like that.
I think we got 170-180, maybe a bit less. We bowled OK. We had them
25-3. We were on the edge but they were too strong in the end. It was a
great atmosphere inside the ground and it was a joy to be part of it.
Lovely shot. That will give him a bit of confidence. A different
experience for various reasons. Just a great location. We did not carry
huge travelling support but we still had some partisan crowds. But the
atmosphere, with the Caribbean experience, was fantastic. The
matches were on experience but living the dream up buying the World
Cup is fantastic. The facilities on offer and the exposure is great for
the players. -- living the dream of Although you have to admit it was
interesting. I want to find out who plays cricket in Scotland in the
here and now. There are about 180 clubs in Scotland and about 10,000
permitting, the lads of Stoneywood and Aberdeenshire will be gearing up
for a match. One of the reasons I have come to the north-east is
because I have heard it is a hot bed of cricketing talent, and cricket is
very popular here. There is a story going around that the Aberdeen area
has more cricketers per head of population than anywhere other than
Yorkshire and Barbados. We like to believe that. We do reasonably well
in terms of the local league. There are 36 clubs in the local league.
Our third 11 plays in the second tier of that. It is a mixture of
veterans and youngsters. I am with a stony look -- Stoneywood player,
former coach and former Scotland international. How strong is cricket
in this part of the world? It is definitely a strong area for
cricket. Obviously you have Stoneywood dice and Aberdeenshire in
the National League but you also have 36 great teams playing local
cricket. Every village, all of these little villagers have their own
teams which are playing local cricket. What is the historical
background? Why is it so strong in this area? Much of the research is
that it is the English influx. I do not know if it is because of the oil
back in the day, but everything that macro Aberdeen has been strong for
the oil, which brought a lot of ink -- English employees. This might be
a family club but it is renowned for producing Scotland international
players. We are proud of what we have done. It comes through hard
work. The focus is on coaching. We want to do well, we want to enjoy
the sport, but we are very keen to develop the youngsters. Do not take
this the wrong way, but this does not strike me as the richest of
cricket clubs, but you manage on a shoestring to produce this talent.
We certainly manage on a shoestring. There is lots of volunteer labour.
You have seen people repairing fences. There were people cutting
the outfield this morning. grassroots, you are typical of the
backbone of volunteers keeping cricket at club level together in
Scotland. I am sure some of the bigger clubs have bigger workforces
than we have got. Maybe I am wrong. When you see the success we have had
and how we have done things, maybe the family model is something that
others could look at. I am told this is called the Goudie stand. In
honour of Mr Goudie in the middle. What is your involvement? My son
used to play cricket here. He plays for Scotland. He grew up here as a
young kid and played through the juniors. The club promotes the
junior scene for the cricket. It is a good development area for up and
coming stars. People get involved with their families and the
youngsters get involved. There are the mothers of the current Scotland
know that cricket clubs are renowned for their tea. I am going to chat
for the -- to the ladies responsible. We have two camera shy
ladies, I am sure. What is on the menu? Sausage roll, pizza, fancy
cakes, fruit. T, Coffey. Is it very competitive, the world of cricketing
tea? We are renowned for our tea up and down Scotland. We have a good
name for our tea. Probably quite competitive. I am in the press
locks. It is actually an oversized -- oversized bobbin. And this is the
press. Do you come here often? I operate between Stoneywood and
Mannofield, the major teams in the area. There is a huge commitment to
cricket in the area. They take it very seriously, very competitive. It
has been played here for over 150 years, and a lot of youngsters have
come through. Last weekend, four players were in the Scottish squad
from this area. Why is cricket so popular in the north-east? Good
question. The weather does not lend itself. It is not always warm and
pleasant. But there is a big commitment to cricket. What have I
learned from my visit? Firstly, the weather was not bad. Second, the
cricket was good. Third, the tea is wicket taker, magic hack. He is club
captain of Clydesdale on the clubs in Scotland. How did you get
into cricket? Through one of my uncles. Cricket was always in your
life. Definitely. Back in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, shall anchor,
cricket is the number one sport in those countries. It is one of the
top two sports here, along with foot all. There is a great ethnic mix.
There are a lot of Asian Scots here as well. Is this typical? We are in
the heart of the Asian community. It is a great culture, a mix of young
Pakistanis, white Scots boys. It is very good. It seems a great place
for different communities to meet in a sporting context, something you do
not see is much in other sports but you see in cricket. You see a lot of
talented Asian boys playing foot ball, and I'm surprised they have
not gone on because the talent is there. Is it because they are drawn
to cricket? Parents for my generation, most of the guys in
their 20s, they wanted them to get an education and do not see sport as
a way to make a career, which is unfortunate. Hopefully it could
change the thinking of Asian parents and that will make a big difference.
Across Glasgow, West of Scotland are trying to produce the next
generation of Scotland internationals.
The secret is exposure, these guys are as talented as anything I can
see. I have spent time coaching Yorkshire Cricket club and they get
more exposure to cricket at schools and so on. For me, you have two have
the skills. Years gone by, there was the discussion about what produced a
sportsman, I believe it is doing the skill. And these guys have to
practice cricket as much as possible.
In the last year, with funding from the governing body, 50,000
schoolchildren have sampled the sports.
-- sport. Cricket Scotland have a good structure and it is going
through to senior level but it has to lie with the individual. Part of
my role is to stimulate that my role is to stimulate that
interest, to do My parents always said, they always
put a big emphasis on my education and said that would come first. But
if you want to push through, there has to be a balance. You have to
work hard at both. 17-year-old Andrew has followed the
pathway system and is close to getting an international call-up.
Scotland is like the second team of the Scotland team. They try and
bring in younger players and older players trying to get back in the
Scotland team, it is a bridge so there is not so much of a gap.
Andy has got everything to go the full weight. The key with Andy is
learning the finer details of the game. -- the four way. That is often
the step between a level cricket and the former national team, the finer
details, and he will learn that by exposure to higher level cricket.
Like any sport, the more you put in, the more you get out, and that is
the biggest thing. I am going down to Warwickshire in a couple of weeks
to play for them, trial matches, so to play for them, trial matches, so
we will see how that goes. Is that a big Russia situation? You could say
it is a big Russia situation but it is also a big opportunity.
What you hope to achieve in the sport ultimately? Ultimately to play
at international level. My dad always says, a little skill and big
belief go further than big skill and no believe.
Clubs are spending thousands of pounds on hired assassins and
getting nothing back. Luckily, it -- luckily, they took me on here and I
changed that Ultra. It is about me not delivering as a role model but
also giving back to the club and putting it structure in place to
allow youngsters to come through. The worst thing at clubs is where
kids are not getting an opportunity.
One of England 's best all-rounders captained the side in the 1970s. He
was born in South Africa and only qualify to play for England through
his Scottish father. As is the case in other sports, some
of our best young cricketers had south to try their luck in England.
But is that a good thing or a bad Here we are at Northants County
Cricket Club, right in the heart of England. I have come here to meet
How different does he think things are here to back home?
I think it is the day in and day out of it. You are constantly around it,
you have always got the availability of training. You always have the
availability of training. Right next to the indoor centre, and on days
like this, you can top up your skills and improve yourself as much
as possible. There are two divisions in England. We are in the second
division. We are on top at the moment.
He says the training facilities at English county level helping him
become a better player. -- of helping him. -- are.
I have had few problems -- a few problems in the past with certain
parts of my legs so I am making sure they are strong.
So you will not hear to bulk up? No, you cannot we rebook yourself up
because the movement is so unnatural that you struggle -- bulk. To get
your arm over. We have a sports psychologist and we can get in
touch. A few people do regular work to make sure they are thinking as
positively as they can. There is that much pressure, so only you can
perform on the day. If you face one good delivery and all of a sudden,
you are back in the dressing room, there is not much you can do. You
have to wait until the next game, and if the same happens again, it
builds up. Is it a different pressure playing
for Scotland? Not necessarily, you are always
trying to perform. There is not one day that you do not go out and try
and score forums. That is what I try Scotland captain, so how is he
taking to it? Things run through my head and I
have just started doing it for Scotland. If you sleepless nights
thinking, different scenarios in your head, inquisitions, different
players, how they are playing and you on. I quite like the challenge.
Welcome to the dressing room. smelt worst ones in my time! Give us
a look around. You are lucky, they have just tidied
This is fairly compact for a cricket team, all this year. Are you sitting
here how we focused on a match day on the -- on the wicket?
Sometimes, it depends. Some people read before they go on. Other people
like myself, I like to watch what is You are prepared. You have done all
the preparation. When you are out there, it you have got to back up
your ability and the skills you have got in training.
That rain is getting heavier, so we had better go in doors now.
Thank you for coming. Thank you for having thus. -- having
level in England, but what about international level? You can often
gauge the strength of a sport in a country by how its national team
Here they are, preparing to face Pakistan and hoping for their first
win over a team in the top tier of world cricket.
We are currently 14th in the world. We would like to be higher and over
the last three or four years, the results have been mixed. We play in
the second team with the likes of Ireland, can you, Holland and
Afghanistan, so it is very competitive. -- Kenya. If we could
turn over a like Pakistan or Australia, our rankings would go up
considerably. I really want Scotland to do well,
although my love is for Pakistan's. How big a shock would it be if
Scotland beat the mighty Pakistan? About as big a shock as Scotland
winning the World Cup in football! off now!
And will come back and see you when Scotland have won!
That I will come back. That will be a long time!
I am still waiting, Pakistan won this by 96 runs.
You have broken the record for the most wickets taken in one-day
internationals for Scotland but you are not happy.
Personal milestones are good when you retire, but at the moment, we
have lost a game. We had a great opportunity to win. Very
disappointed with the second-half. You took three wickets and you
bowled well, according to even Pakistan team, you must have bought,
this is achievable and we can beat Pakistan. -- you must have thought.
Definitely, it was a below par score by the Pakistan team and we were
confident at the halfway stage we could be the first Scottish team to
win the one-day international. How far Scotland away from achieving
that? Very small margins at the highest
level. We just need to have that belief a little bit more and get
more experience of playing the big guys and handling the pressure
situations well, I think that is probably what we are lacking at the
moment. It is a bit of exposure for the
lads, Pakistan play a lot of cricket in different conditions. And they
get that can still learn a lot faster. Hopefully, our guys, playing
against these, will take a lot from it. There is obviously a little gap
in the sense of experience, but the guys are capable of anything in this
team and we can go a long way with this squad.
One Scotland post might ambitions is to one day beat a test side in a
one-day international. -- want of Scotland post Mike ambitions.
How far away are they? They are working hard but you never know when
you will get this kind of victory. Knowing these conditions and less
cricket, that is the main thing, they need to play more cricket to
just eat the test sides. -- to just beat. They are missing that.
Of eight improving? They played well today but they will improve with
experience. -- they improving. The next World Cup is 2015 and we
are in the middle of a qualification process, third in eighth, and if you
finish in the top two, you get automatic qualification and if you
do not, you go up against New Zealand. We are confident we will
qualify in initially or through the qualifying competition, but it is
vital to be their biggest we missed the last one in 2011.
-- it is vital to be there because we missed.
How well the top team do controls how much money we get for the ICC
and by not qualifying for the World Cup, we probably messed about $1
million over four years, so it is crucial to qualify for these events
-- wee problem -- we probably messed.
Is World Cup qualification 2015... I know you will say, yes, we can do
We have two big games and if we win those four, we will qualify for the
World Cup. If not, we have another qualification tournament next year
against New Zealand so it is in our own hands. If we win the four games,
we should qualify and we will find out in September. The national team
needs to do a bit better, so hopefully, we can. It is a huge year
for Scottish cricket. So what have -- so what have I
learned about Scottish cricket? For one thing, the sport has a one
history in this country. Also, more and more young people are having the
Cricket in Scotland has a long and varied history. David Currie investigates the curious case of Scottish cricket and looks at what the future might hold for the nation's international side. On his journey he speaks to Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer, holder of the Scottish bowling record Majid Haq and former Scotland international John Blain.