This years’ World Cup provided one of the most thrilling finishes in history, when New Zealand’s Martin Guptill was run-out by Jason Roy following the final ball of an incredible Super Over. Even then, the overall score was tied between the two competitors, with England edging the contest and winning their first World Cup by virtue of scoring more boundaries.
Amid the drama of England’s win, however, it was easy to forget the fellow home nation Scotland failed to reach the 2019 showpiece after they lost a rain-affected game in Harare to the West Indies. Their misfortune was made worse by a controversial lbw decision that cost them the crucial wicket of Richie Berrington, who had threatened to lead the Scots’ charge during his brisk innings of 33.
In this post, we’ll look at how the Scots have bounced back from this disappointment, whilst also appraising the role of new coach Shane Burger in their attempted revival.
Is Shane Burger Laying the Foundations for Future Success North of the Border?
At the start of 2018, Cricket Scotland announced the ambitious appointment of new head coach Shane Burger, who assumed this role in March and came within a whisker of leading his charges to the promised land of the World Cup.
Burger moved from South African first-class provincial outfit KwaZulu-Natal, where he won three major trophies in just three years during his tenure. These honours include the CSA 3 Day trophy and the CSA T20 award in 2015/16, and the African T20 Cup in 2017.
These honours betray Burger’s obvious expertise in limited overs cricket, with the coach having been awarded the CSA coach of the year in two years between 2015 and 2018 in South Africa.
He also brings immense playing experience at an exalted level, having enjoyed a 14-year professional playing career in South Africa and performed superbly as an all-rounder in 91 first-class matches for Gauteng, the Lions and KwaZulu Natal Inlands.
With an innate understanding of all aspects of the game and a history of significant success in the T20 format, Burger is ideally placed to take the Scots forward, whilst he also helped the side to come within one match of qualifying for this years’ World Cup in England.
What’s Next for the Scots?
Fortunately, Burger and Scotland didn’t have long to lick their wounds following their World Cup failure, with the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier scheduled to take place next month.
To this end, Burger recently announced two squads for a series of trial matches ahead of the October qualifier, with a number of warm-up games booked in before Scotland participate alongside Ireland and the Netherlands in a T20 tri-series in Dublin between September 15th and September 20th.
Without test match status, the T20 World Cup is crucial for the Scots, as tournaments of this type represent the only opportunity for the side to perform on the world stage.
It’s also fair to surmise that T20 and ‘the One Hundred’ format of the game are central to attracting the next generation of players, who are increasingly likely to buy bats and equipment used by their idols from resources like Talent Cricket at an incredibly young age.
However, with Burger at the helm and Cricket Scotland adopting an increasingly professional and proactive management approach, the immediate future is bright for the Scots and their talented squad of players.