James Nixon | 3:02pm BST 24 July 2018
It is looking most likely that Scotland will be the next country to step up and take full membership of the ICC (International Cricket Council); this according to Malcolm Cannon, the Chief Executive Officer Cricket Scotland.
The Saltires (nicknamed after the blue Saint Andrews Cross insignia) would, if their application is successful, have more guaranteed top cricket matches to look forward to; matches against the likes of Australia, England, India, Pakistan and South Africa.
With Ireland and Afghanistan becoming full members last year, the total full membership roster numbers 12 countries. The other ten are: Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe.
The rest of the membership of the ICC is made up of 93 countries, each with associate membership status. The USA, the Falklands and Nepal, are under suspension of membership at this point in time.
Currently, The Scots hold associate membership, but there can be little doubt, that Scottish cricket is in the ascendancy. In the past 13-months, The Saltires have beaten four out of the 12 full members of the ICC, including England of course. Who would have bet on that?
Scotland also came incredibly close to gaining qualification for the World Cup, and they beat Holland and Ireland in the Twenty20 tri-series.
But getting good results alone is not necessarily enough to gain a full membership slot. According to Malcolm Cannon, even getting full members to agree to play the Scots is challenging.
In addition, there is also all of the work that goes into planning and organising. It all has to be taken into consideration said, Cannon. He went on to say that the Scottish cricket organisation had worked solidly for one year to fully organise their three summer games this year – one against England, and two T20s against Pakistan.
But at the end of the day, Scottish cricket knows what they have to do to be ready for full membership of the ICC, and they have total confidence in their ability to meet the criteria. All they have to do says Cannon, is to continue doing what they have been doing and working at the same rate they have adopted in the past 12-months.
But achieving full membership status is not just about hard work – it requires money. However, if they can achieve their goal, and the signs are favourable, it would be a game-changing event for cricket in Scotland.
Scotland’s progression in recent months has been admirable – on the field of play as well as off.
Both men’s and women’s cricket, their performance pathway and the management and leadership of the cricket organisation have all improved. The infrastructure and the financial backbone have also made giant steps forward.
As Cannon summed it up, Scotland has completely changed its cricket ethos in every way, and all for the better. He maintains that they are now acting as full members act, and that if they continue to do so in the coming months, the ICC board will have no choice other than to elect Scotland as full members in recognition.
Attaining full membership would also pave the way for Scotland being able to join in the test cricket scene. However, the CEO did qualify this ambition by saying that at the moment, full membership and test cricket must remain two separate issue. But that’s okay. It is not mandatory for full ICC members to have to play test cricket.
From Scotland’s point of view, they first have to discuss the scenario and what the implications would be in terms of the Saltires ability and whether or not they have suitable grounds or could build new grounds. It is a big step to take and one which Ireland have found tough.
One thing at a time and full ICC membership is the short-term goal.
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