Scotland’s cricketers could soon have a streamlined version of rugby’s Celtic League if ambitious plans reach fruition.
Roddy Smith, chief executive, said: “We are making progress towards a wider range of teams for our regional sides to play possibly involving the Irish and Dutch.”
Authorities are keen to strengthen a tier that would be a bridge between club and international cricket and Smith added: “Certainly I see a semi-pro league under the (level of the) national side playing harder more competitive cricket on a league type basis.”
Other ambitious schemes involve taking advantage of relaxation in the rules governing eligibility, subject to ICC approval, and playing a part in having cricket reinstated to the Commonwealth Games due to be held on Australia’s Gold Coast in 2018. Cricket last featured in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.
Such a decision could open up fresh funding streams because, although Scotland rank 14th in world cricket, the fact they are not competing at Commonwealth or Olympic level reduces the amount of funding available from the national sports agency.
Smith said: “Everyone involved in 1998 truly loved the Games and cricket is truly a Commonwealth sport. We have now moved on to discussions between the Gold Coast and the ICC on whether they will sanction it. It is great opportunity and for us it would be a big, big thing. I think there will be a decision in the next 12 to 18 months. “
At present, to represent Scotland players either have to be born here or qualify on a four-year residency rule but that could soon change to being the son or daughter of a Scottish-born UK passport holder.
It isn’t yet known how many players could qualify but both Roddy Smith and Keith Oliver, Cricket Scotland chairman, are stressing the need to strike a balance that gives opportunities to home produced talent.
“One example of the type of player Scotland might attract is England’s South African-born wicket-keeper Craig Kieswetter, who has a Scottish parent.
Meanwhile, Scotland are to undertake a tour of South Africa playing provincial opposition in the Autumn followed by a trip to India early next year.
It is expected the current eight full-time pros contracted to Cricket Scotland will form the nucleus of a 16-man squad along with three Saltires currently playing for English counties – Ally Evans, Kyle Coetzer and Josh Davey.