HEADING THE SCOTTISH SALTIRES : SHANE BURGER

With cricket being more than two centuries old in the country of Scotland, the sport might not be as widespread as in the neighbouring England, however cricket, approximately played by 17, 000 people in Scotland, is indeed on the rise there.

Today we had the opportunity to interact with the Head Coach at Cricket Scotland, Shane Burger.

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on 31 August 1982. I attended Randpark Primary School and then Northcliff High School where I achieved my matric certificate and finished secondary schooling.

I was accepted to join the Northerns Cricket Academy based in Pretoria, South Africa where I would live, sleep and eat cricket for the next 8 months, the curriculum was an intense introduction into the life of a professional cricketer.

Cricket wasn’t my first choice as a sport as I grew up in a sporting family where my dad was a rugby player and my mother a hockey player, all I ever wanted to do was play sport. I made my professional debut for the Highveld Strikers (Johannesburg based team) when I was 19 years old and enjoyed a 14 year playing career before I became a professional coach. My cricket stats will be on http://www.cricinfo.com

2. Was cricket a childhood dream or the realisation came later in life?

Sport was a childhood dream but finances dictated I couldn’t take part in some other desired sports, cricket was a late choice when school was ending but I am glad in hindsight that it was as its given me a great life and allowed me to meet wonderful people and do what I love! Its my passion in life …

4. After Scotland’s historic win over England, there must have been a confidence boost in the team. Do you think the team is ready to take on other full member sides and emerge victorious?

The win against England was no doubt for some probably the best day of their lives, great day and memories were made and showed where Cricket Scotland and have come from to beat the best team in the world.

It sent a great message to the world of cricket that this group of players with limited resources could overcome all these barriers and achieve something special.

The most impressive aspect of the win against England was the fact that Scotland played the same brand of cricket England were playing and effectively beat them at their own game. The team has before then beaten other full member nations and looks forward to eventually becoming a full member when we get granted this by the ICC.

5. Have you faced any challenges since you overtook as head coach? How are the domestic structure and facilities for cricket in Scotland?

When I took over as head coach their was a good system in place and the team was performing well, there will always be challenges in a job of this nature and also because of my own expectations I put on myself. I expect high performance at all times and also like to see a system grow and get better over time.

Our domestic structures can and will continue to improve over time and with the right attention and resources available this will happen.

Better facilities are required to take the team to new heights but this requires more finances and people driven to look after what we have already created.

5. How does the dressing room look before a match? How does the team pep up before a game?

In terms of preparation before a match the Scotland team would prepare as any top team in the world would, this includes gathering all the players together and creating high performing training environments which always requires good leadership and guidance from both the staff and players.

The changing room would be decorated with all our teams values, flags and memorabilia that reminds the team of previous good performances and why they put the shirt on that they wear which brings so much joy and pride to their family, fans and the broader cricketing community.

6. How far do you think ICC full member status is for Scotland? Can you tell us what goals you have in mind for the team in the following years?

Full membership is very much dictated by the ICC as to when they feel we are ready for this, we have criteria we need to meet to make this dream a reality which includes beating full members. We would like to believe we are not far off and should achieve this within the next 3 years.

7. Which young players in the team do you consider as emerging stars who can do really well in the future?

Mark Watt has been performing for Scotland for a number of years now and he is only 23, I feel he has more to offer in the years to come. Michael Jones is a young top order batsman that has shown his worth when given the chance and his adventures with Durham will aid his development.

Dylan Budge has been around for a number of years and with age on his side could provide a solid middle order for years to come. We have a large group of players we can select from and know when given the opportunity will put in the performances we expect.

8. It has been more than a year since you took over as head coach. How has the experience been since then?

I have enjoyed every minute of it and really feel I am living my dream, we have set high expectations for the year ahead and this will be a lot to carry pressure wise but this is why I do what I do as pressure and expectation is something that will never disappear.

I have surrounded myself with a good staff component that I trust and feel will do the required work to make this squad successful. We are all very excited for the future of Scottish cricket!

9. Finally, tell us a motto you have in life which inspires you to do better each day.

“You never leave a day the same, you either leave a little bit better or a little worse. Make sure you do the right things to leave the day that little bit better!”