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Right time for the right individual to steer Scots

Cricket Scotland have announced they are to advertise for a new head coach at a time when the post has become more attractive than ever before.

The successful applicant will replace Pete Steindl who stood down late last year following the failed bid to reach this month's Twenty20 World Cup finals.

The lag between Steindl's departure and this official pursuit of a replacement is partly explained by the availability of Paul Collingwood, the former England internationalist, to join Craig Wright in steering the team through what proved an altogether more successful campaign as they subsequently qualified for next year's full World Cup.

This was confirmed by his recruitment, almost immediately thereafter, to the new England management team, so Collingwood's involvement was never likely to be anything other than a short-term fix.

Yet last month's announcement that there is now a clear, identifiable route to Test cricket for what are currently deemed the associate nations, means the Scotland job has the potential to attract higher-profile candidates than was the case in the past.

Admittedly the ideal candidate - Wright will surely feature among them - will be one committed to a long-term project since the Test opportunity is only available to the winner of the next Inter-Continental Cup which will take place throughout 2015 and 2016 with the winners getting the chance of a play-off with the lowest ranked among the current Test nations.

Scotland have consistently contended in the Intercontinental Cup, winning the inaugural event a decade ago, making a further appearance in the final and finishing third in the most recent tournament, albeit Ireland have dominated the four-day tournament with four victories so are likely to be favourites.

However, the advertisement reflects the scale of the opportunity being offered to those who think they can get Scotland back to the very top of the second tier of the global game.

"The successful candidate will be responsible for developing a team capable of competing and winning at the very highest level of world cricket," Cricket Scotland's spokesman said yesterday. "This level of performance will be consistent with our aspiration to achieve a top-ten world ranking in both One Day International and T20 International cricket and our ultimate ambition of playing Test Cricket."

They are also seeking candidates who understand what they are dealing with in terms of the challenges faced in what is not a completely full-time professional set-up. "Applications are invited from experienced coaches with a track record of success, and have coached at international level and/or have experience as a head coach in first-class cricket," said the spokesman. "A working knowledge of associate cricket and an understanding of the challenges involved would also be helpful."

Since relatively few of those currently involved full-time in the first-class game will be able to demonstrate real experience of involvement with an associate cricket nation, it remains to be seen how important that clause will be should the post attract the sort of figures who could also help raise the profile of the sport.

There will, after all, be huge accompanying challenges to generate the necessary fixture list and support funding as well as developing facilities capable of hosting five-day Test matches.

To that end there was evidence of the impact that can be made by a person of the right status when Rahul Dravid was persuaded to represent Scotland a few years ago, but what might be deemed a celebrity factor can only be considered a bonus since the main consideration will be the capacity to generate on-field results.

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