“TWO roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the road less Travelled by and that has made the difference.”
Since he apparently travels everywhere with his trusty guitar and has apparently been known to treat his players to the odd tune along the way, it may not be too fanciful to wonder whether Grant Bradburn, Scotland’s head coach, had drawn inspiration from Robert Frost before he laid out his vision to his men.
Certainly there seems much in common between the American poet’s musings and the colourful message that was delivered by the New Zealander to his men when Scottish cricket was apparently going nowhere fast, as his captain Kyle Coetzer explained.
“About two and a bit years ago, Grant sat us down in sunny Dundee and had two pictures on the wall; one of a windy road and one of a straight, easy double lane road that you could cruise along,” he recounted.
“The way he framed that was ‘you can take the easy road like we’ve always done, or we can take a few twists and turns, which is a bit trickier. The scenery is nicer along the way but there will be areas you have to drive slowly.’
“If you put that in context, it gives you an idea that we had to push our boundaries a bit further and really put guys under pressure in training.
“It’s bearing fruit at the moment, guys have really played well over the past few seasons.”
They most certainly have, a win in what was in all but name because some of the ground specifications were not up to scratch in a One Day International (ODI) against Sri Lanka last year serving notice of what was to come this year when they were supremely competitive throughout their ill-fated World Cup qualifying campaign in Zimbabwe.
As they negotiated those circuitous road and miles from Dundee that experience could have felt like driving into a brick wall, but instead they have maintained course and Sunday’s performance was a reward for that.
“We prepare as well as we can,” said Coetzer, whose feisty half century set the tone for his side on Sunday.
“Coming off Zimbawe was tough to take and some guys are still hurting, because at the end of the day we don’t have a World Cup to go to, we have this one game, another two against Pakistan and then a couple against Ireland and Holland and that’s us done.
“There could have been a road block, but our guys have played very well at their clubs. It’s not always ideal. It would be nice having a couple of warm up games leading up to it but we know how to prepare and we have to be ready to hit the ground running.”
That was what served them so well on Sunday as they took the game to England from the off and the now vastly experienced Coetzer who, like man-of-the-match Calum MacLeod, made his ODI debut a decade ago, agreed that the way it was done, as much as the result itself against the world’s number one ODI team, with the added piquancy of it being a first ever Scotland victory over England, separated this from anything previously achieved by a Scotland team.
“I would say yeah, it is pretty close to being that day. Grant, the way he has framed this schedule of games is about creating history, and by beating a full member and England, that has done that,” he pointed out.
“It’s a credit to everyone in the whole organisation, they have done a fantastic job. The atmosphere was electric and it’s an amazing day for everyone.”
Taking the scenic route could hardly be proving more beneficial then, with the latest rewards coming the way of both coach Bradburn and centurion MacLeod who have been recruited by Derbyshire for the forthcoming T20 Blast and as Coetzer pointed out, that contract earned by his long-time colleague serves notice of intent.
“Calum has been in some fine form over the past couple of seasons,” Coetzer, whose side now face Pakistan in two T20 games in Edinburgh today and tomorrow, said.
“His knock against Afghanistan was outstanding in the World Cup qualifiers –was outstanding against two of the leading spinners in the world, and he has done it again against the number one team in the world.
“He is a high quality player and we have an abundance of them fighting to be in our side. We have players in the wings and there are a handful of guys who are trying to take opportunities south of the border.”
Source : HeraldScotland