July 7, 2007


Drinnen steps down: from farce to fudge

Will Luke

Leave your thoughts about the latest crisis to hit Scottish cricket in the comments below

Drinnen will continue to coach the A team and Under-23s © Getty Images

Cricket Scotland yesterday took the widely-anticipated step of removing Peter Drinnen from his role as national coach, ensuring a fresh victory for player-power, as sparked by some of Scotland's senior internationalists.

Drinnen, the 39 year-old Australian who had only been in the post since the start of 2006 after replacing Englishman, Andy Moles - another victim of a behind-the-scenes putsch - told The Herald last week that he would battle to save his job and confirmed he was aware that a "small group" of his players had provoked dressing-room unrest, principally because they believed Drinnen was spending too much time with the Scotland "A" squad. Yet, remarkably in the circumstances, Cricket Scotland issued a statement yesterday, announcing that "caretaker coaches" - namely Andy Tennant and Peter Steindl - would be in charge of the national side until the end of the Twenty20 World Championship in September, whilst Drinnen would continue to "deliver his remit" with the A team and the Under-23s.

In short, by their own admission, the man who isn't deemed good enough to coach Ryan Watson's personnel, is being allowed to nurture the next generation, the individuals who will be involved, hopefully, when the Scots participate at the 2011 World Cup. It is a dreadful fudge, a crisis which need never have happened had Cricket Scotland shown some firm governance when news of the player revolt initially surfaced, but just as in Moles' case, the governing body has slammed the stable door a fortnight too late.

Amid the row, few people emerge with any credit, beyond Drinnen, who has been badly let down by a few under-achieving performers, apparently dwelling under the misapprehension that Scotland's woeful displays for much of 2007 have nothing to do with them. So too, Roddy Smith, the chief executive of CS, has hardly impressed with his leadership qualities and lack of openness about the crisis even as it unfolded, with players spilling their guts in public, without having the courage to go on the record.

"We would like to take the opportunity to thank Peter for his work with the senior team over the last 18 months, which culminated in the team's excellent performance at the World Cricket League," said Smith in a press release, issued at 4.01pm, beyond which he refused to elaborate.

It is a dreadful fudge, a crisis which need never have happened had Cricket Scotland shown some firm governance when news of the player revolt initially surfaced, but just as in Moles' case, the governing body has slammed the stable door a fortnight too late

"However, given Peter's wider remit, it is felt that a change of personnel is required with the national team as we look forward to the Twenty20 World Championship [and] a full fixture list in 2009. The A team has developed under Peter's guidance and already three or four members have made the breakthrough to the national side." Interestingly, this is the same number as the alleged party of malcontents who have effectively engineered Drinnen's removal.

There was the usual waffle from Smith about his "gratitude" to Drinnen for his "hard work", but nary a word about the poisonous atmosphere which explains why five coaches have come and gone in the last six years. As things stand, Warwickshire's Dougie Brown, a consummate professional and a proud, passionate Scot, is being touted to pick up the reins later this year, but one wonders whether, in the present climate, he would touch it with a bargepole.


Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by PD on (July 16, 2007, 5:42 GMT)

Old habits die hard? We've just finished our first season with Andy Moles as our new First Class coach in NZ and I am yet to see why he was axed. We won the four-day title for the first time in 10 years due to his wealth of county experience, positive attitude and absolute belief in his players. The Scottish half of me fears the game will not progress in Scotland until there are more changes in personnel but on the playing front this time.

Posted by Gordon on (July 13, 2007, 11:57 GMT)

No player within the Scotland set up is so good that the can't be dispensed with if they are a troublemaker.

It seems certain players treated the World Cup as a holiday with the WAGS and not a chance to show the world Scotland can play a bit.

Posted by Ray Patterson on (July 8, 2007, 11:58 GMT)

Scottish cricket seems to have some kind of death wish, judging by this story. The people running it claim to have no money, the players are constantly moaning, they have had bad results all summer, and now another coach has gone. From the outside, it sounds a complete mess and perhaps the ECB or ICC should ask what the hell is going on before giving the Scots any more money.

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Will Luke
Assistant editor Will opted against a lifetime of head-bangingly dull administration in the NHS, where he had served for two years. In 2005 came a break at Cricinfo where he slotted right in as a ferociously enthusiastic tea drinker and maker, with a penchant for using "frankly" and "marvellous". He also runs The Corridor, a cricket blog where he can be found ranting and raving about all things - some even involving the sport. He is a great-great nephew of Sir Jack Newman, the former Wellingtonian bowler who took two wickets at 127 apiece for New Zealand.

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