Player diaries January 23, 2009

The chance of a lifetime

Billy MacDermott - Argentina captain

Billy MacDermott - Argentina captain

It is extremely exciting to be captaining my country in the ICC World Cricket League Division 3 this week.

Cricket has a small yet growing profile in Argentina so I am hoping that if we can perform well and interest people locally in the sport.

We don't really get any cricket on television in Argentina – we get ICC Cricket World once a week, but it is shown in the middle of the night – so to have the opportunity to get lots of local and international media interested in the event is very exciting for us as players and the cricket community.

This is the biggest tournament that I will have ever played at, as we know that the top two teams will be on the verge of qualifying for the World Cup, which is just incredible for us.

I think it is a great advantage to be at home as we know the grounds and we know the wickets and we will have all our friends and family cheering us along as well. We are hoping to have good crowds watching our matches, numbers to which we are not accustomed.

We know quite a lot about the other teams as we have played some of them in the World Cricket League Division 3 and 2 events, while we have also watched Hong Kong's matches in the Asia Cup against India and Pakistan. We have an idea of who all the team's best players are and how we are going to approach the matches.

I was born and raised in Argentina and I was lucky to have a PE teacher who was passionate about cricket. He tried to get all the boys at school to play the game and when I was young I was keen to try any new sport. The opportunities to travel playing cricket were very attractive to me as well.

Of course I played other sports, such as rugby, which I had to stop aged 19 as I broke both my wrists. I still enjoy playing football in a local league in the winter.

It has been nice to receive a good luck message from my old school friend Fabricio Coloccini, who I went to school with until the age of 11, and who I used to play cricket with when I was younger. He was not bad at cricket, but he was obviously absolutely amazing at football!

It is always nice when other elite sportsmen wish us luck or share their experiences of what it is like to play sport for Argentina, as some of those involved in our national rugby team have done before with us.

The game in Argentina is progressing and there is lots of good work in the ACA Development Programme, including spreading the game to juniors and women.

I am involved in coaching the women's team and they have made great progress during the course of the last two years. Since the ICC Americas Region started a regional tournament, there has been a lot of interest from girls wanting to play the game.

A lot of women in Argentina play field hockey so they have good coordination skills and I think our team can be very competitive at international level within the next ten years.

At the moment, our focus for the next week is to finish in the top two at this tournament and making it to South Africa in April.

It would be amazing to make it through to the World Cup Qualifier and have the chance to play against the likes of Ireland and Scotland.

To play in the World Cup or gain ODI cricket status and have the chance to play the likes of Australia, England and South Africa would be a dream come true.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo