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Scotland are planning a 'first-class structure' to their domestic competitions in a bid to improve their cricketing infrastructure and boost their chances of gaining Test status. Last week, Cricket Scotland officials announced their plans to organize a new regional tournament, featuring the country's elite players, with three teams from the three main geographical centres playing regular three-day matches.
"In effect what we are planning is a first class tier of competition although it would not have that status," Andy Tennant, Cricket Scotland's head of performance, was quoted as saying in the Herald Scotland. "The ICC are keen to ensure that their associate members have a solid infrastructure in place on and off the park and we are always trying to improve."
Tennant admitted Scotland were competing with Ireland, regarded as the leading associate nation at this point. Ireland have already voiced their interest in gaining Test status amid calls to incorporate more teams into the circuit, or reform the format by creating a tier system. "We are constantly jockeying for position with the other associate countries and Ireland probably are in pole position having been successful for the last year or two," Tennant said. "However, there are other ways you can set yourself up for sustained success and we believe a three-day competition will greatly enhance our infrastructure."
Scotland failed to qualify for the 2011 World Cup, though they still retain their ODI status. Tennant also believed the establishment of an equivalent for first-class cricket at the associate level could help secure the futures of many of the country's cricketers by filling a "black hole" at the senior level.
"This competition will provide a necessary stepping-stone from club cricket to senior representative level. It will also provide a safety net for players who previously might have slipped off our radar," he said. "There has always been a bit of a black hole where players who played for our U19s have disappeared from the scene because they weren't ready to step up to senior level. Now they will be kept involved and given the necessary back-up to ensure they reach their full potential."
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