March 20, 2003

Knox chasing his dream in Scotland

He captains Black Cap World Cup all-rounder Chris Harris and Test player Chris Martin and now he hopes to play with Rahul Dravid in the ICC World Cup League in Nairobi.

Who's he going to play for?


And where's he from?


The complexity of qualification, and the expansion of international and British cricket to include second tier teams is epitomised in the Steven Knox story.

Knox heads to Scotland on Sunday to complete his final 183 days qualification before the new ICC World League in Nairobi on September 20.

The globetrotting Penicuik (a Scottish Division Two team) professional is taking a risk, he says, by asking Scottish Cricket Ltd to reinstate him as an amateur, "to give myself the best possible chance in the top division," and impress the Scottish administration, who are in negotiation with Indian World Cup star Dravid for 2003.

Knox said the Scottish Asian community has been raising funds to pay for Dravid and possibly another Indian, Ajit Agarkar.

Knox, a shaven-headed 29-year-old opener in the Christchurch club competition for one-day title-winner St Albans is a deemed Scottish national after doing four years at Penicuik, and becomes a national after seven years qualification.

He hopes to play for Scotland in its first year in the Norwich Union League Division Two this year and to represent his adopted country against the other five teams immediately below Test level in the Nairobi tournament.

Meeting World Cup semi-finalists Kenya, and Namibia, Canada, the Netherlands and United Arab Emirates in the place where the Black Caps refused to play "doesn't worry me," he said.

After almost a decade waiting for the big time, he said he'd play anywhere if it meant he was fulfilling his cricket ambitions.

Globetrotting Knox scored four unbeaten centuries in a row late in the last northern hemisphere season, two for Cumberland in a Minor County game against Bedfordshire, one for Penicuik, and one for Cumberland in a Cheltenham and and Gloucester Trophy preliminary round match against Nottinghamshire Cricket Board at Keswick.

He's hit over 700 runs this year for St Albans, including his maiden one-day and two-day centuries.

The Pied Piper of Christchurch club cricket is in his first season as captain of St Albans.

"It's been great to lead quality players from first-class and Tests. It's a big thrill. The social side is important as well," he said.

Knox is trying to persuade the Scottish administration to fast-track his qualification so he can play in Kenya. If not, Scotland are drawn to play Cumberland, captained by Barrow-born Knox's cousin, Jonathan Lewis, in the end of 2003 season Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy 2004 qualification game. Knox will be torn by his twin loyalties.

"I don't know who I'll play for that day. But I hope it's Scotland."