Scotland captain unhappy at scheduling December 3, 2007

Watson hits out at unrealistic ICC demands

Cricinfo staff

Ryan Watson: 'I don't know why the ICC are giving us such a big programme when we're still amateurs' © Getty Images
The simmering debate over the increasing commitment required by players from the leading Associate countries rumbles on, with Ryan Watson, the Scotland captain, the latest to have his say.

The six main Associates, of which Scotland are one, are, with the exception of Kenya, all amateur or semi professional. A few years ago they played relatively little international cricket, but now that they have ODI status and play in the Intercontinental Cup, World Cricket League as well as European and domestic competitions, the demands are growing all the time.

In 2008 Scotland will be involved in 38 days of matches and that makes no allowance for travel and practice. Many players find it increasingly hard to take the necessary time off work and several have either quit or decided to miss some events in recent months. The patience of some employers is being stretched to breaking point.

"I don't know why the ICC are giving us such a big programme when we're still amateurs," Watson told Scotland on Sunday. "Either the ICC has to come up with the money for us to be professional, or be more realistic." The paper reported that Cricket Scotland was preparing to send an A team rather than the full squad for Intercontinental Cup matches in Canada next summer.

"My biggest worry as captain is that we end up putting out under-strength teams week in, week out, which I hate, because it takes away from representing your country," Watson said.

Last month Bermuda's Lionel Cann highlighted the issues facing players. "It's really tough for the guys that have families," he wrote in his column for the Bermuda Sun. "We are away but the bills keep coming. The board covers our main job, but those of us that work second jobs or hustles on the side to get extra money for our families, don't have that covered.

"There's no performance bonuses or anything, basically we're playing for pride, for our country. There's no support in place for wives and girlfriends to take care of things for them, to make sure the grass gets cut - that kind of thing.

"We've been away on and off for three years now and it's tough on our families. There is no sign of it stopping. There are a lot of sacrifices being made by the senior players."