Wright retires from internationals
Craig Wright, Scotland's most capped cricketer, has announced his retirement from internationals. Wright, 35, played 194 times for his country since his debut in 1997, which included 20 ODIs, and he will now concentrate on coaching.
Wright, who was appointed captain in 2003, led his country on 107 occasions. Under his leadership Scotland won the 2004 Intercontinental Cup and the 2005 ICC Trophy, in addition to a number of victories over county sides. He also led the side to the 2007 World Cup before stepping down from the captaincy.
"It has been an immense privilege to have represented my country in a sport I love over the past 12 years, and I am extremely proud to have had the honour of captaining the side during that period," Wright said. "We have experienced several highs and lows over this time, but I am glad to have been involved during a period where the Scotland team took significant strides forward and became the leading associate nation in the mid-2000s."
Wright's decision comes during a tumultuous time for Scotland in which they have taken several strides backwards, however. In the recent ICC World Cup Qualifiers, they failed to qualify for the 2011 tournament, and only by the skin of their teeth did they retain their one-day international status.
The lack of World Cup status led to Lloyds TSB dropping their sponsorship, and Ryan Watson resigning as captain. He was replaced by Gavin Hamilton who then had a public falling out with John Blain, days before Scotland's ICC World Twenty20 campaign, which led to Blain's pulling out of the tournament.
"It is important now that everyone involved in Scottish Cricket is working extremely hard to ensure we get things moving in the right direction again after a difficult period recently," Wright said. "I wish Pete [Steindl] and Gav [Gavin Hamilton] all the best in driving the team forward and bringing further success, and I believe we have a solid group of young players - such as Richie Berrington, Kyle Coetzer, Callum MacLeod and Gordon Goudie - around which the next team can be built. They not only have the appropriate skill level, but also the right character to succeed.
"Stepping back from international cricket will allow me to focus on my role as performance development manager. My ambition is to assist the next generation of Scottish cricketers in maximising their potential to raise the quality and quantity of players available at all levels of Scottish cricket."
Roddy Smith, Cricket Scotland chief executive, said: "Craig has been one of the most important figures in the Scotland team since his debut, and has represented his country with great skill and passion on a record number of occasions. He played a vital role in the transformation of the national side and can take immense pride in the contribution he made to winning world competitions and beating English county sides.
"It is a measure of Craig's commitment to Scottish cricket that he put off his retirement in recent weeks to assist the side during a busy period when there were injury problems to other bowlers. I am sure now he will be even more focused on developing the next generation of Scottish cricketers in his professional role with us, building on the excellent work already being doing regionally and nationally throughout Scotland. As a role model and coach for aspiring international cricketers I can think of no better person."