Scotland slammed for 'Jock Boks' policy
Former Scotland international Ian Stanger has launched a scatching attack on the team's professionalism in the aftermath of their failure to qualify for the 2011 World Cup
Former Scotland international Ian Stanger has launched a scatching attack on the team's professionalism in the aftermath of their failure to qualify for the 2011 World Cup. Top of his list of issues is that of what he terms "Jock Boks", a reference to the influx of South African-born players in the squad.
Despite the insistence of the board that there is no cause to panic, expressions of unease with the whole set-up won't go away. Stanger's is the latest to have his say, and coming as it does from a player until recently inside the camp, his comments will carry more weight than most.
"We are not a well-drilled one-day outfit and this was another muddled affair," he wrote is his column in the Herald. "Ireland came to win this tournament, whereas it seemed we merely sought to qualify. The Irish have imposed themselves with a vibrant, aggressive and well-oiled unit (alcohol bans to boot) and are setting the pace where Scotland did so a decade before."
Turning to selection, he pulled no punches. "There has been no evidence of any long-term strategy and three areas have highlighted this: use of our county-based players, overseas pros and newly-qualified Scots.
"We have witnessed an unprecedented period of cap handouts, the Jock Boks. There is no doubt this has undermined the development of some of our home-grown players. [Ryan] Watson aside, there have been very few standouts from the southern hemisphere, certainly not a cut above the local lads. At times the selectors have acted like kids in the candy shop, unable to resist the temptation to try something new in favour of a more tried and tested choice.
"Why do we persist in handing out Scotland jerseys to players with foreign accents on the evidence of a few games? Why do we have a tendency not to rate our own guys and abandon rather than seek to support their development? The thistle has become devalued through all this, none more so than in the selection of the Australian Glenn Rogers: he got a dream World Cup spot put on a plate, not earned or deserved. Is it any wonder that Scottish-bred players have lost hope and heart?"
Stanger laid the blame at the feet of "the all-powerful Craig Wright, former chairman of selectors Dave Loudon and chief executive Roddy Smith," adding that "too often, the deliberations inside the walls of Raveltson have offered little long-term team stability."
A cosy culture has set in at the top. There is a lack of sporting honesty about our preparations and under par performances
He also said that the lack of consistency with the team coach was an issue. "Four national coaches in four years: hardly reflective of a country which knows where it is going. This unsettling episode has had a critical effect on the growth of a team and the style of play. Successive personalities and approaches have striven for short-term gain in the face of job insecurity and influential player power.
"A cosy culture has set in at the top. There is a lack of sporting honesty about our preparations and under par performances. We need to confront our weaknesses and constantly strive to improve our game if we are to compete consistently at international level."
Stanger's comments are said to have caused more than a few shock waves with Scottish Cricket. One insider told Cricinfo that "while some of the rhetoric can be dismissed as being over-the-top, there are valid points raised and ones that cannot be ignored. The coaching is a mess and the selection policy has failed.
"Once they have calmed down a bit, the board would be daft not to listen to Ian's criticisms."