KZN Inland coach Shane Burger will be taking up his role as head coach of Scotland in March at an exciting time in the country’s cricketing development, writes SIMON LEWIS.
A proud Burger told SACricketmag.com that Cricket Scotland are eyeing qualification for the 2023 Cricket World Cup in India as their major goal, which Burger sees as both a huge challenge and a major opportunity. However, with only 10 teams able to qualify for the World Cup finals, it does put a lot of pressure on Scotland, who are currently ranked 13th out of 14 on the ICC’s ODI rankings list.
‘As much as that would seem mission impossible, I think in many ways KZN Inland was mission impossible, so I see this as a great challenge and something we can really strive towards,’ said Burger, who added that Test status was another item on the Scotland Cricket to-do list.
‘In any coaching or playing job there is always going to be pressure … but I really enjoy pressure. I think pressure can be taken away by earning the trust (of Cricket Scotland) and showing them your work ethic, showing them you are organised and producing better cricketers.
‘If we tick all those boxes it will ultimately take a little bit more pressure off. It’s going to be a hell of a challenge, but I am always up for a challenge,’ said Burger, smiling.
Burger had a 12-year stint playing cricket in the UK and that offered him the opportunity to see a lot of Scotland and to get to know Scottish culture and the people of Scotland.
‘Scotland is a beautiful country in itself, but the people are fantastic – they are really friendly and they are very passionate. They are passionate to do well and they are very passionate about Scotland,’ he said.
Burger also shared some insight into KwaZulu-Natal Inland’s season and some of the players who have shone during the season (see video above).
The 36-year-old was born in Johannesburg and played 91 first-class games during a career that stretched from 2001 to 2015. He scored 3839 first-class runs (ave 33.67) with a highest score of 153 not out and six centuries. He also picked up 171 first-class wickets (ave 24.47), with best figures of 5-13 and has four five-fors under his belt.
After a solid career as a player, Burger has enjoyed even greater success as a coach, winning three trophies with KwaZulu-Natal Inland – the CSA 50-Over competition and CSA T20 Cup (2015-16) and the Africa T20 Cup (2017) – as well as picking up the CSA Semi-Professional Coach of the Year twice (2015-16 and 2017-18).
Footage: Cricket Scotland and Cricket South Africa