Bulldog Drummond seeks further success
Neil Drysdale (CricketEurope)
Gordon Drummond had 100 different things to do last week, in advance of Scotland’s cricketers embarking on their longest-ever away trip from their homeland.
There were final training sessions with the rest of the squad, equipment to collect, the creation of a to-do list on his journey to the UAE, Sri Lanka and Dubai, a slew of media commitments, all building up to the realisation that the Scots will be on tour from now until the end of March.
And while such assignments may be routine to the hardened professionals on the Test circuit, they represent a massive commitment for people such as Drummond, who works as a Cricket Development Officer with the City of Edinburgh Council.
Yet, if anybody worried that this redoubtable character might have difficulties juggling his myriad roles, they clearly haven’t been watching the calm, but methodical, mixture of sangfroid and steel with which he has helped resuscitate the team under his charge.
A couple of years ago, the Scots were facing difficulties on several fronts, hampered by an ageing squad, who had notably slipped from the heights they reached in 2005.
But ever since, whether in the introduction of talented youngsters in the mould of Preston Mommsen, Josh Javey, Ryan Flannigan, Calum MacLeod and Safyaan Sharif, or the coming to fruition of such confirmed talents as Richie Berrington, Majid Haq, Kyle Coetzer, Gordon Goudie and Drummond himself, the Caledonian brigade have re-grouped, and have launched themselves into pursuing premier position in the Associate ranks again.
They aren’t the finished article yet, as both Drummond and the national coach, Pete Steindl, readily acknowledge – but, with an average age of 24, time is on their side, and they can re-affirm that potential in the next few frenzied weeks.
“We have made excellent progress in the last few years as a group, and we are striving to continue to develop our skills further. We realise that this tour will be testing, we currently have two draws in the Intercontinental Cup to date and we are looking to register a win against the UAE to push us closer towards the top of the group, because, having reached the final last year, the guys are hungry to go one step better this time around,” said Drummond, who has no illusions that the UAE will be formidable adversaries on their own patch in Sharjah.
“All these Associate I-Cup games are tough, and particularly more difficult when you are playing away from home.
“On the evidence of the match against Afghanistan, the UAE have shown they have a squad which is capable of challenging a lot of teams in this form of the game and we will need to be at our best to get a win. For our guys to progress, we need to be able to adapt to any conditions and will need to adapt quickly, because we’ve been indoors practicing on hard surfaces [this winter] as opposed to dealing with the slow, turning pitches, that we will face when we meet the UAE. But all the lads have been working hard.”
These last few words embody the main characteristic which Drummond has brought to the skipper’s role. He isn’t interested in larging it up to the press, or in shooting his mouth off with bold, brash predictions about how the Scots are ready to beat the ICC’s Full Members. Instead, he is one of life’s quiet achievers, a whole-hearted competitor, blessed with the understanding that actions speak louder than words.
He appreciates, for instance, that Scotland face a stern examination of their mettle in next month’s World T20 qualifying event. But, if he is anxious, he is keeping it very well hidden.
“We have worked hard as a squad to identify the way we want to play these games, and achieved some success in Namibia at the end of last year. I feel that we have a good mix of players in the squad who can cover all the bases in T20 and the coaches have identified that, apart from our playing skills, fitness levels are vital to help us deal with the demands of the tour.
“We have been doing a lot of work on this, because the teams which manage to keep their main players on the park will stand a better chance of progressing. It’s imperative that we start the competition strongly, because that will build confidence and apply pressure to the other  sides, to help us reach our goal of qualifying for the T20 World Cup in [Sri Lanka] in September. We have experienced the finals twice already, so I guess that our progress and success will be measured on whether this Scotland squad manages to qualify for the major tournaments. That is certainly our ambition.”
Drummond won’t mind whether he takes centre stage, or chips in with a wicket here, a few boundaries there, and a smart catch or two at some stage of any of the fixtures.
On the contrary, he adheres to the philosophy that there is no “I” in team and will be coaxing, cajoling and cheering on his personnel with the attitude that T20 revolves around everybody coming to the party together.
Ultimately, he might not possess the mellifluous personality of a Craig Wright or the English county background of a Gavin Hamilton. But Drummond has the right bulldog spirit to lead by example and one suspects that he has plenty more to accomplish from his preferred position out of the limelight.