Jon Coates, The Scotsman
Lloyds TSB Scotland's sponsorship of cricket in Scotland has been hailed as "a major coup" after the bank extended its support of the game until at least August 2009.
Roddy Smith, Cricket Scotland's chief executive, said that Lloyds' top-to-bottom investment, which since 2003 has funded national men's and women's teams from under-13 to senior level, was rare in the present climate of sports sponsorship.
"Against a backdrop where other national teams are losing or changing sponsors, it is a major coup for cricket to secure continued support at this level," said Smith, who described the bank as "a much-valued partner".
Lisa Stephenson, Lloyds TSB Scotland's director of marketing, said: "The profile of cricket in Scotland has increased significantly since we first became main sponsor. The national team has established itself on a worldwide platform and there will be exciting times ahead."
While Lloyds' backing is invaluable, it is not a financial panacea for Cricket Scotland. Smith admitted yesterday that resources remained stretched as efforts continue to accept the various invitations the ICC has offered the national team.
The Scots' qualification for the Twenty20 World Championships in September earned the organisation £128,000, and the presence of India and Pakistan in Scotland this summer will help to swell the coffers, but Smith said he could not afford to send the team away to prepare for their Twenty20 expedition in South Africa. All spare monies are being set aside to compensate players' employers for three months of international cricket next spring.
After the cancellation of July's European gathering in Belfast, Scotland's 20-over side will be confined to four home encounters with Scots-based professionals before they arrive in the Rainbow Nation for two official warm-up matches and group meetings with India and Pakistan.
"There won't be any more than six Twenty20 matches before the actual event," Smith confessed. "It's just a question of resources."