Jon Coates, The Scotsman
Peter Drinnen's future as Scotland coach may yet be rescued by an uprising of support from within an increasingly divided playing pool.
A collaboration of senior players and Cricket Scotland board members is thought to be pushing for the national coach's removal but the beleaguered Australian would have been heartened by the emergence of allies yesterday after The Scotsman's revelation that his job was on the line.
Two established members of Scotland's World Cup squad told this reporter, on condition of anonymity, that Drinnen has been unfairly victimised by "three or four" disgruntled players and should not shoulder the blame for the national team's poor form since reaching the final of the World Cricket League in February.
A dressing room that has become subdued in recent times is clearly split, too, over who should be making strategic decisions. Drinnen, who is sitting out Scotland's games against UAE and Pakistan this week as he rests a bad back, is expected to be reunited with his players next week and will want to learn the misgivings of the rebels and identify who supports him and who does not.
One player, who did not want to be named, said yesterday that a previously silent majority of "Drinnenites" within the squad would make sure their opinion was heard before the board made its decision on the renewal of the coach's contract, which expires at the end of the year.
"If you took the 11 most capped players and asked them to give their honest opinion, without fear of it going any further, I think seven would tell you they don't want the coach to go," he said. "It's a minority that are pushing for this, not a majority. A lot of players, especially the younger guys, won't speak out because of the fear of losing their place.
"I don't think it's a coaching problem. We saw [Drinnen's predecessor] Andy Moles come and go because of the view of a few people, and now it's happening again. If we are not careful we will have three or four people running Cricket Scotland who have no right to be running it.
"We can't keep going through coaches like this. There is a personality clash, but that's all it is."
Another well-known Scotland player expressed sympathy for the coach's plight, arguing that his workload had grown out of control this summer with the introduction of Scotland A to the 2nd XI County Championship. Up to 20 days in the past two months have been devoted to that competition, with all the games in England, and next week Drinnen is scheduled to be on Scotland under-23 duty.
"I think Peter has been completely overworked lately and needs to focus solely on the national team," he said. "He wants to be involved in everything and since the World Cup he has been away a lot of the time with the Scotland A team. That might have caused some of the national players to become restless.
"I just don't think it is practicable for Peter to coach across the board. He has to put all his energies into the Scotland team."