THE runs and wickets on the scoreboard are not the only figures that will exercise Malcolm Cannon this Saturday. The Cricket Scotland chief executive will follow the team’s progress against Sri Lanka at the Grange as keenly as any fan while keeping his fingers crossed that the good weather holds and spectators turn out in decent numbers to help balance the books.

Cannon admits bringing full member sides like Sri Lanka and Afghanistan to Scotland actually costs the governing body money. But the recently-appointed Partick Thistle director believes it is a worthwhile sacrifice to make to try to provide the Scottish players with the challenges they need, while also providing appealing matches for supporters to come and watch.

“Facing top 10 opposition is critical for us,” said Cannon. “Not only because it’s one of the outstanding criteria for full membership that we’ve got to manage but also these are the guys we’ve got to beat if we’re going to qualify for the next World Cup. These are the teams that are setting the pace and we’ve got to keep up with them.

“It takes a lot of preparation and negotiation to get these members here but we have to keep doing it. Every game we put on costs us money. It’s not like full members where they get a return for every game through broadcast revenue. We don’t have broadcast deals because England have our broadcast rights. We can’t negotiate great broadcast deals on our games.

“So it’s more about mitigating the cost rather than benefiting commercially from these opportunities. However, we need to bring cricket to the fans and provide it for our players. We need to have cricket as an option for youngsters looking to get in to sport. So we have to bring these teams here. That’s part of our requirement as a national governing body to put on international sport.

“It has to be a loss leader for us. And if we can mitigate the cost as much as possible with sponsorship and fantastic crowds like we saw on Friday when we had 600 people at the game then that will help. We won’t often get 5000 like we got last year for the England game but we’d definitely hope for 1000 coming along to experience a great day’s cricket.

“The Sri Lanka game on Saturday – assuming it’s a lovely day down at the Grange we’d expect a full house and that’s quite a few people. It should be a great day’s cricket no matter the outcome.”

Achieving full membership remains a medium to long-term goal for Scotland. “It has to be,” added Cannon. “We have to push for that and we have to be audacious in our setting of targets. Why not?

“Yes, we want to get to World Cups, but more importantly we want to be a full member because that is the thing that will make the difference from turning cricket from a niche minority sport to mainstream. That is where we have got to get to and full membership will help us get there.”

Cannon also explained why he has become involved at Firhill. “I know the chair [Jacqui Low] very well. I have known her for some time and she asked me a while back.

“The board is full of great people and they wanted a bit of different expertise on the board to add value to it. So I am hoping that I can make a difference.”