Former Australia cricket captain Kim Hughes is back in Scotland and has been reminiscing about his successful spell in Edinburgh with Watsonians 40 years ago.
Hughes, now 62, recently opened the refurbished Craiglockhart Pavilion in the grounds of George Watson’s College, a project that was made possible by a generous legacy left by John Martin.
And he took time out to catch up with team-mates from his time at Watsonians back in 1976, when they won both the East League and the Masterton Trophy with Hughes hitting 1700 runs.
“Whenever I come back over to the UK to watch the Ashes and on other trips I always make a point of visiting Edinburgh and catching up with my old mates because I loved the year that I had here,” Hughes said.
“When I got the chance to come here I was 22 at the time and as a young Western Australian moving to Scotland, I really was not sure what to expect.
“All I knew about Scotland was that it was pretty cold over here and they played a lot of rugby union.
“However, I should not have been worried because they made me feel at home straight away at Watsonians and the likes of (team captain) Brian Adair and (PE teacher at George Watson’s College) Donald Scott were great to me.
“We were also lucky because we had a beautiful summer in terms of weather and the team seemed to come together and play some great cricket – I just remember that I had a ball here.
“Cricket is such a wonderful game and it brings people from different walks of life together in a common cause.
“And that is the message that I want to get across to all kids: sport is a great vehicle for meeting people and making friends all over the word.
“As long as you enjoy your sport when you are young then who knows where it can take you.
“Certainly when I came to Scotland 40 years ago I could not have imagined the career I would go on and have.”
Twelve months after starring for Watsonians under the leadership of Adair, Hughes was back in the UK and earning an Australian debut against England in 1977.
He went on to earn 70 Test caps for his country – 28 as captain – between then and 1984 and also played 97 One Day Internationals.
He is still involved in the sport as director of cricket at Hale School in Perth in his homeland and he has some interesting thoughts on the modern game.
“Test cricket is struggling in some countries, the West Indies for example, but I just hope their success in the World Twenty20 will see that great cricketing nation get back to its best,” he stated.
“Generally in cricket though things are pretty exciting at the moment because Pakistan are coming back into things, New Zealand are emerging and England are coming back onto a game.
“To grow the game countries like Scotland need to be given more support by the ICC.
“I think the most important thing for smaller nations is to get the coaching structures right because when kids are between 15 and 18 that is when they learn the most and become better cricketers.
“If serious coaches can come in and coach the coaches that are involved in the schools and clubs then that will help going forward.
“The women’s game is also growing around the world and that has been a great positive to see of late for me.”