Kyle Coetzer relishing double Dutch test as Scotland make long awaited return
It is 17 months since Kyle Coetzer last played international cricket but the Scotland captain hasn’t forgotten what makes him tick and is eagerly anticipating next week’s return to action in the Netherlands.
The Scots will play two one-day international matches against the Dutch, on May 19 and 21, and coach Shane Burger has named an experienced squad.
The national men’s side’s last outing came in December 2019 against the United Arab Emirates in Dubai and although they suffered a seven-wicket defeat, Coetzer top-scored with an impressive 97.
Scottish cricket’s lost year has been a source of frustration for the skipper and you sense he will only believe they are back when the first ball has been bowled in Rotterdam.
“When we walk out onto the field, it will be right ‘here we go, we are back playing now’. It will feel like a weight off our shoulders,” said Coetzer.
“We have been trying to get games and then things don’t materialise. We wait, we wait. It is getting frustrating so it will be really nice to get these games. It is so important for us, mentally for some the guys, to get back playing.”
The long lay-off has inevitably meant a bit of rustiness but the squad have been training for a few weeks now and Coetzer is happy with the way things are progressing.
“The first couple of days, taking high catches and that was a problem as you got your bearings,” said the 37-year-old.
“You don’t lose it, we can easily hide behind the idea that we haven’t played cricket and there is definitely a relevant point there, especially with game time – game time is different. But you don’t become a good cricketer overnight and you don't not become a good cricketer, lose what you had, overnight either.
“It is such a mental game that once you have got your body physically in the right place .... That is the thing that takes the time, getting physically right so that you can sprint and spend time out in the field, that is the stuff you have to be careful of. You don't forget your skills, we are all good cricketers, pretty well trained.”
Even so, the first indoors nets session was a bit of an eye opener as the players tried to readjust to balls hurtling towards them at speeds of up to 85mph.
“It certainly gets you going, that's for sure!” added Coetzer. “It was challenging for the boys. It was indoor so it was a fast, bouncy surface and the coach said ‘right we are going to work on pace bowling today’ and there were balls flying round your head.
“What that does, though, is clear out any preconceived ideas of ‘I have to focus on this technique or that one’. Once the ball is coming at your head, you are not worried about how you are holding the bat, you are just worried about playing it.”
Scotland squad (v the Netherlands, Rotterdam, May 19 & 21):
Kyle Coetzer (c), Richard Berrington (vc), Matthew Cross (wk), Calum Macleod, George Munsey, Dylan Budge, Mark Watt, Safyaan Sharif, Michael Leask, Craig Wallace, Ali Evans, Gavin Main, Hamza Tahir, Adrian Neill.