Kyle Coetzer: Scotland legend on his decision to retire as 'exciting' coaching opportunity comes along
The 38-year-old, one of Scotland’s greatest players, has accepted the post of assistant coach at Northern Diamonds, one of the eight women’s regional hubs in Englland. He begins his new job this week as the Diamonds squad head for a preseason training camp in Spain.
After a glittering career, Coetzer hangs up his bat having set records aplenty, including being Scotland’s highest run scorer in ODI cricket, and winning 230 international caps – the second most of all time. Following 110 matches as captain in all formats of the game, Coetzer stepped down as skipper last year and ends his playing career on a high. He was part of the squad who won the ICC CWCL2 Trophy in Nepal last month.
“I’ve been playing for Scotland since I was 11 or 12 years old, so it’s been the best part of 26 years playing for my country,” said Coetzer. “I can still remember the day when Peter Steindl picked me – we were sat in the scorers shed at Merchiston Castle School, and when he called out my name, I just thrust my hands up in the air in celebration.
“I don’t ever think there’s a perfect time for a decision like this, but I’ve been considering my options for some time, and an opportunity came up which was too good to turn down.
“The balance that the Scotland team need at this time was outweighed by the opportunity for me to move into coaching, and I’m extremely excited about the chance to work with such a high-profile team. The chance to move straight into the performance game isn’t always there, and I’m fortunate that this opportunity opened up for me at this moment and I can take it on.
“The Northern Diamonds are one of the top sides in the country. They won the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy at Lord’s last season, and they’ve been performing well in the last couple of years. To be involved with coaching a performance team at that level is really exciting.”
Since making his international debut against Pakistan nearly 20 years ago, Coetzer has been at the forefront of the growth of the Scotland men’s squad on the international stage, and there have been some magical memories along the way.
“I’ve been so lucky throughout my Scotland career, that it’s tricky to pick out a highlight,” he added. “Getting our first win in the ICC T20 World Cup against Hong Kong in India in 2016 was special… but then so was the whole of 2018.
“The victory against England at The Grange was just amazing. That whole year – Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, England – just felt like a change of momentum and belief amongst the players about competing against the best teams in the world.
“Reaching the ICC T20 Super 12’s in 2021, having never achieved it before, and being the captain of that squad, will also always stay with me. Creating memories, being around friends, and always finding a way to punch above our weight was just terrific. I’ve always loved the battle of trying to improve against all odds.
“With both the current squad and past players, it’s all been so special. I must thank all the coaches and teammates and staff, and the support I’ve had from friends and family to help me in my career. There’s been so many people all around the world who have helped me to shape me in my career and will continue to do so.”
Born and raised in Aberdeen, Coetzer’s track record as a player and captain speaks for itself. He racked up 7,168 runs, scored Scotland’s first ever World Cup century in 2015, attained more wins than any other Scottish captain, and in a watershed moment for Scottish cricket, led his country to qualify for the Super 12s in the 2021 T20 World Cup.
He was awarded an MBE for services to cricket in 2020 and has captained Scotland at under-15, under-17 and under-19 levels. He also had successful spells in the county game with Durham and Northamptonshire.
Scotland men’s captain, Richie Berrington, said: “Kyle’s had an incredible career, and to play at the level he has for such a long period of time is testament to his dedication, his work ethic, and his passion for the game. He’s been hugely influential in growing our game and taking this team forward over the years. He’s been inspirational not only as a leader, but through some of the special performances and milestones that’s he’s achieved.”
Cricket Scotland’s interim head of performance, Toby Bailey, added: “Kyle has been an inspirational leader for Cricket Scotland over the years. His feats with the team have been nothing short of remarkable. His talent has been one of the main reasons why the Scotland men’s team has been able to compete against full member nations and produce some remarkable wins, including against Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, England, Bangladesh, and the West Indies.
“Not only will his stellar play be missed, but we will also miss his leadership skills off the park. We wish him all the very best for his time with the Northern Diamonds, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s going to be a fantastic coach. He had some experience working with the Scotland women’s team last year, and the reports were clear that he was going to be a terrific coach.”