When Scotland’s cricketers were beating England last year, Brad Wheal was recovering from injury and jumping about his flat as the game unfolded on television – today he wants to play a bigger part as the national team look to down another top nation in the shape of Sri Lanka.
Growing up in Durban in South Africa, Wheal always knew about his mum’s Scottish roots and he made a few trips to Scotland with his family in school holidays.
He also remembers being sent a Kilmarnock football strip and scarf in the post to keep him connected with Scotland and when he played his first One Day International for the country in January 2016 against Hong Kong in Mong Kok he was a happy boy.
Since then he has continued to learn his trade with English county Hampshire and the national team and was a star performer in last year’s 50-over World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe as the Scots fell just short.
Off the back of that event, in which he took 12 wickets, he was named in the squad to face England in a ODI last June, but he suffered a stress fracture in his back just before travelling northwards from Hampshire.
The strain of bowling for three-and-a-bit seasons in a row had taken its toll on his body and rest and recuperation was needed.
Wheal watched that famous victory on the television in his flat – “I was resting, but jumping up and down at times!” – and then was out for a number of months before getting back to bowling at the tail end of 2018.
The man, who now has 12 ODI and five T20I caps to his name, explains: “It was tough being out for so long, I must admit, but I knew that those six or seven months on the sidelines were needed to get me firing again. I was back for some winter training with Hampshire before having a nice break back home in Durban and then I headed out to La Manga with Hampshire for a pre-season camp.
“I missed the Oman tour and the La Manga trip with Scotland, but things have started nicely this summer with Hampshire and Scotland under Shane Burger so long may that continue.
“Working under Shane has been great so far, I really like the way that he gets his message across and I was pleased to have my gran and my uncle over from the west in the crowd for last Friday’s Afghanistan match.
“I know they, my mum and other family members are very proud when they see me singing Flower of Scotland and then playing in the dark blue – I hope I can continue doing that for a long time to come.”
This ODI with Sri Lanka is the first of two at The Grange in Edinburgh, with the second one on Tuesday.
Given that the Sri Lanka squad is preparing for the World Cup in England and Wales it will be a big test for Wheal and co, but not one they are scared of.
Today’s match gets under way at 11am.