Mark Watt has never been one to shy away from a challenge and the spin bowler admits playing cricket for Derbyshire down south in recent weeks has tested him, but has ultimately improved him as a player as he prepares for today’s Scotland match against Afghanistan.
The two teams were due to meet on Wednesday, but that game was washed out.
They will return to the Grange in Edinburgh this morning hoping to get a full One Day International in as the Scots prepare for the visit of Sri Lanka later in the month and the visitors get ready for the upcoming World Cup in England and Wales.
Watt, the 22-year-old who began playing cricket on Leith Links before breaking through at Heriot’s in 2012 when they won the Scottish Cup, played cards and kicked a football about with his team-mates in midweek as they waited for the first game to officially be called off.
He may well have also taken some time to himself during the day to reflect on a career on the rise since last June’s win over England.
Off the back of that famous victory he earned a contract with Lancashire for the remainder of the 2018 season and, after impressing for Scotland in Oman earlier this year, he secured a summer contract with fellow county side Derbyshire for 2019.
So far he has represented them in the Royal London One Day Cup and has done well while he has been travelling up and down the road regularly to fulfil Eastern Knights and Scotland commitments.
“I have learned a lot down at Derbyshire already this summer and tested myself bowling against quality batsmen, but now I can’t wait to pull on the dark blue jersey again for Scotland,” he said.
“The cancellation on Wednesday has left us champing at the bit to get out there and secure a first win under new head coach Shane Burger.
“On Wednesday there was lot of hanging about, a lot of cards and a lot of football, but you have to stay switched on.It is tough for everyone especially the crowd.
“We ramped up training on Thursday and we expect that Afghanistan will take this game to us, we expect that from all teams, but we will also take it to them.
“We will fight back hard, we have a batting line-up that is strong up top, strong in the middle and we also have guys at the end who can whack it as well so we will take it to them on a flat Grange wicket.”
Four years ago, then a teenager, Watt had a bad experience playing for Scotland against today’s opposition at the same ground in the Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers, conceding 41 runs from only two overs.
However, the former Trinity Academy pupil is a quick learner and a resilient character and believes that experience actually helped him in the long run.
“I got dropped straight after that game for a while,” Watt explained. “I thought that was my opportunity done and I would have to wait quite a while to get another opportunity. I didn’t think I would be starting in the T20 World Cup in India, never mind opening the bowling in the first game against Afghanistan [he took 1-30 in that game in March 2016]. You learn from bad experiences and go from there.”
Scotland are ranked 13th in the world in the One Day International format with the visitors ranked tenth and Watt is set to be key in this 50-over contest.