Rangers and Hearts hero messages show Scotland cricketers have captured imagination of nation

Mark Watt and Scotland have found life tough at the T20 World Cup.Mark Watt and Scotland have found life tough at the T20 World Cup.
Mark Watt and Scotland have found life tough at the T20 World Cup.
Messages of support from his Hearts footballing hero John Robertson and Rangers legend Ally McCoist have convinced Scotland star man Mark Watt that the national team’s presence at the T20 World Cup has captured the imagination of the wider public and can help cricket flourish in this country.

The sun will set on the Scots’ appearance at the showpiece event later today after their final Super 12s Group Two match with Pakistan in Sharjah (2pm UK time).

And while the second phase in the UAE has not gone as they would have hoped – they have lost four from four – the mere fact that they navigated past the tricky first round in Oman should be celebrated.

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However, it cannot just be enough to have made it to the second phase – and this has to be the start of something rather than the end.

Recently captain Kyle Coetzer lay down the gauntlet to the decision makers within Cricket Scotland to be “bold and brave” moving forward.

In players like Watt, the left-arm spinner who has taken seven wicket and conceded just 143 runs in 26 overs, and hard-hitting opening batter George Munsey they have guys who can take this side to the next level under head coach Shane Burger.

They are 25 and 28 respectively, while there are a number of uncapped players in their late teens and early 20s - Durham’s 18-year-old Tom Mackintosh the standout - who could have brilliant careers ahead of them if they are managed correctly.

The women’s national team are making big strides too under new head coach Mark Coles and in captain Kathryn Bryce, 23, her 21-year-old sister Sarah and 22-year-old right arm spinner Abtaha Maqsood have great role models.

It will be certainly interesting to see how the sport moves forward in this country after this, but Watt is certainly someone who has been brave and bold over the last three weeks.

And the Hearts supporter was delighted when John Robertson commented on one of his recent Instagram posts.

“That was pretty special,” the Heriot’s skipper said.

“There was also a message [via talkSPORT] from Ally McCoist to the squad and things like that show that what we are doing is getting out to the wider Scottish sporting community and more and more cricket is getting talked about back home.

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“I have been getting messages from mates who are mainly into football saying ‘it has been great watching you’ and people have been getting interested in finding out about cricket and getting behind us.

“Hopefully this will get more youngsters into the game and certainly seeing us on TV playing against the world’s best can only inspire youngsters to be the next Calum MacLeod, Kyle Coetzer, Mark Watt or Safyaan Sharif.”

And having impressed a global audience throughout the tournament Watt wants to keep challenging himself.

“The dream is to play franchise cricket and in big T20 tournaments around the world,” he states.

“I feel I could play at that level and hopefully this tournament will open things up for myself and some of the other boys too.”