Kyle Coetzer has always had a have-bat-will-travel attitude and has skippered Scotland to a string of notable successes on the international stage in recent years.
The most memorable occurred exactly three years ago today when he and his compatriots made history with their first-ever victory ovedr England after an enthralling contest in Edinburgh, which produced neary 750 runs and a thrilling climax when Safyaan Sharif trapped Mark Wood lbw.
That wrapped up a nerve-shredding six-run triumph for the underdogs which was even more impressive when Eoin Morgan’s side went on to become world champions just a year later.
Captain Coetzer might have been forced to sit on the sidelines during the Covid-19 pandemic, but he has made a huge contribution to the sport in Scotland and England during the last 20 years and insists that he still has plenty of challenges in future competitions.
He told the Press and Journal about his most memorable matches – and, unsurprisingly, the list featured his country’s unprecedented victory over world No 1 side England in Edinburgh in 2018.
However, the Aberdeen-born stalwart chose the victory against Sri Lanka in Kent in 2017 – an occasion where he handed over the captaincy to his late colleague, Con de Lange – as the most cherished memory of his life in the game, even as he talked about his other favourite days on the field.
He and his north-east confrere, Matt Cross, both struck centuries as the Scots – who were chasing 288 – recorded an emphatic seven-wicket triumph over the ICC Full members. Coetzer, who top-scored with 118 in an opening stand of 201 with Cross, described the convincing display as the start of “our powerful journey as a team”, while paying a poignant tribute to De Lange, who died last year at just 38.
He said: “Unfortunately, the game did not receive ODI status, but it was hard-fought, it was an excellent result and it really set us on our way.
”I was due to miss the match, because of the birth of my second daughter Gabriella and, as vice captain, Con was down to be in charge. But, as things panned out, my daughter arrived a few days early which enabled me to come back and play at Beckenham.
”However, given that we had already agreed that Con would lead the side in this fixture, myself and [former Scotland coach] Grant Bradburn decided to let him remain as captain and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made, because he fell ill just a few months later and sadly passed after battling a brain tumour for many months.
“To let him be the captain and lead Scotland to a brilliant victory over the Sri Lankans will always have a special and rewarding place in my heart.
“He had done so much in his career and still had so much left to achieve, so I am very glad that he was able to experience this special moment as captain of his country.
“It was the start of our amazing journey which took us all the way to eventually beating England at the Grange in Edinburgh in the summer of 2018. Con was an influential person and a real leader in our group and it was only fitting that a man of his calibre was at the helm to set us on our way. I can tell you that he will always be missed.”
Kyle Coetzer’s other favourite moments
2018: Scotland 371 for 5 (C MacLeod 140 not out) beat England 365 (J Bairstow 105) by six runs. “After the lows of missing out on World Cup qualification [in controversial circumstances in Zimbabwe], this was a great way to show the cricketing circuit what they are missing by playing a smaller World Cup, with fewer teams involved in it.”
2017: Scotland 317 for 6 (Coetzer 109) beat Zimbabwe 272 ( C De Lange 5-60) by 45 runs. “This was our first victory against an ICC Full Member in an ODI and it felt as if our journey was just starting as a team. We were beginning to realise our true potential and we had learned to believe in ourselves as individuals and as a team. Con also produced a terrific performance to steer us to the win.”
2016: Scotland 78 for 2 (Cross 26, Coetzer 20 not out) beat Hong Kong 127 for 7 by eight wickets with 12 balls to spare by the D/L method. “This was our first victory in a World Cup (the T20 version in India) and it was special because we managed to get rid of the reputation which hung over our heads as being an organisation which was not able to win games at World Cups. To be there not out at the end of the match made it even more special.”
2015: Scotland 318 for 8 (Coetzer 156) lost to Bangladesh 322 for 4 (T Iqbal 95) by six wickets. “Sadly, we didn’t win this game in New Zealand, but it helped show exactly what Scotland are capable of producing on the World Cup stage and I was proud of that.
“There was another nice aspect to it – this was actually the first live hundred my parents ever watched me score and I was thrilled for them.”