Michael Leask is hoping strong performances against the Netherlands can be the springboard for both him and Scotland to shine on the world stage.
The Saltires play their first fixture since December 2019 today against the Dutch in Rotterdam.
The One-Day Internationals today and on Friday mark the start of the Scotland’s build-up to the T20 World Cup in India in October.
It’s been a long wait for the Scots to return to international action and for Leask it’s been even longer, with his last appearance in coming in October 2019.
Having played in the 2016 T20 World Cup and the 2015 50-over World Cup, the Aberdonian is determined to force his way into the side for this year’s tournament.
The 30-year-old all-rounder said: “It’s not just having a taste of World Cups, it’s wanting to do well in them as well.
“I’ve been to two World Cups and I haven’t done brilliantly.
“So to go to them now and put my name out there by doing well would be great.
“The last couple of qualifiers haven’t gone the way I had wanted them to individually, but from a team perspective we’ve done what we had to do and made the World Cup.
“From a selfish perspective, it’s now about putting in performances when I get the chance.
“That chance will hopefully be in Holland to start with and then go on from there.”
Leask’s quest for improvement
Despite various lockdowns and a lack of competitive cricket, Leask has still been working hard to improve.
The former Stoneywood-Dyce player’s chief focus has been on his off-spin bowling as he looks to contribute with both bat and ball.
He added: “You need all-rounders in teams, but it’s about both skills being up to scratch, which has been the problem.
“I think in the past one skill has been outshining the other.
“So, for me, it’s about putting both skills together, because I know I’m a good athlete in the field.
“It’s just about combining the bat and the ball to give a more all-round performance, rather than only one of them being OK.
“Putting the two together is the biggest thing for me.
“The bowling side of things has been more difficult, but that’s what the hard work has gone into over the last 18 months.
“Hopefully if I get an opportunity in Holland that will come through.”
Excitement about returning
After so long without a competitive outing because of the pandemic, Leask says everyone in Shane Burger’s squad is excited ahead of this week’s fixtures.
He said: “It’s good to be back in among the guys and there’s a lot of hard work to be done to put in performances on the park and show the hard work that’s been done off the park.
“That’s still to be seen, but there’s been lots of work done behind the scenes, so hopefully that proves to be fruitful.
“It’s not been an easy 18 months for the squad, because we’ve not had any cricket, but everyone is raring to go.
“The thing at the moment is that we’ve got 20 guys-plus fighting for 14 or 15 spots, which is exciting.
“I think it’s good to have guys competing for spots, you want to have that and it makes for better training because the sessions are more competitive.”