Sunday’s win over Bangladesh in their T20 World Cup opener proved humbling for Scotland all-rounder Michael Leask.
Not only did Scotland upset the applecart in toppling the group favourites, Leask celebrated a cap milestone alongside captain and ‘idol’ Kyle Coetzer.
Leask earned his 100th international cap in Sunday’s win in Oman, with fellow Aberdonian Coetzer making his 200th appearance for his country.
Both players grew up playing at Stoneywood-Dyce in the north-east and have been international team-mates for the last eight years, with Leask not shy in his praise for the hugely influential national skipper.
“I’m absolutely honoured to have represented Scotland for 100 caps,” said Leask. “It was always a dream just to get my first cap, let alone 100. I never thought this day would come.
“To make it alongside Kyle getting 200 – I’ve played alongside him since I was four or five at the same club. I absolutely idolise the guy! He’s incredible and epitomises what it means to be Scottish.
Words can not do today justice, to have represented @CricketScotland and get my hundredth cap is a dream come true, @MeerGoose11 on 200 caps truly incredible achievement , and to the mom @Greav_o amazing all round performance quite simply special, @markwatt123 u were unreal #sco
— michael leask (@leasky29) October 17, 2021
“If you watch him on the park you see his pride, passion and exactly what it means to wear the badge on the shirt. That flows through the team and each individual takes something from Kyle. It’s amazing to see what he’s done for Scottish sport.”
Coetzer has been a dependable figure for Scotland since making his debut in 2003 and is now in his second stint as captain. He was also awarded an MBE for his services to cricket in 2019.
Both men were able to taste victory in memorable style in Muscat, with Chris Greaves playing a starring role with bat and ball to see Scotland over the line.
Greaves was just one of many Scotland players who did other jobs during lockdown – he delivered parcels for Amazon – and Leask believes it highlights the graft which goes into playing for an associate nation.
“I worked at a building supplies company also doing some delivery driving to help out, with the wee one now there as well,” he said. “I wanted to do a little bit extra and not just sit at home during that time.
“Pretty much all of us, 1-11, had something going on at that time. It was good to take your mind off cricket at times.
“It’s something that every individual in Scottish cricket has. Chris has done delivery driving, I also worked and quite a few of the guys do part-time work alongside their cricket. It takes your mind away from cricket at times.
“During lockdown it wasn’t easy. Chris had to find another job to help him at that time and he’s now reaping the rewards of that. It really helped him take his mind away from cricket and now he’s delivering for Scotland which is amazing to see.”
“I think that is what makes associate cricket great, that’s what we do, that’s why associate cricket is so tough, no game is given to each other, every game, every wicket, every run is fought for and that is what makes associate cricket so tough and that is the beauty of it.”
Scotland and Leask must park memories of their heroics against Bangladesh now and focus on the task for today’s game against Papua New Guinea in Muscat.
Victory over a team they beat in a T20 game 11 days ago would effectively guarantee Scotland’s progress to the Super 12, where the game’s elite nations lie in wait.
“We’re very humbled by the way that Sunday went but we’re trying to keep our feet on the ground and take each day as it comes. We know that PNG are going to be a threat so we’ve not really talked much yet about topping the group. PNG have beaten us in the past so we know the next games isn’t going to be easy so we’ll come out firing.
“I don’t think we can thank everyone back home enough for the support that we have received.
“Even from the moment we touched down here to play 50 over games, even from the home games v Zimbabwe, we have had such support from family members, the general public and everyone in Scotland has been absolutely amazing and it carries us through.
“Just to see every message from back home gives us a little lift and gives each individual something to take onto the park and keep fighting.”