Former Merchiston Castle pupil Tom Sole cannot wait for Scotland’s cricketers to take on Sri Lanka in the One Day International at The Grange on Tuesday.
The spinning all-rounder, who turns 23 next month, played in his sixth ODI last Friday in the tight loss against Afghanistan and it has left him eager for more.
Having come through the ranks at the school and Mazars Grange and then spent some time in New Zealand, Tom – at the time a Scotland age-grade cap – was given the chance to move to Northamptonshire in 2016 to get a taste for life on the county scene on a two year Academy contract.
He fitted in straight away and in 2017 was promoted into the first team for their 50-over match with South Africa. In that one he took one wicket and scored a 50 from number nine as Northants were just edged out – and from there he began to force his way into the full Scotland set-up.
He attended various camps north of the border in late 2017 and in early 2018 was selected in the squad that was travelling the United Arab Emirates to face Ireland and the UAE in a Tri-Series.
He took 2-44 against Ireland on his ODI debut on that trip and then played in four internationals at the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe in March before injury struck.
“It was in early May last year during a warm-up for a game down south when I got injured,” Tome, who is now a full-time player with Northants, said of his broken left ankle.
“It was tough to take at the time with the Scotland game against England only a few weeks later.
“I had only really broken into the international set-up a few months previously and wanted to nail down my spot, so to miss out on that England game was a blow.
“Despite being on the sidelines in June, it was great to be at The Grange on the day with my brother Chris playing and Scotland winning.
“As a group of players we always knew that we were that good, there is a confidence about our cricket and we always believe that we can beat the best.
“It is just a matter of being consistent going forward and being able to beat the best day in and day out rather than just in one off games. I don’t think we have any self doubt, we know what we can do.”
Tom was out on the sidelines until August and got back to fitness before another setback.
“It was actually Mairi MacPhail, (the Scotland physio) who spotted something was not quite right while we were out as a national squad in La Manga in November,” he recounts.
“The ligaments in my ankle had not tightened while they were repairing and there was quite a lot of scar tissue.
“So, the doctors went in and did some reconstruction on the lateral ligaments just before Christmas which led to another three months out.
“It meant missing the Oman trip with Scotland, but it was the right time of year to get it done and by the middle of March I was able to head out to La Manga with Northants.
“I then headed to La Manga with Scotland and it was good to be involved with that camp with Shane [Burger, the head coach] having just taken up the post.
“Then in the early weeks of the season I was just keen to get as much cricket under my belt as possible to put my name in the frame for the Afghanistan matches.”
The first of those was washed out last Wednesday, but Tom was in the XI for the second one on Friday and it was fitting that he made his home ODI debut for his country on the ground that he grew up playing on in Edinburgh.
“It would have been an interesting game if it had gone the whole way, DLS can be quite frustrating, but it is just something you have to put up with,” he said as he looked back on the tight defeat after the rain came,” he stated.
“It was a bit of a kick in the teeth with 5.1 overs to go because we felt we were right in things.
“We outplayed Afghanistan at different times in the game and there were a couple of run out chances that were close, but rather than dwell on them we are all now fully focused on facing Sri Lanka.
“Having a team of that calibre coming to Scotland is brilliant, we respect them, but we won’t give them too much respect, we will be going into these games to win and again show the wider cricketing public just what Scotland are capable of.”
Squad for Sri Lanka: Kyle Coetzer (captain), Dylan Budge, Scott Cameron (cover), Matthew Cross (wk), Alasdair Evans, Michael Jones, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, Gavin Main, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Tom Sole, Craig Wallace, Mark Watt, Brad Wheal.