Thursday, August 11, 2022

Cricket Scotland: Up-and-comer Olly out to enjoy his experience in the USA

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Scotland’s men will be making history this weekend when they play cricket in the USA for the first time – and Olly Davidson is aiming to hit a milestone himself by earning a full cap aged just 17.

The Scots, who have won their last eight One Day Internationals, will be playing four matches at the Moosa Stadium in Pearland over the next few days.

Their Cricket World Cup League 2 campaign continues with ODIs against the hosts (May 28 and 29) and the UAE (May 31 and June 3) after some cracking performances in Dubai last month in their last outings.

With left arm spinner Mark Watt missing this trip due to Derbyshire commitments, head coach Shane Burger has called up Worcestershire teenager Davidson for the first time.

Davidson opened the batting and bowled well at the under-19 World Cup in the West Indies earlier in the year and is the first of an exciting crop of players from that squad to be promoted to the full international set-up.

“It was a bit of a surprise to be selected, but a nice one for sure and I just want to learn as much as I can on this trip to the USA,” Davidson, a spinning left handed all-rounder, said.

“I guess I have always been used to playing sport against older people, so that has never really phased me and every opportunity I get I just try and grab with both hands.

“Having watched the Scotland squad over the last couple of years from afar it is clear they have a very experienced core group of players and they are on a great run of form, but it has not been too daunting coming in to train with them because everyone has been so welcoming.

“I am sure I’ll get to know guys better on this trip too and whether I play in one of the matches or not it will be great to be a squad member and experience what a tour like this is all about.

“Scotland’s men have a lot of big games coming up and hopefully I can just keep learning and growing as a player and be a part of what is going to be an exciting future for this team,”

So, how has the cricketing journey of Davidson – who was born in 2004 and does not turn 18 until July 28 – taken him to this point?

Well, he was born in Scotland, but his family moved to South Africa when he was quite young.

“When I was in South Africa, about 50 minutes away from Cape Town, that was where I picked up my love of cricket and rugby because wherever you turned people were playing it,” he explains.

“Inside school and outside of school there was always a chance to play somewhere and because I was often playing against older boys I learnt pretty quickly.

“Cricket and rugby have always been my favourite sports and in more recent years I had to pick between the two as the commitment got too much, I think starting cricket at a young age in South Africa and testing myself against those older boys early on has stood me in good stead in the sport.”

Davidson’s family then returned to Scotland and he began to attend Thornhill Primary School in Stirling and played for Stirling County.

“My dad played at County too and I made my senior debut for the third or fourth XI when I was eight,” Davidson recounts.

“I really enjoyed playing at Stirling and have some good memories from there before my family moved down to England when I was senior school age and, after a spell at a state school, I was lucky enough to be awarded a scholarship to Bromsgrove School with my cricket and I am still there now.

“The school has been really good for my cricketing development because the facilities there are top class while over the last few years I have played for Stourbridge Cricket Club and, more recently, Harborne Cricket Club.”

Davidson was only 12 when he earned his first Scotland under-15 honours – apparently a record – while he progressed through the under-17s and the pandemic to make it to the under-19 World Cup a few months ago.

Whilst at Bromsgrove School, Davidson has been connected to the Worcestershire Academy set-up and, in more recent times, has played some games for their second XI.

That experience together with the under-19 World Cup and training of late with the full Scotland squad has left with a better understanding of what is needed to kick on at the top level in the game.

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