Coleman sets no limits as he chases opening
From Mark Woods
Freddie Coleman was awestruck when he first walked into the Warwickshire dressing room to practice along side Test aces Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott. However, the Edinburgh-born opener has vowed to snare a spot in the county’s line-up before setting his sights on joining the duo in the England team.
It’s an ambitious goal for the 21-year-old opener. First though, he will aim to flourish on Scotland duty, continuing later this week with a four-day clash with Australia’s A team at The Grange.
But Coleman, who signed a long-term deal at Edgbaston last winter, knows there’s only one way to make his dreams come true.
He said: “It’s simple: I’ve got to score as many runs as I can for whoever I’m playing for. I’ve been fortunate to be allowed to play for Scotland and it’s been a great opportunity to get first-team cricket.
“Because it’s tough to get into that Warwickshire batting line-up at the minute. I just have to keep doing my thing, which is runs. Hundreds is the key.”
It’s five years since young Freddie quit the capital for Birmingham when Warwickshire handed him a place at their academy.
He insists it would have mad for him to turn down the opportunity of a cricketing career, even though it meant coping on his own in the big city.
Coleman said: “There’s huge amount of support. There’s a good batting set-up. So I have Tony Frost (as a specialist batting coach) and Dougie Brown’s also helped me out.
“But you get out what you put in. If you’re prepared to work, they’ll throw balls at you all day. You know if you want to get better, you have to practice more and more.
“We have a fantastic indoor facility with hundreds of machines. So when I started out at the Academy, they were testing us out from the very start, just to make sure we could make it as a pro at a first-class level.”
Coleman is, as yet, far from a fixture. Dislodging the redoubtable Varun Chopra or the Ireland captain Will Porterfield will be no easy feat.
And cementing a spot will prove even harder on those occasions when Bell and Trott are granted occasional leave from England.
Watching the elite at close hand, however, proved instructive.
“It’s how hard they work,” he affirms. “They train twice as hard as everyone else. It’s not just talent. They put in serious hours, not just on the field but in the gym. When everyone comes back from holiday, they’ve already been in there working.”
The top-order prospect admits he’s still learning his trade. But that hasn’t stopped him from setting out his target to one day follow in the footsteps of county coach Dougie Brown and swap a Saltires jersey for an England shirt.
He said: “That’s the ultimate. That’s the peak. It’s always where the goal is. But I don’t want to look too far ahead. I’m taking it step by step. Now it’s about establishing myself as a professional and putting scores on the board.”
A decent knock against an Aussie side that will be skippered by Test star Brad Haddin would do his reputation no harm as the Scots get what is assuredly a tougher examination than their usual four-day excursions against their fellow Associate nations in the Intercontinental Cup.
But Coleman said: “If we stick to our guns, the results are around the corner for us. You take what you can from these losses. But you put them behind you and get ready for these next few games.”
Mark Woods is cricket writer for Scotland on Sunday and the Sunday Mail – you can follow him on Twitter @markbritball