Meet the U19s - Neil Flack
Ever since Scotland under-19s qualified for the upcoming ICC World Cup in Bangladesh way back in July last year captain Neil Flack has been counting down the days until the big event.
Greenock batsman Flack and his squad head out to Sri Lanka next Tuesday, January 12 for a couple of warm-up matches and then they will set off for Bangladesh on January 20.
Flack, 18, will the lead his men in Group A matches against Namibia (January 29), Bangladesh (January 31) and South Africa (February 2).
The love of cricket began for Flack when he was around six-years-old and he moved up north of the border from down south.
“My dad had always been keen on cricket and I had often gone down to his matches down south so when we moved up I was keen to start playing myself,” Flack explained.
“I must have only been around six-and-a-half at the time when I headed along to our new local club Greenock to get involved in a practice, but I remember Tony Judd was around there at the time and I just loved cricket straight away.
“I loved sliding about and fielding and as I got a bit older l concentrated a lot more on my batting and progressed through the age-grade sides.
“I starting playing for the senior third XI/development team when I was about 12 and then after a few games for the second XI was lucky enough to make my first XI debut aged 15.
“That was a big step-up, but the senior players around me helped me out and I knew I would need to be playing at that level if I wanted to push into Scotland age-grade teams.”
Flack, who is also a tidy bowler, actually missed out on selection after attending his first Scotland under-15 trial and that spurred him on to work even harder.
He was soon a key part of the under-15 squad and, like a number of his current under-19 team mates, has been involved with the 15s, 17s and 19s ever since.
“I have loved representing Scotland over the years and it has always been an honour,” the former Largs Academy pupil said.
“I have also enjoyed taking on the role of captaincy and I think I have learnt as I have gone along. I think, with experience, I now see the game a lot differently and I enjoy liaising with my team mates to make sure that we make the right decisions out there on the pitch.
“In this under-19s group we are a pretty close bunch and I think all of the different characters have come together well. The team spirit was shown in Jersey last summer in the qualifiers, especially in the last game when we had to defeat Ireland by a certain margin to go through.
“The guys really worked hard that day and as a captain it makes the job that bit easier when everyone is pushing in the same direction.
“I also like the different types of cricketers we have in the group as it gives me a lot of options when different situations come along.”
Since the qualifiers last summer Flack has been working as well as training hard with his under-19 squad under the tutelage of coaches Gordon Drummond and Cedric English.
They know that they will arrive in Bangladesh as underdogs, but Flack is certainly not one to take a backward step and he cannot wait to lead his side out at the competition.
“We are all so proud to have been chosen to represent Scotland in such a big tournament. We will need to get used to the different conditions out there pretty quickly and then we will be giving it everything we have,” he concluded.