Richard Coughtrie Blog from South Africa
Gloucestershire wicketkeeper Richard Coughtrie has supplied the first blog about his experiences with the Scotland squad this winter.
Richard is able to play for Scotland following a change in the rules governing qualification and left earlier this month for a tour of South Africa.
He writes: “After receiving numerous " McCoughtrie" jokes from both the lads in the changing room and on twitter, I headed to Heathrow Airport to join up with Cricket Scotland for the upcoming tour to South Africa.
“My father’s side of the family is Scottish and moved to Newcastle in the late 1970s before I was born. With my great grandparent playing cricket for Scotland, I had looked into the possibilities of playing international cricket whilst on the academy at Durham CCC.
“It wasn’t possible then, but recently the ICC changed the rules, allowing players not born in Scotland, but with Scottish parentage to play. It was an opportunity I was keen to pursue and I am very grateful to Gloucestershire CCC for being so supportive.
“I have played with and against a lot of the Scottish squad before and everyone has been very welcoming to the new lads coming in. We are based in Potchefstroom, which is about an hour and a half car drive from Johannesburg, staying at the sports village with some amazing facilities.
“The sports village is where Spain stayed during the football World Cup and the England rugby league team have been training here for the last two weeks. With all the hard work Chris Bodman does with us in the gym at Bristol, I thought I didn't look out of place when I joined them in the ice pool in the Gym... As you could imagine the lads' opinions differed!
“The cricket has been brilliant. Training sessions have been hard with a lot of fitness and fielding thrown in there alongside netting and middle practice. As we are at altitude, the ball travels further through the air and fitness sessions feel a lot harder!
“Our first two games were both T20s against the Highveld Lions and the Kolkatta Knightriders. Both sides were doing their final bits of preparation before heading to the Champions League T20 tournament.
“We pushed both close, but couldn't quite cross the line! We then played against the Northwest Dragons in a two-day game, I opened up and scored a half century in the second innings before one of the scariest storms I have ever seen hit us. You know it's a big one when the locals move their cars undercover to avoid the hailstones!
“Having played a three-day game, which saw us getting the opposition nine down as spin ripped through their middle to lower order, we had our second rest day. We headed to the Wanderers in Johannesburg to watch the Champions League and then headed to Ellis Park to watch the Currie Cup semi-final. Two World Cup final venues in a day was a great experience.
Follow me on twitter ( @rgcoughtrie ) for updates on the tour. I look forward to writing part two of this blog soon.”