Scotland women’s player Megan McColl recently finished her second year at Edinburgh Napier University studying sport & exercise science – now her focus for the summer is on cricket, starting with the big games in Ireland over the coming days.
Under new Head Coach Mark Coles, the team will be playing their first international matches for a long time with four T20I clashes due to be played against the hosts in Belfast on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Having made the breakthrough into the international team aged 18 back in 2019, Arbroath Cricket Club-reared McColl was as frustrated as anyone to see no Scotland matches being played in 2020 due to the pandemic, but she has refocused and is exciting for the next few months.
“It will be so good to get some competitive cricket in again, I cannot wait,” the 20-year-old explained.
“I feel like I learnt so much in 2019 when I was around the Scotland set-up and I just tried to take as much knowledge as I could from the more experienced players around me at the time.
“There is no doubt that being involved in games at that level were a big step-up for me having just come from age-grade cricket, but they gave me a reference point and something to build from and I think I am more mature now and feel comfortable being around the Scotland squad.
“I know the levels that are expected from me now on a regular basis and I want to hit those every time that I take to the field for the national team.”
Before the pandemic came, McColl would have described herself as a bowling all-rounder, but she has worked very hard on her batting in the last year or so and wants to chip in and help the team when required in that regard too.
“In the time we had out from playing matches, I made sure that I did a lot of work on my batting and we have had some games recently for Scotland ‘A’ down in England where I have been given the opportunity to bat higher up the order,” she explains.
“I have relished that responsibility and I want to show people that I am a proper all-rounder and not just a bowler, hopefully I can help the team in Ireland when it comes to that too.”
Training-wise, McColl has been working with Coles on a one-to-one basis and attending Scotland squad training in Edinburgh of late while, before her exams finished, she was putting in work within the Cricket Scotland Performance Academy at Napier’s Sighthill campus.
As restrictions have continued to ease in the last couple of months McColl, who is also a keen football player, has also been training more with the Arbroath CC senior section.
“That has been good for me and I have been able to learn from club coach Matthew Parker [a former Scotland men’s cap] and others in that environment and I was pleased to be able to make my first XI club debut in a friendly against Forfarshire,” she said.
“I grew up learning my cricket at Lochlands so to play for the top team was really nice for me and the fact that the club has recently installed a female changing room shows how seriously they take women’s cricket.
“There are a number of young girl playing in the junior section at Arbroath now and the club is very inclusive and supportive which is really good to see and makes me proud.”