Under normal circumstances, Scotland’s men’s national squad would have just returned from Cricket World Cup League 2, hosted in Fort Lauderdale and contested between USA and UAE, and one man who had put his name back into contention for that trip before it was postponed was seam bowler Chris Sole.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus situation throughout the world, the International Cricket Council announced in mid-March that the World Cup League 2 fixtures set for Florida were off.
Sole, now 26, was in the mix to be part of head coach Shane Burger’s squad that was due to head to Fort Lauderdale following a great season with his club side the Strathdale-Maristians in Australia in recent times.
Having moved to the Southern hemisphere just over 18 months ago to play cricket and live with his partner in Bendigo, Victoria, it seemed like logistics and travelling would make it hard for Sole to be part of the international set-up which he had first joined in 2016.
However, the man who opened the bowling alongside Safyaan Sharif in his last ODI appearance in the famous win over England in June 2018 at The Grange, kept up dialogue with the Scotland camp from afar during 2019 and meetings over Christmas in Edinburgh were positive.
“I managed to meet up with head coach Shane Burger and captain Kyle Coetzer over Christmas time when I was back home with my partner seeing family,” Sole, who has 11 ODIs and four T201s under his belt and whose brother Tom also plays at a high level, explained.
“Since I moved out to Australia I didn’t think it was something that could be possible [being in the Scotland mix], but because Shane and Kyle were keen to try and make things workable going forward I would have been daft not to have another crack with my country.
“I was delighted to be asked over to a training camp in La Manga earlier this year and it was great to be amongst the boys again and in that environment, it gave me a real buzz.
“When I was out in Spain I was feeling good because I had managed to get a lot of overs under my belt in club cricket during the Australian summer and had managed to find quite a good rhythm.
“There was a real togetherness amongst the Scotland boys on that short trip ahead of what was set to be a busy 2020. We will just have to wait and see what happens now – and it would have been nice to have played against my old friend Ian Holland who plays for the USA – but I will keep in touch with Shane and Kyle from back over here in Australia and take things from there.”
There are good seasons and there are great seasons – and it is fair to say 2019/20 for Sole and the Strathdale-Maristians, known as The Suns, was a great one!
In total, they managed 23 wins from 25 games in three formats across five different competitions.
The first XI, with Sole a big part of the bowling attack, were successful in the Sir John Lienhop Shield and the Keck-Findlay Shield while they were also crowned Cricket Victoria Regional Big Bash champions and winners of the Northern Rivers Kookaburra Cup.
“We had a really successful summer over here and it was a great squad to be a part of,” Sole, who grew up playing his cricket for Merchiston Castle School, Grange and the Eastern Knights and has previously been on the books at English county Hampshire, stated.
“It is a cracking club to be part of and I am really enjoying my cricket and my life over here at the minute.”