He’s just 20, but Tom Mackintosh has packed a lot into his fledgling cricket career to date – and now he’s focused on earning a full Scotland cap during the tour of Nepal.
Scotland have flown to Kathmandu, where they’ll play their final ICC Cricket World Cup League Two ODIs in the 2019-2023 cycle against the hosts and Namibia.
They’ve already secured their place at the World Cup qualifier in Zimbabwe in June but intend to finish the CWCL2 campaign – and Head Coach Shane Burger’s reign – on a high.
“The tour to Namibia before Christmas was my first with the full squad and it was all very new to me, but it was a great experience,” said Tom, who currently plays for English county side Durham, whilst studying Real Estate and Surveying at Edinburgh Napier University.
“I didn’t play on the trip, but I loved just being around the squad and watching how the guys went about their business on matchdays and in training. By doing that I could see just how and why so many of the members of the group have a lot of caps to their name and I tried to learn as much as I could from that.
“There is a lot of cricket to come in 2023, so this trip to Nepal is the perfect way to get things started and hopefully I can earn my first cap, which would be special.
“It’ll also be good to have other young guys like Jack Jarvis and Liam Naylor on the tour and it shows people that there is talent coming through in Scotland to compliment the core Men’s squad that is already in place.”
Born to a Spanish mother and a Scottish father, Tom spent the first few years of his life in Madrid, before an 18-month stint on the outskirts of London. Yet he wasn’t exposed to the sport of cricket until his family moved to Johannesburg in South Africa.
“That was definitely the time when I picked up the sport, it was everywhere in South Africa and all of the youngsters that I was around were playing it,” he recounts.
“I just really enjoyed the sport from then onwards and when we moved to Edinburgh in my early teens, I was keen to keep the sport going through my high school years and thankfully I was able to do that.”
From his early days at Merchiston Castle School in the capital it was clear that cricket was Tom’s game and as early as April 2017, when he was just 14, he was heading off to Sri Lanka on a first XI tour.
“That was an amazing experience,” he explained.
“Between my cricket at Merchiston and joining Grange I was getting plenty of training and matches under my belt as I tried to develop as a wicketkeeper and as a batter at that time.
“I played a game or two for Scotland at under-15 level and then played a lot for the under-17s and the under-19s as I got older.
“Along the way, playing for the Grange senior XIs as I was learning about the game was very helpful because the club had a lot of experienced players around who were always willing to help.
“A highlight for me was helping the first team reach the Scottish Cup final in 2018 by hitting the winning runs in the semi-final, which was an incredible feeling.”
In that semi-final at Portgower Place against Ferguslie, Mackintosh, only 15 at the time, hit a six, a two and a four in the last over of the match to see Grange dramatically progress by three wickets. They then went on to lift the Cup by defeating Heriot’s in the final.
With performances like that, it was perhaps no surprise that Tom was starting to draw attention from a wider audience and, around the same time, he began to be involved with the Durham Academy.
Over the next few years, he would bring all of the experiences of school cricket, club cricket, with Durham and two under-19 World Cups in South Africa and the West Indies together to help him push on.
Last July that culminated in him making his first-class debut for Durham against Derbyshire and, as he continues to balance his cricket and studies, the future looks bright for level-headed Tom.
“I’m learning all the time with my game, and I really could not have two better squads to learn than the Scotland one and the one at Durham,” he said.
“County cricket can be fairly unforgiving, and you don’t have long to dwell on one match before the next, but the guys at Durham have really helped me with that and I am just going to keep working hard and will try and take my chances when they come along.”