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12th July 2020 Features

Michael Jones talks playing for Scotland

Durham and Scotland batsman Michael Jones has already enjoyed his time on the international stage having represented Scotland eight times scoring three fifties in the process.

The national side were due to play New Zealand and Australia this summer before COVID-19 put a halt to those international matches and despite being the underdogs, Jones fully knows Scotland are up for the fight of playing against the bigger international teams.

“The Scotland team are on the rise and continue to impress. I think everyone saw the infamous victory over England last summer illustrating what the team are capable of. It’s a very talented and well drilled team led by former Durham player Kyle Coetzer and coached by Shane Burger, who since coming in has made a brilliant start, recently qualifying for the T20 world cup!

“Going forward, I hope to cement my place in the team and go on to win as many games as possible for Scotland. We are an underdog that shouldn’t be written off, and I can’t wait to put the Scotland shirt back on and score as many runs as possible in every format!”

Still only 22, Jones has had the opportunity to play international cricket live on Sky Sports – featuring against the West Indies at Harare Sports Club, Zimbabwe where Scotland narrowly missed out on qualification for the 2019 World Cup.

“My favourite moment for Scotland so far has to be walking out to bat against the West Indies live on Sky. To share the field with Chris Gayle felt like some sort of dream. With the top order being so strong, at the start of the tournament I was told it was unlikely that I would play any of the games.

“Whilst disappointed at the time, you can imagine it came as quite a shock to find out I would in fact be playing the last and most important game of the Qualifiers against the Windies!  We had to win the game to qualify for the 2019 World Cup. This was a strange day where I was delighted to be involved and desperate to do well, until the heavens seriously opened.

“The Scotland team fell victim to the weather with a monsoon like storm completely consuming the entire ground. It was probably the most euphoric start and most disappointing end to a cricket game I’ve ever experienced. The whole team were in dismay after coming so close to the illustrious 10 team qualification after playing an outstanding tournament. We were agonisingly close, it had to be us!”

Due to having a Scottish mum, Jones found himself able to qualify for Scotland. “With this in mind, my dad Peter and I, both sat down and wrote an email to Cricket Scotland to inform them of my proud Scottish heritage. Thankfully, they responded quickly, from here, they kindly invited me up to Uddingston for my first game, funnily enough against Durham Academy!

“Sadly, I wasn’t to have the dream start I was hoping for. I made an astounding 0 runs followed by watching a heavy amount of rain for the remainder of the game. Thanks for coming! From here, however, things did start to go my way. I went on to score a hundred against Yorkshire and was invited to a large squad training camp in La Manga, Spain. Here I was able to gauge the standard of training and quickly learn where I needed to be at and progress to. Being surrounded by quality players and excellent coaching, there were a lot of chances to bat and improve during that week.”

Jones earned his opportunity to play for Durham having stuck an impressive 173* for Scotland at Emirates Riverside.

“I have a lot to thank Scotland for. Not only for the opportunities to travel and play internationally, but also for the path that lead me to Durham Cricket! Early April usually hosts the traditional cold and wet Scotland ‘A’ versus Durham 2XI fixture.

“It was in one of these wonderful fixtures that I was selected to represent Scotland and produce a standout performance of 173*. I was invited for a trial at Durham the following week and continued to play most of the remaining season for them. I was offered a summer contract for the following year. When I was on the phone to Neil Killeen and Jon Lewis, I honestly couldn’t agree to everything fast enough. A fresh-faced eighteen year-old me wanted to tell everyone in sight who would listen! For those who have experienced it, a year of trialling around can be really tough. With the continuous travel, getting to know new faces and ultimately being determined to do well, that made the phone-call a very proud and happy moment!

“In the winter of 2017/18 I flew to Melbourne with my good mate TJ from college to play in Torquay, which was a very enjoyable place to be! I had an amazing time on and off the pitch. I was able to make some big scores during my time there, and was noticed by the Scotland selectors again. I was picked for a Tri-series due to be held in Dubai versus Ireland and the UAE. I was thrilled to be selected, of course, the only downside, however, was that my parents had just booked to come visit me in Melbourne!

“Fortunately I was given my debut against Ireland during that tour, where I went on to make 87 runs. I was proud of my effort, although there were definitely still lessons to be learned. It was here, though, that I discovered my love for 50 over cricket, especially in the UAE. A combination of flat wickets and a white Kookaburra ball make for, what could be referred to as, a batters dream”

“I am grateful to both Durham and Scotland for all the opportunities they have given me  so far. I’m extremely proud to represent both teams, and look forward to hopefully contributing to their future success.”

Feature Image: Emirates Cricket Board

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