Young cricketer James Dickinson has come on a lot as a player in the last 12 months and he could soon be set to kick onto the next level.
Having come through the ranks at Loretto School and Mazars Grange the leg spinning all-rounder was named captain of Scotland under-19 for the Cricket World Cup qualifiers in Jersey last summer.
Scotland, Denmark, Jersey an Ireland played each other in a double round robin to see who would progress to the main event in New Zealand this year.
In the end Scotland’s bid came to a heartbreaking conclusion in the final game against Ireland, but Dickinson and a number of his team mates emerged from the competition with real credit.
Last year Dickinson also joined up with the Academy set-up at professional county Leicestershire last year and, now in his second season at Grace Road, he has really kicked on.
He has been playing regularly for their second XI and learning from experienced players who have been there and done that while during April and May he has already turned out for Grange in the CSL Eastern Premier Division, the Eastern Knights and Scotland ‘A’.
And he has certainly caught the attention of the Cricket Scotland selectors, being in the provisional 24-man squad ahead of Scotland’s One Day International against England (June 10) and T20 Internationals against Pakistan (June 12 and 13) all in Edinburgh.
Whether Dickinson makes his full debut in any of those three matches is unknown as yet, but whatever the case is he certainly is one to watch in the years to come.
Dickinson, whose family live in East Lothian, go the cricket bug when he was at Loretto in Musselburgh and things went from there.
“We were lucky enough to play a lot of sports at school, but cricket was the one that grabbed my attention and we were lucky enough to have some very good coaches there,” the 19-year-old recounts.
“I also began playing for Grange and being able to train with the seniors, some of whom were Scotland caps, was really good for my development.
“At one stage I was playing a match for Scotland under-17 against Leicestershire under-17s and at the end of it their coach came up to me and said he was impressed by how I had played and offered me a trial down there.
“From that trial came the opportunity to join their Academy structure and I have not really looked back since.
“The qualifiers with the under-19s taught me a lot of lessons about being a captain and it was a very useful exercise.
“It was obviously tough to take at the end, but being in a pressure situation regularly and playing a high number of games in a short spell helped us to understand a lot more things going forward as individuals and as a collective.
“I have tried to take those learnings into 2018 and I am really enjoying the culture down here and there is a great coaching set-up to work with and learn from.
“There has been a lot of work put in by myself and [spin bowling coach] Carl Crowe and he has really helped me, I feel I have kicked on really focusing on my bowling with him. Scotland coach Grant Bradburn sees me a leg spinner so I am really working hard on that as well as trying to top up my batting so that I can become a genuine all-rounder.
“Playing with the second XI under new coach Tom Smith has been good too, we have had some good results. I just try and pick up as much from all the coaches around me as I can.”
As mentioned, Dickinson has also been playing some cricket north of the border and there is constant dialogue between Bradburn and the Leicestershire coaching unit to make sure he is getting the game time he needs to keep moving forward.
“I trained a bit with the full Scotland squad over the winter before they went to the World Cup qualifiers and found that really interesting,” he explained.
“To get some Knights and ‘A’ games in has been great and although the full Scotland team just missed out on qualifying for the World Cup I think, on the whole, all the members of the extended squad have dusted themselves down after that and have started the summer in great form.
“It is a very exciting time to link-up with the guys and to be in the provisional squad for June is really good, I am happy to be involved and the next step is to try and be involved against England and Pakistan.”
Scotland’s provisional 24-man squad for the June internationals: Kyle Coetzer, Richie Berrington, Dylan Budge, Scott Cameron, Matthew Cross, Josh Davey, James Dickinson, Michael English, Ali Evans, Michael Jones, Michael Leask, Ross Lyons, Calum MacLeod, Preston Mommsen, George Munsey, Mitchell Rao, Safyaan Sharif, Chris Sole, Tom Sole, Hamza Tahir, Craig Wallace, Mark Watt, Brad Wheal, Stuart Whittingham.
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