EVEN at 36 years old, Kyle Coetzer’s enthusiasm for cricket remains undiminished. While no international action now looks likely for the entirety of 2020, the Scotland captain has been keeping himself occupied by turning out for his club, Benwell Hill.

Two months of domestic cricket in the north-east of England have helped ease the frustration of seeing Scotland’s jam-packed calendar for the year entirely wiped out, including a spot at the postponed T20 World Cup.

The hope is that Cricket Scotland will find a way to deliver a set of overseas winter fixtures to try to play catch-up ahead of a busy 2021 that ought to see some of the leading nations returning to Edinburgh for a sequence of glamour one-day matches ahead of that rescheduled World Cup – now set to take place in India rather than Australia – next October.

For the time being, however, Coetzer will make the most of the dwindling English summer simply doing what he loves.

“I’m going to be gutted actually when the season comes to an end,” he admitted. “We’ve all just got going again and it’s going to be cut short. But we’re all grateful just to have had the chance to play at all this year.

“I didn’t expect us to bowl a ball and that we would miss the entire season. So it was really nice to get out there. We obviously still had to be careful and manage all the regulations but we’ve had seven weeks of cricket and that’s been great.

“Initially it was a bit odd but the weather down here has been decent which has allowed for social distancing outside. And I’ve quite enjoyed taking our own lunches. You tend to eat a lot healthier without all the teas and cakes! It’s been a breath of fresh air in many ways.”

The gentler pace of life has even presented Coetzer with a chance to turn his arm over. The former Durham man hasn’t bowled for Scotland since March 2015 but joked that he would be making representation to coach Shane Burger to hand him the ball next year.

“I decided this year I would pass the captaincy on to someone else at the club which has allowed me the chance to step back a little and watch how players develop rather than being in the hotseat all the time making decisions,” he explained.

“The new captain then asked if I wanted to open the bowling as well as the batting so I’ve been throwing down a few wobblers and nipping the ball about.

“At least with league cricket the balls have a decent wide seam on them that gives me half a chance. The white Kookaburras have next to nothing. But I’ll certainly be saying to Shane to give me a nod next time we’re playing!”

Scotland’s last competitive match was a one-day international against the UAE in Dubai last December. That would seem the most likely venue for the team to get back playing again but only if travel and quarantine restrictions are sufficiently eased.

“It’s been a bizarre period but when we’re able to get games on again I suspect we’re going to have a pretty full calendar,” added Coetzer.

“We’ll go from nothing to a lot and that’s what we’ve always been asking for – a full calendar of cricket. It’s hard to say how or when we will restart as international travel is the tricky part. But I know the staff at Cricket Scotland are working as hard as they can to try to get things arranged.”

What also remains unknown is the lasting damage such an extended period of inaction might do to a sport like cricket. Coetzer admits he worries that people may drift away from the game but hoped enthusiastic volunteers would rally around to allow clubs all around the country to keep going.

“If people haven’t played at all this summer they might just decide they’ll just give it a miss next year as well. Maybe they take up golf or do something else.

“But I’ve seen how keen people down here were once we were allowed to play again and I’m sure that will be replicated at other clubs. Financially there will be holes in a lot of places but I hope the cricket community in Scotland will stick together and find a way to keep things going.

“Volunteers have always been vital to make sure clubs run and things go ahead and they are probably going to be leaned on even more. Everyone is going to have to put their hands up to ensure their clubs survive.”