Calum MacLeod became the hero of Scotland after his 140 set up a stunning six-run win over England on Sunday.
MacLeod’s innings against the No1 ranked ODI team not only sent shockwaves around the world but also proved that teams like Scotland who are outside the Test fold can compete against the big boys in white-ball cricket.
So, who is MacLeod? Here’s all you need to know about the 29-year-old batsman:
EARLY DAYS AS A FAST BOWLER
At the beginning of his career, MacLeod was a fast bowler with Warwickshire. His action was reported by the umpires during Scotland’s ICC Intercontinental Cup match against Canada in 2009.
After re-configuring his game, MacLeod shifted his focus to batting and has now amassed 3,079 in one-day cricket, 1,867 in T20s and 904 in first-class cricket.
SUCCESS IN ODIs
MacLeod holds the record for most centuries scored in ODIs by batsmen outside the Test fold. In 57 ODIs, he has scored scored 1,853 runs at an average of 37.81 with seven centuries and six fifties.
That puts him ahead of Netherlands’ Ryan ten Doeschate (five centuries), Scotland’s Kyle Coetzer (four) and Kenyan legend Steve Tikolo (three). The buzz MacLeod’s swashbuckling innings on Sunday generated was massive and such was its impact that the batsman has now been signed up by Derbyshire for the T20 Blast.
MacLeod has another record to his name. He is the first Gaelic speaker to appear in a Test match after he came on as a substitute fielder for England in the during the Birmingham Test of the 2009 Ashes.
“Calum is as Scottish as you can get but appearing in England colours was definitely a dream come true. He has already played for Scotland against England. However, to be involved in front of a capacity crowd and millions of TV viewers was great,” his father Donald was quoted as saying at the time.
The 34-year-old has only recently returned to competitive cricket with Hampshire in the Royal London One-Day Cup after suffering a freakish injury during the first Test against India in January this year.
That Test was Steyn’s comeback to international cricket after more than a year out due to a shoulder injury suffered in the series against Australia in 2016.
“It is very welcome news to have Dale back in our pack of world-class seamers, particularly in view of the retirement of Morne Morkel,” Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) National Selection Panel convener Linda Zondi said on Monday after the announcement of the 15-man squad.
There was also some good news on the fitness front for Kagiso Rabada, with the young pacer now having completely recovered from a lower-back injury which ruled him out of the IPL this year.
“Kagiso Rabada has also made a complete recovery from the injury concerns he had at the end of the Australia Test Series,” Zondi said.
Wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi has been given a Test recall while uncapped leg-spinner Shaun von Berg has been included in the squad too.
“A key factor in our selection process was to cover all our bases and all possible conditions that we may encounter in Sri Lanka. The two additional spinners to back up Keshav Maharaj have both had excellent records in recent times in our domestic cricket. Von Berg also gives us additional batting strength in the lower order,” Zondi stated.
“Heinrich Klaasen is the other uncapped player although he has been part of our squad for some time. He provides wicketkeeping cover for Quinton de Kock and is also a contender for a specialist batting position,” he added.
South Africa will play two Tests in their tour of Sri Lanka with the first of them getting underway at Galle on July 12.
SOUTH AFRICA 15-MAN SQUAD
Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Lungisani Ngidi, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Shaun von Berg.
The pacer bowled some absolutely ripping spells in the premier T20 competition and picked up 20 wickets in 14 matches for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
While crediting RCB bowling coach Ashish Nehra for his successful IPL, Umesh has also thanked skipper Virat Kohli for giving him the freedom to go for the kill.
“Any performer is happy when he successfully executes his plans. I am really happy with my performance in the IPL. It was unfortunate that we could not make it to the play-offs but it was one of my best IPL seasons,” he said in an interview with the Press Trust of India.
“Virat had one clear instruction for me. Go for the kill. He told me ‘get me the wickets and do not bother about getting hit’. I did as my skipper told me,”
With the IPL now over, all of the attention will switch to the tour of England where India are slated to play five Tests against the hosts.
With Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami all jostling for positions in India’s pace battery for the series along with Yadav, Kohli is bound to have some selection headaches.
However, the 30-year-old right-arm quick is only focusing on doing his job if called upon by the Indian skipper.
“We are five pacers – Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar), Bumrah, Shami, Ishant and myself. So it’s a happy headache for the team management – the coach and the captain to pick the best amongst us. I am personally in a very good head space after IPL. My job is to be ready and captain and the head coach have their job,” Yadav said.
“We are a close-knit group and even when Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar) or Jassi (Bumrah) do well, I am proud of their achievements. My job is to be battle ready for the season ahead and I am doing just that,” he added.
India’s tour of England will start on July 3 with the first of the three T20Is. That will be followed by a three-match ODI series before the attention shifts to the Tests which conclude on September 11.