Worcestershire CCC Academy player Olly Davidson is back behind his school desk after enjoying an excellent ICC Under-19 World Cup with bat and ball for Scotland in the West Indies.
The 17-year-old seized the opportunity to open the batting after being asked by the Scotland coaching staff following the unavailability of a player due to a COVID-19 setback.
He ended as his country’s second highest scorer and did not look out of place in games against leading nations including Sri Lanka, West Indies and Australia.
Davidson also showed his capabilities as a slow left armer and finished as Scotland’s joint leading wicket-taker.
It was great experience and a massive learning curve for the Edinburgh-born player who is in his first year as part of the full Worcestershire CCC Academy intake.
His immediate priority is to catch up with school work that was largely put on hold when in the Caribbean ahead of exams in the summer.
But Davidson is also focusing on making strides forward with his cricket career and he takes encouragement from another Worcestershire slow left armer in Josh Baker.
The pair played together for the Academy in 2021 before Baker’s progression in the Seconds and then senior side at New Road.
Davidson said: “It was good to get out there and having a month of high level cricket was enjoyable. It was a great learning experience and, playing against such high athletes of my own age, gives me that bearing of how hard you have to work and train to get to that next level.
“Going into this summer, it helps because now I know how much I have to work to get to that level but it gives me confidence because I know my skills. It’s just a case of getting back into it now for the summer and refining all those little details to get to the highest level I can really.”
Davidson was all too willing to move to the top of the batting order.
He said: “Our main opener sadly went down with COVID just before we left. The coaches were trying to find someone and said to me ‘we know you’ve got a good solid technique, wondering if you want to open’.
“I’ve done it before school and I said I would take on the role. It didn’t go too well in the first game in the warm-ups but after that it all came together.
“I enjoy batting anywhere, wherever I can help the team out, but opening as always been one of those things that I see myself as being able to do.
“When the chance came, I said there is no point in saying ‘no’ and, if it doesn’t work out, then they can change things, but thankfully it went okay.”
Davidson showed a resilience and determination against the new ball before attempting to accelerate.
He said: “When I play under pressure, I almost feel like I play better because it puts a bit of a price on my wicket and, when I’m bowling, it’s the same.
“I enjoy that high pressure environment where, if I don’t perform, it puts a little burdening on the team and I’m happy I did it.
“With my bowling, I kept my consistency well, and I still got wickets. Sometimes I didn’t feel I bowled as well, but I still was happy with my overall performance.”
Davidson says he would like to be seen and develop into a fully fledged all-rounder.
He said: “I’ve always seen myself as an all-rounder although I’ve never really had that main opportunity to show it. But I’ve put that in stone that I can be a genuine all-rounder if a team needs me to be, which I’m happy about moving forward.”
Davidson, the second youngest member of the Scotland squad, has been impressed by the progress made by Baker with Worcestershire.
He said: “Looking at Josh, he has had that breakthrough year, and I’ve seen how hard he has worked this past few years.
“I’ve seen that progression and, even though he is near my age, I still look up to him and it’s something I want to do, push through the ranks as much as I can.
“At the start of last season, we played quite a few games together with the Academy and then he pushed through and had a really good season.”
“Does it give you hope if you perform well the same could happen to you? I hope so. If I perform the way I want, to the standard I think I can, then of course. It all depends on there being a space for me. It is something I want to try and push forward to.”
Davidson’s next target international-wise is the full Scotland squad.
He said: “For me, I really want to focus on Worcestershire this year now that the Under-19s has finished.
“Scotland wise, that (the full squad) is probably the next goal, but I’m still looking to cement my place down here at Worcestershire.
“It is still only my first year on the Academy and I have a point to prove.”
Davidson admits Worcestershire Rapids captain, Moeen Ali, is one of his cricketing heroes.
He said: “Moeen is a genuine all-rounder who has played all three formats for England.
“He is someone I’ve always looked up to, and want to get to that standard, and him being a Worcestershire player helps.
“It would be good to get a chat with him.”
Davidson began his cricketing career with Worcestershire Under-10s and Under-11s and is now back at New Road
He said: “I started with Worcestershire and then my brother was playing for Warwickshire and so I moved there and then, at Under-15 level, I had to choose between playing for Scotland, and captaining their Under-15s, or Warwickshire so I moved and, just recently, I came back to Worcestershire.”
But for now the focus is on school work.
He said: “It’s not been too bad getting back into it. I’ve got the work I missed, and I’ve had to try and catch up with that month away, and also keep up with the work going on now.
“I had to do some school work when I was away but they were happy for me for me to park my school work and focus on my cricket.
“They have over the years been understanding of how much time cricket takes, and been happy to give me time off whenever I need it.”