Rachel Slater: Scotland reaching T20 World Cup is only start of our journey

Scotland seamer Rachel Slater believes her side’s historic T20 World Cup qualification is only “scratching the surface” of what the country could achieve.

Scotland finished runner-up at last week’s qualifier in Abu Dhabi to reach their first ever ICC global event, defeating Ireland in a head-to-head semi-final with everything on the line.

Captain Kathryn Bryce was named player of the tournament, while Slater finished as top wicket-taker with 11 scalps.

While sealing a spot in Bangladesh later this year is a seismic event for women’s cricket in Scotland, 22-year-old Slater insists even more is possible as the early steps into professionalism continue.

“Every one of us knew this was possible. We know we are good enough, so it was just about going out and doing it against Ireland in what was probably the biggest pressure game of our lives,” she told the PA news agency.

“The bigger picture is crazy because playing at a World Cup and being the first Scottish women’s team to do it, is what you dream about. As an associate nation we have to be realistic, but we have done this on limited funding and that’s testament to the players and staff we have.

“We try to be the best we can be but I think we’re just scratching the surface of what we can do. We’ve seen in England what giving girls access to full-time professional cricket can do. Hopefully that will come and this is something that can kickstart the process – more girls getting into cricket, more resources, more opportunities, more women’s clubs.

“I’m based in England and I saw the impact that winning the 2017 World Cup had, for us getting into a 10-team World Cup can be just as massive.”

Slater was born in New York to a Scottish mother and lives in Yorkshire, where she plays for Northern Diamonds.

Despite being courted by the United States national side she made her Scotland debut in January 2022, at which point she got to add her name to the Saltire flag which follows the team everywhere and bears the signature of every player who has worn the shirt.

It was with the squad in the United Arab Emirates, serving as both a reminder and an inspiration.

“Everyone who has ever been capped has signed that flag and it hangs in our changing room. Every name and cap number is on there and is part of this journey,” said Slater.

“What we achieved wouldn’t have been possible without those who came before and fought for women’s cricket. It’s years and years of hard work and I feel so privileged to help get this side to a World Cup. It might have taken a while but we are going to go out there, compete and show the world what Scotland can do.”

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