It took an extended period away to make Andy Umeed realise how much he missed playing cricket.

The Glasgow-born batter looked to have a glittering career ahead of him after being capped for Scotland in 2015 and earning a deal with Warwickshire the following year.

Then came his release by the county in 2018, leading to a spell of existential uncertainty. Umeed moved to Australia, played some club cricket, worked in bars and restaurants, delivered furniture, and gradually began to form new life plans, resigned to never playing elite-level sport again.

The pandemic changed all that. Forced to move back to the UK, it took the onset of lockdown – and the suspension of things that had been taken for granted – to make him realise that cricket was something he needed back in his life.

Thanks to assistance from the South Asian Cricket Academy, co-founded by an old Warwickshire contact in Tom Brown, Umeed found a way back in. Somerset offered him a second chance and the former West of Scotland prospect grabbed it and has never looked back.

His run-scoring prowess at the top of the order was always likely to catch the eye of the Scotland selectors and so, nine years from his last international involvement, the 27-year-old returned to the fold and made his one-day international debut as the Saltires opened their World Cricket League 2 campaign against Canada last week, although a broken finger sustained in that match means he won't feature in the rest of this six-match series.

“This recall meant quite a lot,” he said. “It was a bit of a throwback, a bit of nostalgia after not playing for Scotland in almost 10 years. It was a really pleasing phone call to have and to hear that I was going to be back around the lads and pulling a Scotland shirt back on.

“It’s been quite a long journey [since that last appearance] pursuing county cricket in the early part, then having a few years away from the game then coming back in the last few years. It’s been one of those things where I’ve always been in touch with Cricket Scotland and had conversations but things never lined up along the way. But we’re here now, although unfortunately I broke my finger in the first game!"

That recall seemed unlikely even just a few years ago when the former Scotland under-19 cap was out in Australia, scunnered with cricket and life in general after being released by Warwickshire.

“When I left in 2018 there was obviously frustration, wondering if that was the end of the dream,” he recalled. “I went out to Australia to play a season of club cricket and things weren’t really clicking for me on and off the pitch.

“I just wasn’t really enjoying it and felt that I needed a break away when I got to the end of that summer out there. When I decided not to come back [initially] to the UK I didn’t think I’d play cricket again to be honest. I just wanted to move on and do different things, go out and see the world and see what else is out there. I was pretty convinced I wasn’t going to play cricket again.

“I had two years away until Covid forced me back to the UK and during lockdown was when I really started to miss playing cricket.

“It was very difficult to go from something I’d done almost every day of my life to not playing at all. I got the hunger and curiosity back to start playing again and it went from there. It was a difficult time. I had a good time away travelling but there were also a lot of highs and lows. But I’m definitely the better for it.

“Cricket was something that I’d done forever and life didn’t seem that complete without it. I’m glad that I’m back where I belong. It was good to have those new experiences and learn a lot from that but also see that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and have an appreciation for how good the cricketing lifestyle is and how fortunate a position I was in.”

It was last year when everything began to click with Somerset, with Umeed making centuries against Derbyshire, Glamorgan and Sussex. With Kyle Coetzer having retired, there is every chance this could be the reliable opening bat that Scotland have been crying out for. So what changed?

“It was a combination of various things,” he explains. “First and foremost I think I’m a better cricketer than I was previously. That’s one thing. Then getting the opportunity, getting that backing and a run of games and being told I was going to be playing.

“You need a little bit of luck along the way, plus a bit of maturity from being a bit older and understanding my game more, having more perspective in life. So quite a lot of things have come together at the right time which is really pleasing. There was a bit of time where I had to adjust but I got there in the end.”