Having led Scotland to this summer’s T20 World Cup, Doug Watson now gets to savour that experience for himself.

The South African enjoyed a fruitful period as interim head coach last summer, coming within a whisker of taking the team to the 50-over World Cup and them overseeing a perfect T20 Europe qualifying campaign on home soil to reach the finals.

The win over Ireland at the Grange in July was Watson’s final game in charge as he returned to New Zealand and his role as head coach at Auckland Aces.

That seemed to be the end of his involvement with Scotland but, with the post remaining vacant while Cricket Scotland appointed a head of performance, Steve Snell, to oversee the recruitment, the door always remained slightly ajar for Watson.

Now the 50-year-old is set to push right through it, returning on a permanent basis in April to help the squad prepare for that T20 World Cup in the West Indies that commences with the mouthwatering clash with England on June 4.

Watson’s previous stint in charge only lasted four months but it was long enough to make a significant impression, both in terms of results but also on his players who took to his easy-going but quietly determined manner.

“It’s exciting times,” said all-rounder Michael Leask of the appointment. “I thoroughly enjoyed having Doug on board the last time. He’s got a really good aura about him, the way he handles himself and the players is second to none.

“He’s passionate about what he does and he just wants so much for the team. He instilled a lot of trust in the guys to go on and do what we did last year.”

That sentiment was echoed by opening bat, George Munsey. “It’s been a long-term coming having a head coach in that role but for it to be Doug, who did such a good job for us in both qualifiers, is pretty special to be honest,” he added.

“As a group of players we know what to expect from Doug. It’s a pretty positive thing for myself and the group to have him on board.”

The England game in Barbados is already a game with massive appeal and Leask sees no reason why Scotland can’t pull off a shock in their group opener ahead of fixtures with Australia, Namibia and Oman.

“We’ve got a huge opportunity to qualify [for the Super 8 stage of the T20 World Cup],” said the Aberdonian. “We’ve got England first up. In the first game of a tournament everyone is on edge so why can’t we go and take down England and put a real stake in the ground?"

Just how far can this team go, then? “There are no real limits,” added Munsey. “We’ve got the skills in place to take down the biggest teams in the world. We’ve proved that in the past and we’ve still got a strong group alongside some new talent making their debuts. It’s an exciting time.”

One of Watson’s first commitments will be to take charge of the home World Cricket League [WCL] series, also against Namibia and Oman, in May.

Those games will be played at Forthill in Broughty Ferry, the home of Forfarshire CC where Leask plays his cricket.

“I’ve played there since 2015 and the club has worked incredibly hard to get this home series to happen,” he confirmed. “It means I get to stay at home and see my kids a bit more! And it will be nice for me to be able to play at my home ground and do them proud.”

Scotland are currently in the midst of their opening WCL2 series of the latest iteration of the tournament they won last year.

After a surprise opening day loss to Canada – the team’s first fixture since Watson stepped away – they rebounded with an eight-wicket win over hosts United Arab Emirates. They play both sides again before the end of the week as part of the prolonged qualifying process for the 2027 50-over World Cup.

“We hadn’t played for eight months so there is a bit of rust to shake off,” added Leask. “We didn’t play so well against Canada but in that last game the boys showed that fight and determination to go on and win.”

“It’s been quite a long time off,” admitted Munsey with typical candour. “It’s been a good holiday! But it’s too long and we were itching to get back out there. Some of us are getting slightly older and we want the opportunities to come consistently so we can learn as a team. You always feel like you’re starting again but now we’ve got a nice stretch of cricket coming up.”

For Leask, the match with Canada was a special day as he earned his 150th cap. “It was a massively proud moment for me,” he added. “It was 11 years in the making after making my debut in 2013 and then in and out the squad so often at the start, so we marked the milestone as a squad we always do on these occasions."