RACHEL SLATER must be starting to wonder if it just isn’t meant to be. After a lost year given up to injuries and a voluntary break from cricket, it is an unforeseen Dubai deluge that has prevented the left-armer bowler from getting back properly into the swing of things so far this month.

Those record-breaking downpours across the UAE saw Scotland’s T20I warm-ups against the hosts and the USA both cancelled, with the Netherlands providing the opposition for a hastily arranged alternative on Friday.

Should the weather gods continue to play ball, the Wildcats will next face Ireland today and then Zimbabwe on Tuesday in additional friendlies ahead of the start of the real stuff, the T20 World Cup Qualifier that gets underway against Uganda on Thursday.

That is one of the main drivers that have drawn Slater back to the international fold after playing just five times for club – the Northern Diamonds – and country in 2023. Scotland have never qualified for a World Cup and face an uphill battle to get through this one – only two of the 10 participating teams reach the finals – but Slater sees it as an opportunity.

“This is the event in the calendar that everyone looks for,” says the Yorkshire-raised player who qualifies through her Scottish mum. “There can’t be many better feelings than getting to represent your country at a World Cup.

“We’ve played a decent amount of games since the last qualifiers so we feel in a good place as a squad. You can’t think too much about the big picture, just take it game by game and play your cricket. If you think that the World Cup is on the line in every game then you’re putting too much pressure on yourself. It’s important to take it game by game. But hopefully I can help the team get to a World Cup.”

There was a time last year when Slater wondered if she might ever play again at all. Dealing with ADHD – she spoke bravely and candidly about it towards the end of last year – and juggling the demands of professional sport, she stepped away from cricket for a a bit of a breather. It has been the mental reset she felt she needed.

“I’d do the same thing 100 times over,” confirms the 22-year-old. “Timing-wise I ended up missing half the season then got injured and missed the second half so I missed a year of cricket pretty much. But if I hadn’t done that I’m not sure if I’d be here now or even still playing.

“There are more important things in life than cricket. We’re seen as cricketers but we’re people too and we can’t go out and play cricket well if we’re not taking care of ourselves. It was for the better and I’m glad I did it.

“When we’re away [on tour], it’s important just to be able to get away from cricket at times. It’s difficult enough at home when you’re going back to your house every night but you’ve got your friends away from cricket. When you’re on a tour you’re all together on the coach and back at the hotel and it can be cricket, cricket, cricket. It’s just about having ways to get away from it at times, seeing the place you’re staying at and being able to relax with your teammates. That’s really important.”

Returning to the squad for the start of this busy if now weather-interrupted campaign in UAE felt like a reunion in a way but Slater doesn’t feel like she’s under any pressure to perform.

“It’s good to be back out here and with the team,” she adds. “I feel like I’ve not been with them for a while. I know what I’m capable of and what I can bring to this team. I don’t necessarily feel that I have to go out there and do anything different to what I know I can.

“I feel in a good place physically and mentally with my cricket. I’m still confident. I don’t feel like I need to prove myself to anyone. It’s just a case of letting your cricket do the talking really.”

Born in New York as one of triplets and raised in Yorkshire, her Scottish roots have also been important from a young age thanks to her mum from Giffnock.

“You probably can’t tell by my accent!" she laughs. "But we’re pretty close to my mum’s side of the family. My cousin Mitchell [Rao] also got capped for Scotland a while ago so it’s something we’ve always been aware of and close to. My family is really pleased that this opportunity has come about for me and I’ll try to make them proud.”