SAFYAAN SHARIF’s first day at training with the Edmonton Royals may feel like an intrusion into personal grief.

Among his team-mates for the latest edition of the Global T20 Canada that starts in Ontario on Thursday will be Jimmy Neesham and Kane Williamson, New Zealand’s star all-rounder and captain respectively.

Having come so close to winning the recent World Cup only to lose in the final by the finest of margins, Sharif hopes the pair will look to take out any lingering frustration over that loss to England at Lord’s with both bat and ball over the next few weeks.

It says so much about modern cricket that there is little off-season for disappointed players to wallow in self-pity. A year-long itinerary means there is always an opportunity to turn out somewhere in the world and Sharif, the Scotland fast bowler, is happy to be joining the stellar Kiwi pair in Canada.

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to play in a big tournament like this one,” said the 28-year-old who trapped Mark Wood leg before wicket last summer to clinch Scotland’s famous win over England at the Grange.

“I can’t wait to get out there to show what I can do. It’ll be brilliant to play with some of the biggest names in cricket, guys who have operated at the highest levels and in key pressure situations. I hope I can learn a lot from them while I’m out there from a mental perspective and see how they cope with game after game.

“Jimmy and Kane reaching the World Cup final with New Zealand says a lot about their mentality and will to win. They were so consistent throughout the whole tournament and came so close to winning.

“I had a bit of sympathy for New Zealand as it was such a breath-taking final; one of the best games I’ve ever watched. England had a bit of luck on the day but they’ve worked towards that moment for the last four years so maybe they deserved it.

“I just hope Kane and Jimmy come to Canada now and get it out of their system by hitting a few sixes and taking some wickets! This is what the game is about now. They’ve just played in the World Cup for six or seven weeks and now they’re straight into a major T20 tournament.”

No Scots were selected for the 2018 edition of this event so it may be a reflection of the growth of the game in this country that Sharif will be joined by five other Scots in Brampton; team-mate Richie Berrington, Kyle Coetzer, Calum MacLeod, George Munsey and Matthew Cross.

With Scotland set to take on Papa New Guinea and Oman next month in Aberdeen at the start of the long journey that could lead to a place at the next 50-over World Cup in 2023, Sharif hopes that having more players involved in elite events such as this one can help the national team’s prospects.

“It’s great to see so many of the lads getting picked to play in these T20 leagues,” he added. “It’s great exposure for them as there are a lot of big names going to Canada and there will be a lot of focus on the competition all around the world. Richie and I are in the same team so it will be good to see a familiar face at least!

“As a country we are progressing but we still need to win a few more big games to take us to the next level. There’s a lot of hard work ahead but if as many players as possible can get experience of big matches and tournaments then it can only help.

“The final of the T20 in Canada is just a few days before the start of the next Scotland camp but as players that’s what we need and want – to have a consistent run of fixtures and to be playing regularly.”

Travelling the world playing sport may sound an idyllic career but there is often a sacrifice to be made. With a two-year-old son and Sharif’s wife expecting again in the winter, it can be difficult.

“You need to be mentally strong to do this and that’s still something I’m trying to get used to,” admitted Sharif, who first represented Scotland in 2011. “I’m a family guy and it can be hard at times juggling everything. But I have great support back home and that means the world to me. I just want to do my family proud.”