Rachel Slater is relishing the prospect of being back out on the park chasing success with both the Northern Diamonds and Scotland over the next few months.

Left-arm swing bowler Slater is fit and firing again after a difficult and frustrating 2023, which saw her play only five competitive matches for club and country.

The affable and talented 22-year-old, who in the winter just gone spoke bravely and inspiringly about her battle with ADHD, spent some time away from the game at the start of last summer and then missed its second half through injury.

Her solitary appearance for the Diamonds came in July against the Southern Vipers at Arundel in a game which was rained off after 25.4 overs. Slater didn’t even take to the field.

That was her last act of the summer. 

But, now, things are looking much brighter for the Yorkshire-raised Scot, who could very well be looking back on 2024 as a career highlight given what lies ahead both domestically and internationally.

On Sunday, Slater flies to the UAE as part of a Scotland squad preparing to tackle the ICC’s T20 World Cup global qualifier event, which runs from April 25 to May 7. 

Rachel Slater

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Rachel Slater is targeting domestic and international success in 2024. 

Before then, Slater, regional team-mate Katherine Fraser and co will play a series of warm-up fixtures. All in all, it means the pair are likely to miss the summer’s first six Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy matches for the Diamonds.

“Timing wise, it’s not ideal in that I will miss the start of the season, but it’s a really good opportunity for myself and all the Scotland girls,” said Slater. 

“We’re really confident going into that tournament.

“It’s an exciting month ahead, and the chance to qualify for a World Cup (in Bangladesh later this year) is something that you can’t miss out on. It’s going to be really good.

“It’s the one event which everything moves around in the calendar, the one you look out for in the schedule. We know what’s at stake, and everyone is really excited. I can’t wait to get going, and it would be amazing if we qualified.”

Slater continued: “We have a lot of warm-up games, which is good to get us acclimatised because it’s going to be hot out there.

“It will just be good to hopefully play some games because I haven’t done that a huge amount lately.

Rachel Slater

Picture by Nathan Stirk – ECB via Getty Images. Rachel Slater on duty with the Northern Superchargers in 2022. 

“In a tournament like that, you don’t have time to ease into it. You have to hit the ground running. You have to find your form as a team and as individuals because losing one game can make things really difficult.”

Slater will then return to Headingley to get stuck into the pursuit of regional silverware, both in the Charlotte Edwards Cup and the RHF Trophy.

She will aim to add to the RHFT success of 2022, which she played her part in.

“It’s a massive summer,” she said. “As I said, it’s frustrating to miss the start with the Diamonds having not played at all last year for whatever reason. 

“The one game I was going to play got rained off just after the start, and then I got injured again. It was really frustrating, but that’s how it goes. 

“I took a bit of time off at the start of the season, but I would do the same a million times over. That’s how it works, and I’m just happy to be looking forward now.

“I feel in a good place both mentally and physically – I can’t wait to crack on with it.”

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Rachel Slater (back left) and her Northern Diamonds team-mates pose alongside the Yorkshire men’s squad at the club’s media day yesterday. 

Slater is an important part of an ever-changing Diamonds squad. 

When she debuted in 2021, she was a young pup amongst an experienced group.

Now, she is one of a host of young and emerging seamers.

“That first season I played, I was the youngest by quite a bit,” she reflected. “There was Katherine and Nat Sciver-Brunt, Beth Langston and Jenny Gunn.

“They were great to learn off. But, at the same time, it’s now nice to have a number of us younger bowlers in the same situation, all learning together and pushing each other on.

“We still have some good experience to learn from – Langers is one. But a balance is good.

“We’ve got a really good group across the board with the Diamonds, and we’re in a good place as a squad. It’s very exciting to see what we can do this year.”

Rachel Slater

Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com. Rachel Slater and wicketkeeper Bess Heath celebrate a 2022 Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy wicket.

Leigh Kasperek, a former Diamonds overseas player and Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy champion, will be an assistant coach with the Scotland squad in the UAE.

Sterre Kalis will also be playing in the same tournament for the Netherlands, but the top order batter will be available for the first two 50-over games of the summer before linking up with her country.

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