A NEW era in Scottish cricket began yesterday with the naming of four English-born players in the squad to tour South Africa next month.
Richard Coughtrie (Gloucestershire), Matt Machan (Sussex), Rob Taylor (Leicestershire) and David Murphy (Northants) are included following a recent rule change allowing players with a Scottish parent to be picked. However, national coach Pete Steindl was at pains to point out that the quartet will have to prove they are worth a full cap, stressing that they will initially represent only a Scottish XI.
Steindl, who anticipates a mixed response to the new selection policy, said: “This tour is a fantastic opportunity for us to look at a few new players who could have something to offer.
“But it is not an official Scotland tour and no caps will be handed out. These will have to be earned and that is the message both to the new guys and more established players.
“The key for me is that we should have more competition for places. Competition prevents complacency and keeps everyone on their toes.”
A fifth Englishman, Yorkshire’s Iain Wardlaw, would also have been included but for county commitments in the T20 Champions League.
However, with eight regulars and possible new picks unavailable, the decision to include the county men was more straightforward. Skipper Gordon Drummond and most capped player Fraser Watts have work commitments and Kyle Coetzer is on honeymoon. Ewan Chalmers, Calvin Burnett and Craig Wallace are at university, as is Matty Cross, who may have been called up, while Matty Parker was not considered for fitness reasons.
Steindl added: “So many players were unable to tour for one reason or another. I’m sure the squad would have been different had we had full availability but I’m looking forward to working with the guys who are going.”
These include uncapped Stoneywood-Dyce batsman Michael Leask, the sort of home-grown player Cricket Scotland remain committed to producing.
Andy Tennant, Head of Performance, stated: “Cricket Scotland takes great pride in its teams having a majority of players who are products of our excellent age group and academy system. This will always be our aim. However, where we can supplement our squad with eligible Scots who have been developed elsewhere, we will.”
The 15-man squad leaves and their month-long schedule starts with a glamour T20 against IPL champions the Kolkata Knight Riders on 9 October.