IAIN Wardlaw, Scottish cricket’s latest Tartan Tyke, last night thanked John Blain for the career-boost that has elevated him to international status.
The Yorkshire fast bowler has established himself in Scotland’s ODI side after qualifying last year through the ICC’s parentage rule.
However, Wardlaw, 28 today, might still be playing club cricket for unfashionable Cleckheaton in the Bradford League if Blain, another Scot who took the path to Headingley, hadn’t spotted his potential.
Wardlaw said: “John was second 11 coach and head of the Yorkshire Academy when he saw me playing club cricket.
“He asked me along for trials and was undoubtedly the main reason I got a foot in the door at Yorkshire. I was a bit of a late-comer to that level of cricket, but John really helped me develop my game and my confidence.”
Wardlaw is almost certain to share the new ball with ex-Warwickshire star Neil Carter when the Scots face Kenya in two must-win World Cup qualifiers tomorrow and Tuesday.
He added: “I’d have snapped your hand off this time last year if you’d offered me the chance to play for Scotland. It’s great to be involved and I’m determined to play my part in helping the team reach the World Cup. These are massively important games coming up and we will have to be at our best to get the wins we need.”
The Scots share third place with Afghanistan in the eight-team table from which two automatically progress to the 2015 global tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
A double success would take Scotland into second place but the Kenyans, just a point behind, also need two wins to keep their hopes alive.
With two matches away to leaders Ireland completing their qualification programme later in the summer, Scotland’s destiny is still in their own hands and coach Pete Steindl is determined to see his side take the first opportunity to join the elite Down Under.
A further two places will be available through a further qualifying tournament in New Zealand early next year, but Steindl said: “We want to get the job done as soon as possible.
“The importance of the matches against Kenya can not be under-estimated and we’ll be looking to deliver our best game when it matters most.”
Steindl will spend tomorrow putting his players through their final paces and considering the make-up of his side once he sees the Mannofield wicket.
Scotland: K Coetzer capt, R Berrington, G Drummond, M Haq, I Wardlaw, G Goudie, P Mommsen, C MacLeod, F Coleman, R Taylor, M Iqbal, N Carter, D Murphy, M Machan.
Kenya: C Obuya capt, A Obanda, T Mishra, R Patel, I Karim, D Allan, M Ouma, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Nelson Odhiambo, J Ngoche, H Varaiya, E Otieno, S Obado, R Aga. Ouma, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Nelson Odhiambo, J Ngoche, H Varaiya, E