Cricket: Saltires place emphasis on youth

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SALTIRES coach Pete Steindl last night called-up three youngsters for their senior debuts against Hampshire tomorrow.

However, Michael Leask, Matty Cross and Paddy Sadler will have to wait for their first caps after bosses downgraded the YB40 competition.

Steindl’s men are playing in English domestic competition for the last time after being excluded from next season’s new 50-over contest.

The Scots, many of whose first-choice players are with counties, will use this season’s competition as a breeding ground for emerging talent and will no longer award caps for matches against counties.

Steindl defended the decision to downgrade the games and insisted it will make a new generation of players hungrier to taste international action.

He said: “I’ve had a long-held belief that games against counties should not be cap games – simply on the basis that we are an international team. There is a clear distinction between ECB domestic competition when we play as the Saltires and one-day and first class cricket when we go in as Scotland.

“Not everyone agrees, and I know the timing is a bit unfortunate for the three new guys, but I believe it will motivate them to aim for the next level up. I am in no way saying that the county stuff is not important to us – it is hard cricket and it has had a valued place over the years. But our circumstances are changing and we need to use this season’s YB40 to give some of our young players a taste of this standard.” In addition to the newcomers, Warwickshire’s Freddie Coleman and Calvin Burnett, also inexperienced at this level, are included.

Sussex all-rounder Matt Machan may be drafted into the squad tonight if he is not needed by his county.

Steindl added: “The new guys have all had positive performances in the early weeks of the season and deserve their chance. There is a freshness in the dressing room and real sense of motivation that augurs well for the future.”

There is also experience in the squad with Gordon Drummond, who stood down as skipper on Thursday, included along with his interim successor Preston Mommsen.

Squad: P Mommsen capt, R Berrington, C Burnett, E Chalmers, F Coleman, M Cross, G Drummond, G Goudie, M Haq, M Iqbal, M Leask, C MacLeod, P Sadler.