Saltires get one last chance, says coach Steindl

Batsman Neil Carter. Picture: Getty
Batsman Neil Carter. Picture: Getty
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PETE Steindl will give his players one last chance to earn a starting berth for Sunday’s tussle with Afghanistan when they play their final warm-up match today.

The Saltires coach watched his new-look team lose by seven runs to the UAE Blues in Sharjah then bounce back to thrash the same opposition in Abu Dhabi.

The action moves on to Dubai today when Steindl may again utilise the majority of his 15-man squad. It is a final chance to assess the balance of the side before the T20 double-header against the Afghans back at Sharjah.

The Scots appear to have an embarrassment of riches in the new-ball department, where Neil Carter, Safyan Sharif and Iain Wardlaw have all impressed.

Former Warwickshire all-rounder Carter marked his first appearance for the Scots by claiming four wickets in Sharjah, while Clydesdale’s Sharif was just as impressive in Tuesday’s match.

Yorkshire seamer Wardlaw, meanwhile, has bowled with genuine pace in both matches.

Steindl said: “The guys are making selection difficult, which is what I wanted. We have genuine competition for places and we may take a chance to look at most of the players again in the final warm-up game.

“Every one of the 15 squad members is working to an individual plan and we will continue to assess them all. A number of factors will come into consideration when we select for Sunday.

“We will have played on three completely different wickets so the conditions in Sharjah will be a factor. We have also been concentrating on next week’s 50-over matches as opposed to the T20s, which are first up.”

One area of concern for Steindl may the form of his top order batsmen, none of whom have made a major score. Kyle Coetzer and Matt Machan have both recorded half-centuries while Preston Mommsen hit 48 in the opening match but none went on to dominate.

Following the T20s, the Scots play the most important games of their tour on 6 and 8 March, when they face the Afghans again in the 50-over World Cup qualifying tournament.

• Fast bowler Kyle Abbott, who took nine wickets on his Test debut last week, has been added to South Africa’s squad for the one-day international series against Pakistan.

“Morne Morkel’s recovery from his hamstring injury is still a work in progress and we consider it prudent to provide extra depth to our fast bowling resources,” selection convener Andrew Hudson said in a Cricket South Africa statement.

Morkel’s injury also provided Abbott with an initial Test squad call-up and, when Jacques Kallis withdrew on the first morning, he was trust into the team.

Abbott’s seven for 29 in the first innings was the second best return on debut by a South African and he helped bowl his side to an innings win over Pakistan to complete a 3-0 series whitewash.

The five-match ODI series starts on 10 March.