Scotland to play two ODIs against India 'A'

CRICKET Scotland hope two one-day matches against India 'A' will prove beneficial to the development of their players.

Cheteshwar Pujara, the Saurashtra batsman, will captain the India side on their visit to Glasgow for the matches at the Citylets Titwood ground on 23 and 25 June.

Their tour starts in England on 5 June with a three-day game against Yorkshire, then two one-day games against West Indies 'A' as part of a tri-series with the England Lions, before heading north for the matches against Scotland.

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The Indian party completes the tour back in England for the remainder of the tri-series, with the final scheduled for 8 July.

Cricket Scotland chief executive Roddy Smith said: "We were delighted to host a couple of full ODIs involving India three years ago, but there is no doubt that this India 'A' squad is full of talented cricketers of the future.

"We are very grateful to the ECB and the BCCI for agreeing to these important games in Glasgow. We are always keen to play the 'A' sides of the test countries and these games provide another important step in our players development."

Meanwhile, Ajmal Shahzad will begin to repay his father properly – for the lifelong work ethic he has instilled in him – if he makes his Test debut for England at Old Trafford this week. Shahzad has a favourite's chance of inching out his fellow Yorkshireman Ryan Sidebottom for a place in the team to face Bangladesh on the other side of the Pennines tomorrow.

The 24-year-old still recalls hours spent on extra study during his private-school education in Bradford, while his friends were out playing football, and a successful battle against the bulge as an overweight teenager.

Shahzad's studies resulted in nine GCSEs and four A-levels – and although he eventually had to choose cricket over his university career, and that of a badminton international too, he believes the discipline of his early years has helped him to the verge of Test cricket.

For that, he thanks his father Mohammed – a cricket enthusiast who has already seen his son make history as the first British-born Asian to play for his native Yorkshire.

"My dad's had to work very hard to put me through private schools, and I've put a lot of hard hours in," said the pace-bowling all-rounder. "When everybody else was out playing football at 13, 14, 15, I was doing homework and extra study.

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"It was tough, but I'm reaping the rewards now. I owe my dad massively. He's put a lot of effort and hard graft in.

"I hope I can repay him by making sure he can watch me play international cricket."

That is, of course, in an England 12 preparing to complete a 2-0 npower series victory.