Scots cricket chiefs rage as rule robs them of star

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FURIOUS Scotland officials have branded the International Cricket Council’s qualification rules “ridiculous” after a star player was barred from a vital tournament.

Ruaidhri Smith was born in Glasgow and played for Scotland at last summer’s under-19 World Cup. He also made his senior Saltires debut earlier this season. However, the Glamorgan all-rounder has been deemed ineligible for next month’s U19 qualifier when the Scots hope to reach the 2014 World Cup. But, if Scotland make it to the global tournament, Smith would be allowed to play in the main event.

Cricket Scotland chief executive Roddy Smith said: “This rule is clearly ridiculous. The U19 qualifier is rated a development event by the ICC and, as such, players must meet certain development criteria including a requirement to play a percentage of cricket in their domestic leagues. Clearly Ruaidhri can’t do that as his family moved to England when he was very young.

“We applied for an “exceptional circumstances” exemption on the basis that Ruaidhri has already represented Scotland at last year’s U19 World Cup.

“The ICC acknowledged this but basically told us ‘rules are rules’.”

South African-born Kyle Stirling, who only arrived in the country in January, is eligible because he has Scottish parents and Smith added: “In fairness, I think the ICC realise there are anomalies in their qualification rules. We don’t think the development criteria should apply to a player who was born in the country. It is also ridiculous that different eligibility rules apply to the qualifying event and the main World Cup itself.”

An ICC spokeswoman said: “The Development Criteria apply to a range of ICC Development events. Therefore only players that meet the Development Criteria can participate in the upcoming ICC Europe U19 Regional Qualifier.

“Although Mr Smith played for Scotland in the U19 Cricket World Cup in 2012, he does not meet the Development Criteria and therefore is unable to participate in this Regional Qualifier.”

Scotland U19 coach Craig Wright said: “Ruaidhri is a high-calibre player and any side would miss him but we just have to get on with it and make sure we qualify.”