Skilled Scots need to play more games says Paul Hoffman

Scotland legend Paul Hoffmann believes the current crop of international players could be the most talented this country has ever produced.
Kyle Coetzer plays a shot against Zimbabwe. The batsman was Scotlands top scorer with 61. Picture: SNS.Kyle Coetzer plays a shot against Zimbabwe. The batsman was Scotlands top scorer with 61. Picture: SNS.
Kyle Coetzer plays a shot against Zimbabwe. The batsman was Scotlands top scorer with 61. Picture: SNS.

But he showered sympathy on them for not being given the opportunities to prove his assertion.

And he called on the sport’s global chiefs to waste no time in creating a European League if Scotland continue to be denied competition down south.

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Hoffmann spoke out after watching the Scots crash to defeat in the second one-day international against Zim­babwe at Raeburn Place – just two days after they had ­created history by beating the tourists to grab their first ever Test nation scalp in an ODI.

The encounter also featured Hoffmann’s induction to the Cricket Scotland Hall of Fame.

And sadly it marked the end of Scotland’s big-stage season – even before the arrival of ­Midsummer’s Day.

Hoffmann said: “It must be very frustrating for this current squad to be deprived of the type of fixtures that I was able to play a decade ago. From what I’ve seen, this group are right up there with the squad we had in around 2004/2005, but how can they maintain momentum and improve when their international summer has already ­finished?

“Some of my most memorable days were the journeys to England playing in the limited over domestic competition against the counties. I challenged myself against Test stars and experienced county players. It was also about building team rapport on the road, sharing stories, laughs and reflecting on performances while racking up the miles.

“I would like to imagine there is a chance Scotland could re-join a domestic competition in England, whether it’s the T20 Blast or the One Day Cup.

“But do the ECB want Scotland involved and would it be financially viable? If that is not an option, then the ICC should be responsible for arranging more fixtures for Scotland.

“I’d like to see Scotland play Ireland and Holland more often in an official European League, with home and away games.

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“Something has to be done. This current team have a lot of ability and potential. It would be sad to see it go to waste through lack of action.”

Half-centuries by skipper Kyle Coetzer and Calum MacLeod should have been the foundation for a challenging home total. However, visiting captain Graeme Cremer wrought havoc with a spell of five for 29.

Chris Sole gave the Scots fresh hope by breaking through three times as Zimbabwe slid to 44 for three, but Sikander Raza (58no) and Ryan Burl (30no) guided them to glory.

Coetzer said: “At stages we had Zimbabwe massively under pressure but then we had quite a big collapse and we couldn’t put the total on board that we would have hoped.

“Beating Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe has been great – we’d have taken that at the start of the season.

“We’ve definitely put in a case to have more games against major nations. And if we do get those opportunities I’m sure we won’t be far away from competing.”