Scotland audition the new generation
Jon Coates, The Scotsman
Scotland will continue to audition the next generation of cricketers with the selection of Qasim Sheikh, Omer Hussain and Simon Smith for next week's Intercontinental Cup match against United Arab Emirates in Ayr.
The inclusion of Sheikh and Hussain, both 22, means the door remains closed on Gavin Hamilton, who might have played his way into contention for the one-day international against Pakistan on 1 July had he been recalled to face UAE over the four preceding days at Cambusdoon.
Barring a player shortage, Hamilton seems unlikely to appear in the selectors' thoughts this summer, although Dougie Brown, five years his senior, has a strong chance of making the ODI side. Scotland might need the veteran all-rounder's experience to offer Pakistan a stern test ahead of the tourists' glamour meeting with India in Glasgow on 3 July.
Beforehand, the first-class match against UAE from Wednesday offers the best of Peter Drinnen's Scotland A players a rare chance to build a long innings at international level.
Clydesdale captain Sheikh is averaging 33.75 after four games in the 2nd XI County Championship, the vast majority of his runs coming in the matches against Lancashire and Yorkshire, when he led the team. Sheikh and Hussain could both be accommodated in the I-Cup team if conditions in Ayr dictate that Paul Hoffmann or Ross Lyons can be left out.
Grange's Simon Smith will keep wicket after his namesake, Colin, was told he was no longer required for the eight-team worldwide round-robin, which unfolds over the next 18 months. The A players were given the week off this week after their match with Leicestershire, due to start today, was called off due to a flooded pitch. The Hinckley match has been rescheduled for 5-7 September.
Hoffmann, 37, has been rewarded for his recent form despite retiring from county cricket, while Lyons continues to deputise for fellow left-arm spinner Glenn Rogers, who is hampered by work commitments next week but will pull rank against Pakistan.
Durham are thought to be unhappy about the mandatory release, under ICC rules, of Kyle Coetzer for Scotland's one-day internationals. Now a prominent first-team batsman, Coetzer will face no quandary a week on 1 July because Durham have no match that day. However, when the Scots fly to Dublin to face West Indies on 12 July, he would miss a championship match if he chose to play for his country, and might jeopardise his county place in the process.
Chris Gayle has been named captain of the West Indies one-day team that will take on Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands in Dublin.
Scotland (v UAE, Intercontinental Cup, 27-30 June, Cambusdoon): R Watson (c), J Blain, M Haq, P Hoffmann, O Hussain, R Lyons, N McCallum, D Nel, Q Sheikh, S Smith, F Watts, C Wright.
West Indies squad: C Gayle (c), D Bravo, S Chanderpaul, F Edwards, R Morton, D Powell, D Ramdin, R Rampaul, A Richards, D Sammy, M Samuels, L Simmons, Devon Smith, Dwayne Smith.