Infant promise from rotting carcass
Jon Coates (The Scotsman)
Statistically, Gavin Hamilton's tenure as Scotland captain makes for grim reading: seven wins in 30 games in the 20-over, 40-over and 50-over formats.
Gordon Drummond, who will be officially handed the reins this week, has led an unbeaten team to the top of the standings in the first-class Intercontinental Cup, narrowly losing his first one-day international last week to the Netherlands.
But the other kind of results, concerning not victories but true signs of progress, headlined Hamilton's job description when he inherited charge of a team who had just made a mess of qualifying for the World Cup, and which was about to be beset by retirements.
Where lay a rotting carcass now we find a body of infant promise. Kyle Coetzer's half-century was the only evidence of the new generation's abilities to impress itself upon English eyes on Saturday, but Andrew Strauss and Stuart Broad are hardly yardsticks by which to measure saplings plucked fresh out of SNCL grow bags.
"There are definitely signs there that the younger guys are becoming established and having more influence on games. We had five CB40 games earlier in the season and Richie Berrington did fantastically well with three fifties," said Scotland's veteran wicketkeeper/batsman Dougie Lockhart after the seven-wicket loss to England.
"He missed out today but that's cricket Ė as a batter, bowler and fielder Richie is an outstanding cricketer. Matty Parker didnít play any of the CB40 games but bowled and batted fantastically well in Holland; he didnít have his best day today but he's going to be a proper all-rounder for us.
"Gav has obviously been around for a long time and been a great servant for us. He took over from Ryan just after the World Cup and he's a very passionate and inspirational guy who leaves nobody in any doubt what he expects of them.
"Hamilton chose a big occasion for his valediction, but it was delivered in a curious manner. Half-an-hour after he had explained his reasons to the media, Lockhart and others arrived to talk to journalists and knew nothing of the news.
Odder still, Hamilton had confided in vice-captain Drummond on Friday, and after the game outlined what qualities he will bring to the role.Yet the man from Meigle did not appear to speak because the selectors have yet to rubber stamp his appointment.
Cricket Scotland chief executive Roddy Smith was happy to discuss his promotion, though, insisting that the 30-year-old seamer's limited amount of high-level playing experience will not count against him.
"There is absolutely no doubt about that," said Smith."In his four-day captaincy, he is now moulding the team that he wants. The other key thing is that he lives in Edinburgh, he trains with the [full-time]guys all the time. It was very hard for Gav sometimes to come in and take over the team when he's not actually here in Scotland all the time.
"I think for the future it's the right thing for the team to move forward together. It's a very honourable and correct thing that Gavin has done in the best interests of everyone. He's done a great job.
"Gavin came in at a very difficult time; we needed a bit of stability and to bring on the younger team. He's done exactly that. He always said that when the time was right to go, he would go, and Gordon has done a great job when Gavin has not been available.
"The good news is he is still going to play, which is fantastic, and I really hope we get another couple of years out of Gavin."