SCOTLAND'S decision to include four English-born players on their tour of South Africa has been criticised in some quarters but the new boys are determined to make the most of their opportunity to forge international careers.

Whether Richard Coughtrie (Gloucestershire), Matt Machan (Sussex), David Murphy (Northants) and Rob Taylor (Leicestershire) will actually improve the team remains to be seen but Coughtrie, who boasts an impeccable Caledonian sporting pedigree, is determined to fight for his new-found cause.

The 24-year-old first expressed an interest in playing for the Saltires while coming through the Durham Academy ranks with Kyle Coetzer and Moneeb Iqbal seven years ago. However, despite a Glaswegian father, the regulations denied him his chance until the ICC introduced a parentage rule this year.

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Coughtrie said: "My granny's father [George Burt] played cricket for Uddingston and earned a few caps for Scotland so there is Scottish cricketing blood in me. There is also a sporting Scot on my father's side in Stan Coughtrie, who was my grandfather's cousin and played rugby for the country.

"I used to go with my dad to support the Scottish rugby team whenever I could so I'm proud to swear my allegiance to the Saltires.

"I first contacted Cricket Scotland when I was a teenager at Durham Academy and was devastated when I learned I didn't qualify. Now I'm determined to make the most of this chance."

Coughtrie will face a fight for the wicketkeeper's gloves with Murphy when the Scots embark on their 13-match tour. Play gets under way on Tuesday with the Saltires facing a tricky T20 double header, taking on Highveld Lions before tackling the IPL champions, Kolkata Knight Riders, later in the day.

William Dick