Scottish cricket again risks being plunged into controversy when the 38-year-old South African all-rounder, Neil Carter, is this morning named in the Scotland squad for next month's series of Intercontinental Cup and World Cricket League matches against Afghanistan.
The Scots have taken advantage of a change in the ICC eligibility regulations to pack their squad with players born in England – albeit with Scottish parents – including Matt Machan, David Murphy and Iain Wardlaw. However, it is the selection of Carter, the Warwickshire professional who officially retired from English county cricket in September, which may cause the biggest upset.
Concerns had already been aroused by the fact that the Scots have taken so long to announce their squad – they will not release the list until today – although they fly out to Dubai tomorrow for a series of warm-up fixtures against UAE opponents, prior to meeting the Afghanis in three different forms of the game.
Loading article content
Cricket Scotland say they wanted to minimise their opponents' time to study the Scotland team. Yet this seems a less convincing reason than the governing body's eagerness to avoid any criticism before the party had left.
Herald Sport has been contacted by one former Scotland player, who requested anonymity, but said that he was "disgusted" at the inclusion of Carter, before adding: "This sends out all the wrong signals to the guys who work their backsides off in Scotland. I've nothing against Neil Carter, but he is nowhere near the player he used to be and is nearly finished with cricket. So why are the Scots going with him? He hasn't even played a match for us and now he is going on a full international tour."
Ryan Flannigan, who hit a century for Scotland against Namibia in the Intercontinental Cup in 2011, confirmed he had not been picked. "That will be negative," he said. "I'm working in sales now so, on top of the new batch of [English] guys coming in, there wasn't much hope."
Pete Steindl, the Saltires coach, is expected to include David Murphy as wicketkeeper for a Twenty20 double-header against Afghanistan. The ICC ruled six county pros were ineligible for the Scots, and it is understood the gloves will go to the Northamptonshire player for the T20 games, two World Cup qualifiers and an Intercontinental match.
Meanwhile, Edinburgh University, with wins over Heriot's and Corstorphine, remain unbeaten in the SuperSixes.