CALUM MacLeod has been tipped for a return to county cricket following his heroics at the World Cup qualifiers in New Zealand.

The former Warwickshire player has taken the tournament by storm with a series of outstanding batting displays including a record 175 against Canada on Thursday.

Going into last night's Super Sixes clash with Namibia, MacLeod had scored 345 runs in Scotland's four Group A matches at an astonishing average of 86.25. He had also plundered half-centuries in each of the four warm-up matches in which he took part.

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MacLeod, who came through the Scotland ranks as a promising fast bowler was released by Warwickshire after his action was deemed illegal. He has since re-invented himself as a batsman as well as re-modelling his action as an effective fast-medium bowler.

Durham and Northants are leading the chase for the 25-year-old who looks certain to return south though Andy Tennant, Cricket Scotland's head of performance, denied reports MacLeod had already signed for Durham.

Tennant said: "It is no surprise that Calum is attracting interest from counties because they are always looking for players who have the X-factor and he has it in spades. We have had informal discussions with Durham and we would be happy to loan Calum for a month at the start of the season. But he is contracted to Cricket Scotland and nothing has been signed. It could be that he has more than one offer to consider."

MacLeod himself traces the turnaround in his fortunes to his exclusion from the side for last summer's glamour ODI against Pakistan and Tennant concurs.

"He reacted in exactly the right way by going away and analysing what he needed to do before putting in hours of hard work. It showed great maturity and he is now a player that our younger guys look up to as a role model. His greatest strength is that he hits the ball where fielding sides least expect it and there are few players who have that ability."

William Dick