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Machan relishing the challenge of leading Scotland players against the Black Caps

MATT Machan expects his first match as Scotland captain to be a baptism of fire as he prepares to take the role for the first time today, with New Zealand A the visitors to Ayr.

The 23-year-old was given the responsibility after both Kyle Coetzer and Preston Mommsen were ruled out through county commitments and injury respectively.

However, English-born Machan, who qualifies through his Scottish mother, has acknowledged that it will be a proud moment when he leads his side out against the illustrious Black Caps.

"If someone had told me couple of years ago that I would be captain of Scotland I would never have believed them," said the Sussex batsman, whose side will meet New Zealand again on Sunday and next Thursday. "Recent times have been a rollercoaster: firstly qualifying [to play] for Scotland and now being made captain in such a big game. The coach [Grant Bradburn] phoned me while I was playing a county game at Somerset to give me the news and I was amazed as well as delighted."

Machan has acted as captain before, taking charge of the Sussex second XI. "It's going to be a real challenge for all the guys because this is a really powerful New Zealand team," he added. "I'm sure we'll have plans but we will concentrate on our own game and remember that we have some really talented guys in our team. As far as captaining the team goes, I'll just play it by ear."

Brendon Bracewell, the former New Zealand player, meanwhile, has told his son not to believe "half the stories" he may be told of his exploits during two stints as pro at Ayr. The Test paceman was an overseas player at Cambusdoon in the 1980s and still regards the Ayrshire coast as his second home. His son, Doug, will turn out at Ayr's new ground, just a 6-hit away from his father's old stomping ground.

Bracewell Sr says his son is certain to be a target of former team-mates with mischievous tales to tell. "I have fantastic memories of my time at Ayr in 1982 and 1985; it was definitely a highlight of my career," said the 54-year-old. "I am delighted that Doug will have the chance to renew a few old acquaintances and I am sure he will have as much fun as I had.

"I am certain that guys will have plenty to say to Doug about what his old man got up to back then. All I can tell him is not to believe half of the stories!

"The Falklands War was in progress when I was first attached to the Ayr set-up so times were interesting. Training at the club was also interesting, to say the least. The lads would run to Ayr beach, have a swim and jog back to Alloway."

Bracewell Sr, whose international career was cut short by injury, now runs a cricket coaching academy in Napier, New Zealand. His record of six Test appearances has been eclipsed by his son, who has made 17 Test outings for the Black Caps and is one of several players with full international experience that Scotland will face.

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