Scotland last night suffered a third call-off in the countdown to their one-day international series against Holland when Sussex refused to release Matt Machan.
Machan has recovered from a niggling injury and was expected to head north yesterday for today’s opener at Titwood, Glasgow. However, English county officials have decided they want to play him in their 2nd XI.
Scotland’s director of cricket Andy Tennant declared: “Matt is almost fully fit and would probably have been able to face Holland but Sussex are not releasing him.
“They want him to play in a three-day match as their focus is very much on multi-day cricket.
“The games against the Dutch are not mandatory release fixtures, so our hands are tied.”
Machan’s absence follows the loss of fellow county men Freddie Coleman and Ruaidhri Smith who have not been released by Warwickshire and Glamorgan respectively.
Meanwhile, in-form Stoneywood-Dyce player Michael Leask is prepared to put his county ambitions on hold to pursue his World Cup dream.
Several counties have expressed an interest in the 23-year-old after a series of fine performances which culminated in a career-best 173 not out against Yorkshire 2nd XI last week.
However, Leask, a certain starter against the Dutch, said: “My main aim right now is to secure my place on that plane to the World Cup.
“There have been a few nibbles from down south and it’s something that interests me but my priority is Scotland.”
Leask is desperate to impress new coach Grant Bradburn, who takes charge for the first time today.
He added: “Grant seems a really nice guy with a good coaching background. I’m really looking forward to working with him.”
While Bradburn has been given an early taste of the frustrations that come with coaching a country that does not have first call on its best players, the New Zealander may be able to reflect on the strength in depth at his disposal.
Despite the call-offs – and bearing in mind Rob Taylor (Leicestershire) and David Murphy (Northants) were unavailable – the coach can select five players currently contracted to counties and a further three with recent experience at that level.
The former group includes Uddingston pace bowler Gavin Main, who made his English Championship debut for Durham earlier this summer and is poised to earn his first senior cap after being drafted into the squad following Smith’s withdrawal.
Carlton’s Hamish Gardiner has also been called up.
Scotland face their Dutch rivals again tomorrow, with the series concluding on Friday.