Scotland may be reeling from their painful exit in the ICC World Cup qualifier Super Sixes, but the financial cost of their loss to Zimbabwe doesn’t mean the road to developing their squad has to stop there.
Here, Tim Wigmore proposes three players who counties in England and Wales should strongly consider getting on the phone to.
Simply the best batsman beyond the Test world over the last two years, Coetzer scored four centuries in 50-over internationals games for Scotland last year – including in the wins against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe – as well as centuries in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons of the Hong Kong Blitz, when he outshone numerous batsmen with lucrative contracts in T20 leagues. While he enjoyed a solid county career with Durham and Northamptonshire – including winning all three county trophies – Coetzer is a far better player now, especially in white-ball cricket. That’s why he has an ODI average of 42.46, and is ranked the 22nd best ODI batsman in the world.
Entered the tournament unsure of his place in the side; left it seeming to have come of age. Leask made crucial runs, fielded effervescently, bowled his off-spin cannily and showed himself a man who relishes the big stage. In Scotland’s two games against the West Indies and Zimbabwe, Leask took six wickets for 73 and made unbeaten scores of 28 and 14 – both of which almost hauled Scotland to victories. While a peripheral player at Somerset during a two-year stint that has just ended, Leask has the chutzpah to excel as a T20 specialist – an all-rounder batting at six or seven.
Bowled with wonderful control and skill all tournament to end up with 17 wickets at 13.94, the best record in the tournament. Sharif proved himself a seamer with a big-match temperament – he took 5-33 against Zimbabwe, and claimed Chris Gayle with the very first ball of the match against the West Indies – who is not merely an incisive new ball bowler but capable of threatening in all phases of the game. He is also a lusty lower-order hitter and, aged 26, has a huge ceiling for growth. That Sharif was favoured ahead of Stuart Whittingham and Chris Sole, who both have county contracts, is further testament to his quality. Has potential as a three-format player in county cricket.