Batsman Zander Muir finding his Grange

Zander Muir batting for Grange. Picture: Jane Barlow

Zander Muir batting for Grange. Picture: Jane Barlow

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Zander Muir returns to Barclays Grange East Premiership cricket action tomorrow for the first time since notching the winning runs as Scotland Under-19s qualified for next February’s World Cup finals in the United Arab Emirates.

And the talented sporting all-rounder – he was part of an Edinburgh Academy schools rugby cup-winning team that also included Hibs player Alex Harris – is hoping to carry on where he left off in the qualifying campaign with another not-out innings when Stoneywood Dyce visit Raeburn Place.

Muir went through the entire qualifying without surrendering his wicket and by his own reckoning, the key is to be found in an Australian winter spent assisting at Scots College, Perth.

“The gap year in Australia before I begin studying International Business at Leeds University this autumn was the most marvellous experience,” said Muir.

“By coincidence, the college team I helped coach included the sons of former Australian Test stars Justin Langer and Adam Gilchrist.

“Both Justin and Adam were regular visitors to coaching and were kind enough towards the end of my visit to have a look at my technique and offer some advice.

“As well as being the West Australia batting coach, Justin works with his national team and he spent time with me analysing the abilities of skipper Michael Clarke when he was really smoking runs in a Test series over the winter.

“It wasn’t just technical advice either, as I got a lot of assistance in acquiring the correct mental approach.”

Muir, whose top score of 129 came in Scotland under-17 colours a couple of years ago, credits the format of Australian club cricket he experienced.

“Matches were played over two weekends, so I learned that if I got out then I might have to wait a fortnight for another chance to bat,” he said.

“That really focused my mind and made me all the more determined to protect my wicket at all costs. That was the attitude I brought back from Australia.”

Muir first joined Grange when he was 12 and benefitted from one to one coaching from then pro George Bailey, who is now an Australian limited-over internationalist. “It isn’t just George I have to thank, though. [Current captain and former Saltire] Neil McCallum has been terrific at talking me through my first season in the senior team on occasions.”

For a Grange team who, on Sunday, will represent the East in the national twenty:20 finals McCallum is unavailable due to a wedding. In addition to Zander Muir there is a recall for Gregor Maiden with Tom Sole dropping out.

On Sunday, Arun Pillai, Iain Worth and Neil McCallum are included in a squad of 13.

Stakes will be especially high at Inverleith where SMRH tackle leaders Arbroath knowing another win should see them avoid the drop.

Skipper Greg Bisset returns along with TJ Beattie and Chris Bissett after missing the win over Stoneywood Dyce last week.

Bisset says: “We’re very hopeful that our bowlers can cause Abroath the same problems. Greg Ruthven in particular will be full of confidence after taking six wickets last week.”

Heriot’s will be keen for a win over second place Carlton not only to steady the ship after recent losses but to add gloss to a sponsors’ lunch.

Craig Adams returns for Ali Farooq while Scotland wicket keeping coach Toby Bailey (ex-Northants) makes a rare appearance for Carlton.

Watsonians await Aberdeenshire with James Easton passed fit and both Ewan Chalmers and Dewald Nel returning. Stuart Chalmers is still injured.

Stakes will be especially high at Inverleith where SMRH tackle leaders Arbroath knowing another win should see them avoid the drop.

Skipper Greg Bisset returns along with TJ Beattie and Chris Bissett after missing the win over Stoneywood Dyce last week.

Bisset says: “We’re very hopeful that our bowlers can cause Arbroath the same problems. Greg Ruthven, in particular, will be full of confidence after taking six wickets last week.”

Heriot’s will be keen for a win over second-placed Carlton not only to steady the ship after recent losses but to add gloss to a sponsors’ lunch.

Craig Adams returns for Ali Farooq while Scotland wicket-keeping coach Toby Bailey (ex-Northants) makes a rare appearance for Carlton.

Watsonians await Aberdeenshire with James Easton passed fit and both Ewan Chalmers and Dewald Nel returning. Stuart Chalmers is still injured.