FORMER World Cup batsman Bruce Patterson fears there is “no easy fix” for Scotland’s international cricket plight.
He issued his verdict after the side were heavily beaten in the second ODI against Zimbabwe at Raeburn Place – just two days after they had stunned the visitors.
More worrying than Saturday’s result is the fact that the match brought to an end Scotland’s season of big-stage action, before midsummer’s day.
In Paterson’s era – the late 1990s and into the following decade – he would be involved in up to 50 days of matches between April and September.
However, with little or no competition with the English counties and various other tournaments, the current crop of players are lucky if the tally reaches double figures.
And Paterson sees no light at the end of the tunnel.
He declared: “The calendar is crowded out due to commercial opportunities and unfortunately the ICC hold all the cards.
“I don’t think the situation is at all the fault of our own administrators. It is all about global money and Scotland are not on their radar.
“It costs a small fortune to host a representative fixture and unlike the county guys, we don’t have the TV audience as a lever to sell advertising.
“It is very sad that the lads in our team at the moment are not getting the opportunity to build up momentum, especially after their victories against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.
“I just don’t see an easy fix.”
Scotland’s reality check at the Grange was a painful one as a drastic batting collapse wrecked their quest to complete a remarkable double.
Kyle Coetzer’s troops crumbled from 106 for one to 169 all out. And despite a flurry of setbacks, Zimbabwe cruised to their face-saving success with six wickets and 13 overs to spare.
Half centuries by skipper Coetzer and Calum MacLeod should have been the foundation for a challenging home total. However, visiting captain Graeme Cremer wrought havoc with a spell of five wickets for 29.
Chris Sole gave the Scots fresh hope by breaking through three times as Zimbabwe slid to 44 for three.
Sikander Raza (58 not out) and Ryan Burl (30 not out) guided them to glory.
Coetzer said: “At stages we had Zimbabwe massively under pressure but then we had quite a big collapse and we couldn’t put the total on board that we would have hoped.
“Beating Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe has been great – we’d have taken that at the start of the season.
“We’ve definitely put in a case to have more games against major nations.
“And, if we do get those opportunities I’m sure we won’t be far away from competing.”