Former international Fraser Watts believes the Capital cricketers in the national squad can have a big impact on the outcome of the Scotland-England One Day International at the Grange tomorrow (11am).
Watts made 203 appearances for Scotland before retiring from that level of cricket five years ago, but the Carlton stalwart is still very much involved with the sport.
He is assistant coach for the Eastern Knights, coaches at Carlton and still turns out for the Grange Loan side’s second XI on occasion
As a result of his Knights work in the early part of this summer, the 39-year-old has seen the local players who are in the 15-man squad for the showpiece event in Stockbridge at close quarters.
He feels that Mazars Grange duo Dylan Budge and Preston Mommsen, Carlton’s Ali Evans, Watsonians George Munsey, ex-Heriot’s spinner Mark Watt and former Grange seamer Chris Sole can all put in a good shift if they are named in Grant Bradburn’s starting XI on Sunday morning.
“I have enjoyed working with the Knights this season and I think that the regional series has gone up a notch and that has allowed more players to push for Scotland selection,” Watts said.
“If you look at the way that Dylan Budge has been playing with the bat of late then there was no way he wasn’t going to break into this Scotland squad.
“Whether he can force his way into the XI we will have to see, but certainly he won’t let anyone down if selected because he works very hard at his game.
“I have known Preston for many years and know just what professionalism and quality he brings to any squad that he has with. He is a very hungry guy and relishes big games like this one.
“In the last year or so I have watched George Munsey really mature and take a big lead in the things that we are doing at the Knights along with head coach Steve Gilmour.
“George played a lot during the World Cup qualifiers earlier in the year, seems to know his role in this Scotland team and is such a clean striker of the ball, so hopefully he gets the chance to show what he can do.
“Ali has been around the Scotland set-up for a number of years now and in many ways he is an old head. He is bowling very well at the moment while Chris Sole is doing well down south and the Scotland seam bowling unit is looking strong.
“With Tom Sole injured, it could be a big day for Mark Watt as the spinner in the team and he has started the season well so he will be feeling good ahead of this one.
“Hopefully these guys get a crack, but the pleasing thing for me is that now Scotland have real strength in depth. There are these 15 guys, but there are others knocking on the door which can only be good for Scottish cricket going forward.”
Watts himself only played against England once in his illustrious career, in 2009 at Trent Bridge in Nottingham as a warm-up to the T20 World Cup.
However, he played in many big games for his country over the years and, after all the build-up this week, he knows that the players will just want to get out there now at the home of Grange.
“There has been a lot of build-up and hype around the game which is great for the sport north of the border, but the players will want the game to start now,” Watts stated.
“All of the preparation has been done and all Scottish cricket fans, of which I am one, just want to see the guys put in a good performance and show a wider audience what cricket in this country is all about.
“The Grange is a great place to play and it should be quite some spectacle.”
Scotland: Kyle Coetzer (captain), Richie Berrington, Dylan Budge, Matthew Cross, Alasdair Evans, Michael Jones, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, Preston Mommsen, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Chris Sole, Mark Watt, Brad Wheal, Stuart Whittingham.
England: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey, Mark Wood.