Quadrangular Series, Ireland July 7, 2007

Poonia included in depleted Scotland squad



Scotland have picked Navdeep Poonia, in spite of Warwickshire not picking him all season © Eddie Norfolk

Scotland have named a depleted 14-man squad for next week's quadrangular series in Ireland. With Durham refusing to release Kyle Coetzer, Dougie Brown unavailable through injury and Dewald Nel only freed by Worcester for one match, the Scots have decided to recall Warwickshire's Navdeep Poonia, even though he has been unable to gain a county first XI spot this season.

The squad, which will tackle the West Indies on Thursday, the Netherlands the following day and Ireland on July 15, is reliant on the nucleus of players who have struggled badly this season since Scotland's abject World Cup campaign. Most of the batsmen are out of form and practice, given the recent poor weather, which explains Poonia's inclusion but the team still seems top-heavy with bits-and-pieces cricketers at the expense of specialists.

All this makes Coetzer's continued omission all the more controversial, given that ICC rules state he should have been released by his county to represent Scotland in this event.

"Although there have been one or two availability issues, we are pleased to welcome Poonia back into the national squad," said David Loudon, Scotland's chairman of selectors. "He is an exciting player and we are sure we have not seen the best of him yet. The rest of the squad has a good balance to it and affords the captain various options."

Scotland squad
Ryan Watson (capt), Fraser Watts, Craig Wright, Majid Haq, Omer Hussain, Neil McCallum, Navdeep Poonia, Colin Smith, John Blain, Glenn Rogers, Dewald Nel, Gordon Drummond, Paul Hoffmann, Qasim Sheikh

Neil Drysdale is a freelance journalist and author