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August 13, 2014
As Scotland prepare for their three-match series against New Zealand A, new coach Grant Bradburn was insistent that his side could overcome the tourists, despite their good form shown in winning the triangular series against Sri Lanka A and the England Lions.
"We absolutely can win," Bradburn said. "We're well aware they're a quality side and they're playing very well as a unit at the moment. We relish all playing experiences, in particular ones against full member sides like this, but for us it's a huge opportunity."
Scotland suffered a blow to their plans when vice-captain Preston Mommsen broke his finger playing for his club Carlton, weakening an already under-strength batting line-up after captain Kyle Coetzer was not released by his county, Northamptonshire. Sussex's Matt Machan will lead the side in the two games in Ayr, the first of which takes place on Friday.
Bradburn will also be without Ruaidhri Smith, Gavin Main and wicketkeeper Matthew Cross due to injuries, as well as only having Calum MacLeod available for the third of the games due to his commitments at Durham.
"While it is frustrating not to have our top team out the overriding concern has to be about looking at the big picture. However there are some players who have earned their right to play for Scotland through performances in trial games and in the Pro Series, as well as in club cricket who will get the opportunity to keep pushing their names forward. There's plenty of impressive youth in the set-up."
One of those young players is uncapped George Munsey of Mazar Grange, who is in line to make his debut at the age of 21.
Facing them will be a New Zealand A side featuring a number of players with Test caps, including Dean Brownlie, Tom Latham, BJ Watling and the explosive Hamish Rutherford, who will be returning to the ground where he spent the summer as an overseas amateur in 2007. However Bradburn, a former New Zealand A coach himself, is confident in taking on a group of familiar faces.
"The scouting I presented to the team certainly did take long to do and we've got a good handle on what we're up against, but it's as much about knowing what they're going to do as making sure that our players go out and perform properly. If we can create an environment where players can express their skills then I'm sure we'll see some good performances."
The first two meetings between the sides will take place at Cambusdoon in Ayr, with the final game being held at The Grange in Edinburgh.
Scotland squad: Matt Machan (capt, 1st and 2nd games), Hamish Gardiner, Craig Wallace, George Munsey, Richie Berrington, Josh Davey, Michael Leask, Majid Haq, David Murphy, Safyaan Sharif, Iain Wardlaw, Alasdair Evans, Freddie Coleman (2nd game), Calum MacLeod (3rd game), Rob Taylor (3rd game)
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