Eastern Knights coach John Blain has revealed youth will get its fling as the capital-based franchise attempt to defend their CS Pro50 Trophy.
The champions launch their defence against Western Warriors at The Grange tomorrow (Sunday) and Blain, who wants his young players to push for higher honours, has told them national coach Grant Bradburn is watching.
Blain said: “We’re looking forward to another year of excellent cricket.
“The Pro-Series offers players at club level a platform to showcase their skills and push for national honours.
“Grant Bradburn places a major emphasis on Cricket Scotland’s contracted players being involved which creates an even higher level of competition and provides further kudos to the competition.”
The Knights, for whom regular captain Andrew Brock in unavailable to face the Warriors, will be led by Scotland batsman George Munsey while fellow cap Mark Watt will be vice-captain.
Blain added: “The Knights this year will be younger and less experienced but I see that as a positive as it widens the pool of players in consideration.
“It also sends out the right message to young players within the Eastern Knights youth system that there is a tangible route through to the national team and representative honours.”
Blain’s side were worthy winners of a 50-over and T20 double last season but they may be pushed harder this time around by Caley Highlanders and the Warriors, both of whom have stronger and more experienced squads this time around.
The Warriors “warmed-up” for today’s Pro50 opener at a distinctly chilly Belfast where they undertook a challenge series against Northern Ireland’s Northern Knights.
While the Scots suffered a heavy defeat in a 50-over encounter, they squared a two-match T20 series during which Riyaad Henry, the highly-rated son of former Scotland and South Africa legend Omar, was handed a debut.
Colin Mitchell, the Warriors team manager, expects Henry to be a useful addition to a squad which retains proven match-winners in the likes of Richie Berrington and Michael English.
Poloc’s South African-born batsman Jurie Snyman is another new face and Mitchell said: “We’re delighted to have these guys on board – both will add valuable skills.
“It’s a sign that our squad depth is improving.”
Knights: G Munsey capt, D Budge, C MacLeod, H Aslam, M Watt, T Foulds, M Herdman, O Brown, S Whait, A Evans, S Robertson, C Gosain.
Warriors: R Berrington capt, J Snyman, C Young, H English, C de Lange,F Jawad, M Awais, R Lyons, S McElnea, N Alexander, H Tahir, I Malik.