Gloves are off in the scrap for selection
Wicket-keeper Ben Scott says he has endured the toughest and most puzzling 12 months of his professional career. Since being discarded from the first team midway through last season, the 25-year-old has been snubbed by the new power regime
By Jonny Weeks
Wicket-keeper Ben Scott says he has endured the toughest and most puzzling 12 months of his professional career.
Since being discarded from the first team midway through last season, the 25-year-old has been snubbed by the new power regime of Richard Pybus and Ed Smith.
Scott's good friend and neighbour David Nash was selected for this year's County Championship and, somewhat surprisingly, the one-day Friend's Provident Trophy matches as well.
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But with Nash sidelined due to his recent bout of feintings, Scott has gleefully reclaimed the gloves.
"I don't have any sense of bitterness, but I have been confused and disappointed over the last 12 months," he told Wood&Vale Sport.
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"When I was dropped last year, I could see it coming because I hadn't been so good with the bat.
"Then Nashy stepped in and scored a few hundreds and from that point on it was hard to argue my corner.
"I thought with the new regime coming in that everyone would have a chance.
"But I'm not really sure what happened with the one-dayers. I thought I would get a chance there, but they said it was for the good balance of the team that Nashy stayed in.
"I was very disappointed," he says tersely, "but I just had to get on with it and wait."
Scott returned to the side for the County Championship draw against Essex in which he scored 30 not out and 11 not out, but no stumpings.
The Twenty20 Cup then started, providing an opportunity for him to shine against top division batsmen - or so it should have been.
"It's been so frustrating with the weather. It's been ridiculous," he says.
"I knew once I got back into the team I had the ability to stake a claim for a regular place, but we've barely been able to play.
"We lost the first match against Surrey at the Oval, then got 12 overs against Hampshire which we won, and since that we've been washed out several times."
Middlesex eventually managed to play a Twenty20 match on Tuesday night, beating Surrey by eight wickets in a match cut short by rain.
Scott stumped Mark Butcher off Jamie Dalrymple's bowl to help his side win.
But defeat to Kent at Beckenham on Wednesday has left their chances of qualifying for the knock-out stages hanging in the balance.
Scott said: "We take it really seriously because it's the only top national competition we can win this season after the C&G.
"We've got a good opportunity having two of the best one-day bowlers you can ask for, Tim Murtagh and Chad Keegan. With them in the side you know something will happen.
"The down side is that it's difficult for me to work on my skills for the longer form of the game when I'm playing against guys who are bashing it all around the ground."
Despite his limited keeping time so far this season, Scott says he feels in good form.
"I'm very happy with my own performances," he says.
"I never believe I'm going to miss a ball. I just need more games."
And with the nature of Nash's illness still unresolved, he may find himself in the side that plays Derbyshire at Southgate in the County Championship on Sunday.
"If Nash is unfit I will play," he says. "But I don't know what Richard and Ed are thinking beyond that."