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Monday, October 18, 1999 Published at 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK


Hamilton switches sides

Gavin Hamilton was the star for Scotland's underdogs during the World Cup

A year ago, few people had even heard of Gavin Hamilton.

Then he became known to some as the cricketer who had do decide whether he wanted to be an Englishman or a Scotsman, having been selected by both for the World Cup.

Eventually it was announced that he would not prejudice his chances of playing for England in the future if he turned out for Scotland.

England left him out of their final squad of 15 and Scotland quickly snapped him up.

The way he performed in the World Cup for a losing side - a batting average of 54.25, with two half-centuries and a strike-rate of 65.67, and he held his own with the ball - England would have known immediately what a mistake they had made.

They have not done so again.

Scottish start

"The World Cup kick-started everything for me and obviously that was a great experience," Hamilton said.

"There was quite a lot of talk after that that I would play a Test match. It was obviously disappointing that I didn't but, looking back, it was probably the best thing that could have happened.

"If I hadn't done well I might not have been on the tour where I have a few chances now to get into the side.

"I'm not just going to play the odd game. My goal is to squeeze into the Test side and take it from there."

England will hope that the hamstring injury that restricted his appearances for Yorkshire last summer has finally healed and that Hamilton can play the all-round role that no one has done successfully for years.

Perfect climate to progress

He is another with good memories of the location. "I've been out to South Africa quite a few times before," he said.

"One year in the Free State and four years playing club cricket in Cape Town, for Stellenbosch University. The climate is ideal for everything"

The losers in Hamilton's selection (apart, it is hoped, from South Africa) are Scotland, whom Hamilton first played for as a 16-year-old.

"My Scotland days are over," he said. "If I play one game on tour I won't be able to play for Scotland for ten years but this is what I've been playing for.

"If there had been any suggestion that I would have disqualified myself from playing for England by representing Scotland in the World Cup I would not have played."





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