Jon Coates, The Scotsman
Scotland are on the verge of securing a match against West Indies in Dublin this summer, but it might come at the cost of valuable preparations for the Twenty20 World Championship.
The Scots are hoping to muscle in on a triangular one-day international tournament involving West Indies, Ireland and the Netherlands at the Irish Cricket Union's 10,000-capacity venue at Stormont.
If all parties agree to making the tournament quadrangular, Ryan Watson's team would face the West Indians, minus the retired Brian Lara, on Thursday, 12 July. However, the pay-off of such an agreement would almost certainly be the cancellation of a European Twenty20 tournament that was scheduled for the following weekend.
The 20-over matches from 20-22 July were meant to shore up the Scots' skills before they take on India and Pakistan at the global summit of the shortened game in South Africa in September.
The Scots, Dutch and Irish were also meant to meet in a separate ODI round-robin from 17-19 July, but the respective governing bodies felt they could not ask their amateur players to take more than a week's leave from work. The likelihood is that if the West Indies series goes ahead, the other initiatives will be scrapped, leaving the Scots bereft of Twenty20 practice ahead of the autumn.
The consolation to Cricket Scotland is that the national team originally had just one chance to face a full ICC member nation this summer, with India visiting Glasgow on 16 August. Now, with the prospect of playing West Indies in Belfast and also Pakistan in Glasgow, the tally could treble.
"There are discussions going on between the governing bodies of West Indies, Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands in terms of organising a quadrangular series where all teams would play each other once," said CS chief executive Roddy Smith.
"The negotiations are advanced and it would be great for us to have another match against a full ICC member this summer."
Smith is waiting for news from the subcontinent, where an Indian TV station is trying to organise a glamour tie between India and Pakistan in Glasgow in early July, which would be preceded by a Scotland-Pakistan match. He said the venture would be confirmed or called off next week.
Meanwhile, Scotland batsman Kyle Coetzer continued his sparkling form for Durham with a highest county-championship score of 74 against last year's champions, Sussex, at Chester-le-Street.
The 23-year-old from Aberdeen was struck on the head but survived to face 133 balls in a near-three-hour innings, building a third-wicket partnership of 181 with Michael di Venuto before being bowled by off-spinner James Tredwell.
Coetzer, a former Scotland under-19 captain, scored 67 for Durham on his first-class debut against Glamorgan in 2004. But he has since been plagued by injuries, and only regained favour over the past week, scoring 153 not out against Durham University and 35 against a star-studded Lancashire attack in the FP Trophy.
Another Scot in action on the county circuit, Dewald Nel, bowled economically on his debut for Worcestershire, whom he has joined for 10 days. The Saltires strike bowler opened with a spell of six overs for ten runs against Yorkshire at Headingley, but was only given one more over before rain ended the day's play with Yorkshire 202-1.
It was a less successful day for Peter Drinnen's young Scotland A team. Making their bow in the second XI county championship, the Scots were skittled for 62 by Derbyshire's second-string bowlers, minus Ireland's Boyd Rankin, in swing-friendly conditions at Denby CC.
A catch went down in the first over of Derbyshire's reply, and when rain forced an end to play before tea, the home side were forging ahead on 92 for no wicket.
"It was obviously a difficult day for our batters," said Drinnen. "They struggled to come to terms with the movement of the ball, which was more than they have come across before.
"I'm not making excuses for them and they could have dug in a bit more. We have to work harder to get through the difficult patches, as Derbyshire did later on. They asked a lot of questions of us which we weren't able to answer. But tomorrow is another day, and there's no reason why we can't roll them out and get back in the game."