DAVID NASH has urged fellow-Middlesex wicketkeeper Ben Scott to find a gift of the gab.
The Seaxes glove-man has warned the former Wycombe House star that he has the potential to win international honours - but will go the way of English wicket-keeping reject Chris Read if he doesn't stir up some inner devil.
Nash claimed Read ultimately lacked the spunk to go with his undoubted glove-work, and that Scott risks being similarly overlooked if he doesn't learn the old maxim 'nice guys finish last.'
He said: "Scotty has got it in him to play for England, but he needs a bit more Mr Nasty, some more edge about him.
"He's in the Chris Read mould in that he's too nice and wants his cricket to do the talking, but you need to do a little bit more than that if you want to get noticed.
"Chris was ditched because he was too quiet and didn't have enough about him."
Scott showed plenty of grit in Sunday's Friends Provident Trophy defeat to arch-rivals Surrey at Lord's.
He was soon at the crease after the Middlesex top order collapsed to 55-5, but had to retire hurt shortly afterwards following a blow on the back of the elbow.
Initial fears he may have broken his arm proved false and he returned to make 52 in partnership with new-boy Gareth Berg (65) as the Crusaders posted 233-8.
Tim Murtagh received his county cap in the break between innings, but couldn't inspire an injury-ravaged Middlesex attack as Chris Benning's century led Surrey to victory by five wickets.
Bank Holiday Monday started more promisingly when Ed Joyce's 80 took Middlesex to 124-1 in 20 overs against Sussex at Hove.
However, the opportunity was squandered, with Middlesex posting just 273-5 in 50 overs, a target passed with two overs to spare by the hosts.
The defeats leave Middlesex third in the 'group' of death', from which two sides qualify for the quarter-finals in June.
Ed Smith's men began their latest County Championship match yesterday against Essex at Chelmsford.
* The winners of our Middlesex v Surrey tickets competition were Alan Fowler of Farm Close, Southall, and Nigel Bowen of Hounslow Road, Hanworth.
Both answered correctly that Toby Radford is the Middlesex head coach and won a pair of tickets to the game.