The hard work starts now, says BCB president
Lloyd Smith admits that there is much work to be done within cricket after Bermuda were relegated to the ICC World Cricket League Division Five in the first few months of his Bermuda Cricket Board presidency.
Smith concedes that other teams have been improving while Bermuda have been in a decline since qualifying for the World Cup in 2007.
“When I came on board all the focus was on this tournament, where it was going to take us and then re-evaluate where we were going as soon as the tournament was over,” Smith said yesterday. “Now we know we’re in Division Five, funding isn’t going to be as good as it has been so far.
“The next Division Five tournament is about 18 months away. The T20 tournament that we qualified for in Argentina is before that as well, so we have to look and reassess how we are going to approach things going forward. We introduced Open cricket to try to improve our domestic game.
“We will have to look at what went wrong in Malaysia and decide how we can improve. There will be some strategic planning taking place after this tournament; better sooner than later.
“We did have some outstanding performances by our younger players, which was a plus. I can speak of Charles Trott, who acquitted himself pretty good.”
New captain Terryn Fray led the batting with 190 runs from five innings, the fifth highest in the tournament, while Kamau Leverock scored 150 after missing the first two matches for disciplinary reasons. Janeiro Tucker and Okera Bascome were the only other two batsmen to pass 50, with Tucker’s 55 and Leverock’s knock of 61 rescuing the team from 37 for six in their final match against Malaysia when chasing 258 for victory. The pair added 97 for the seventh wicket.
“It’s very concerning, but our cricket has been going that way for a while,” Smith added. “We have to start doing things different; we can’t keep doing things the same way and expect a different result. That’s why my biggest thing was getting Open cricket back, to get the players playing longer cricket. Smaller things like that have to take place over the next couple of years if Bermuda’s cricket is going to go in the right direction.”
Smith admits the future of the national team rests with the younger players like Fray, Trott, Bascome, Tre Manders and Cejay Outerbridge. Tucker’s international future is uncertain, with the former Bermuda captain turning 43 recently.
“Okera did well, he made some runs, Terryn batted well and was one of the most consistent batsmen in the tournament so there are some positive things going forward,” the president said. “It’s just a matter of getting everything right.”
Bermuda never recovered after losing to Denmark and then Uganda by eight wickets and 189 runs respectively. They beat Jersey by 58 runs in the match that Leverock was recalled, but then lost to Vanuatu and Malaysia.
“We had a hard time bowling teams out,” Smith said. “Janeiro is a very talented cricketer and you can’t dismiss his talents. He shows up at tournaments and does his best. I just hope we can change, to make a better situation so younger players want to play.
“We need to bring the youngsters through in an environment where they enjoy playing for the national team. In the next year we need to decide which way we’re going to go and how we’re going to groom this team into getting better.
“We still have to play international cricket so we can’t just scrap the team and just go with youngsters. We don’t have a large pool of players, so we need to make sure we have programmes to develop players to play at international level.
“That’s why we entered two teams in the Evening League, to take the under-17s and get them ready for the [ICC] Under-19 Tournament next year.”
Smith was himself a product of the highly touted Shell Youth League more than 30 years ago, a league that helped develop many of the top young players in the 1980s.
“We don’t have young players playing as much cricket as when we had Shell, they have a lot more [sports] options now,” he said.
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