Outerbridge is the right man to lead Bermuda
This past weekend I had the privilege to watch Bermuda’s most prolific batsman in action (Mr Bailey’s Bay) Stephen Outerbridge.
His game winning knock of 133 not out was classy, timely, skillful, and poised, something out of the Noel Gibbons repertoire.
Having had the opportunity to play against Bay twice and watch them on more than one occasion Stephen has definitely elevated his game to another level.
What is his motivation? Helping Bay win the league is definitely a focus for him, but the thought of possibly captaining his country has to be in the back of his mind.
Personally speaking, if we are looking for change, Stephen Outerbridge should be and has to be inserted as captain of Bermuda ASAP in order to revive cricket at the national level.
Stephen has all of the attributes that a captain must have. He is passionate, a student of the game, tactically sound, a great motivator, and leads by example, both on and off the field. Stephen is enthusiastic about the job and has pride in representing Bermuda, he communicates effectively with his players, has the respect of them, and is always willing to listen and learn.
As we all know, currently, our national cricket is at its lowest point ever. Recently the team toured Dubai for a T20 tournament and only won one game from their Group A matches. The team was captained by the current captain David Hemp; unfortunately they had an astonishing losing record of 1-6 placing them tied for last place, but were able to claim the 7th position by run rate over Denmark.
Stepen, came in as captain under pressure for the positional playoff match against Uganda due to a David Hemp injury, and did us all proud, as we won convincingly, finishing the tournament on a high regardless of the disaster that had preceded this last game.
As has become the norm, no post mortem has been held. As a former selector I have had several players approach me and say unless things change don’t call me, they refuse to play under the current set up. Players feel there is a massive disconnect between them and the captain. Unfortunately, with Hemp living overseas it is difficult for him to build a relationship with his team-mates, to know the players personalities, it’s difficult for him to know his players strengths and weaknesses and how they respond in pressure situationsetc.
Some have made their intentions clear; unless something changes at the top they won’t be back. One only has to look at the cancellation of the Regional Tournament that was scheduled for last weekend that never materialised due to player unavailability. This was the first statement by the players that they have had enough. This action could see Bermuda cricket spiral deeper in the hole as we have Division Three qualifiers early next year. The time for Stephen Outerbridge to be inserted as captain is now so he can reconnect what has been disconnected.
Personally, I feel that David Hemp came into Bermuda cricket at a time when we needed him and he made a significant contribution to our cricket. His professionalism was clear for all of us to see and he always set an impeccable example for the rest of the team. However, like every good show it must come to an end, and while he is still playing I feel it is important that we breed a new skipper for the future. The timing is perfect and th BCB must act now.
Stephen has shown me and others around Bermuda that he is more than ready to take over the helm. One thing I look for from a captain specifically is how he operates under pressure. Three situations this year has shown me that Stephen is more than ready. The first situation was the Belco Cup finals, with the game on the line. I was batting and started to become aggressive and our runs were quickly rising on the scoreboard.
Some of the Bay players were getting a little edgy, but Stephen remained calm and continuously encouraged his players with positive feedback, while executing his game plan. The second situation was a league game between Bailey’s Bay and St David’s.
St David’s posted 138 and had Bay in all sorts of trouble at 25 for three. While St David’s were buzzing with ethusiasm, Stephen put his head down and batted his team out of danger, thus not getting out until there was like 10 runs needed for victory.
The third situation was when Bailey’s Bay was chasing 308 runs against Rangers in Rangers’ back yard, which is certainly intimidating. The way Stephen went about his knock was first class. At no time did he become flustered, he was in total control. He consistently conversed with his partner discussing his game plan and tactics. He orchestrated a superlative knock, one of the best I have seen in Bermuda under immense pressure, thus showing his leadership qualities.
Stephen was a member of the 2007 World Cup team so he has lived first hand through the commitment, national pride and importance of team unity. As a youngster in that team, he showed his eagerness to learn more about his batting and the true role of a captain, by pumping me with questions on it daily as we discussed different scenarios and pressure situations. It was clear for me to see back then, that he was fanatical about the game and displayed a hunger to lead Bermuda one day. President Fray, coach Moore, executives of BCB, take note of the buzzing conversations around your national squad players and do what is right for Bermuda national cricket. Maybe you have other thoughts as to who should captain Bermuda, but my full support is for Stephen Outerbridge to fill that most important position.
Stephen deserves it, he has earned it, and most importantly the players want it. He has brought a high level of professionalism to Bailey’s Bay. Players there are willing to work for him, they trust him and more importantly they respect him, all key ingredients for a successful team, at club level, and also at the national level.
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