Big test ahead in Barbados for young side
It was quite a nice surprise to see the team selected to represent Bermuda for the Barbados Cricket Tour, which left yesterday full of hungry, energetic, enthusiastic cricketers.
Is this a message being sent to the so-called big name players of Bermuda cricket, that if you dont train you will not play? Or is this a case where we have a bunch of talented youth and we need to identify, which if any, are ready to stand up and fight for a place for the big ICC World Cricket League Division 3 tournament in April, which is to be held in Bermuda?
The team selected is a team full of inexperienced players, with a sprinkle of senior players.
It will be quite interesting from a cricket lovers point of view to see how these young men cope playing at a higher level. Going to Barbados, Bermuda will face some stiff opposition. One thing about West Indies players they love their cricket and they are very aggressive minded. This should be a good test and give the coaches and selectors a clear vision of what each player can and cant do at the higher level.
The conditions in Barbados will be slightly different than what Bermuda will experience here in April, for the ICC World Cricket League Division 3 tournament, but it will allow the players some much needed match practice.
The ball will not move as much in Barbados as it will in Bermuda and the wickets in Barbados will be a lot harder, thus giving our seam bowlers very little assistance and our spinners very little turn. This is one of my biggest concerns for the Bermuda team come April. Will Bermuda play most of their matches at the National Stadium where the ball seams about and turns square from ball one, which for years has been our downfall?
I have no doubt that the coaches and players will be and have been working tirelessly to improve the way our batsmen bat spin bowling. Personally, a trip to Trinidad probably would have been more suitable, whereby they breed spinners in Trinidad.
Most teams in Division 3 have played against Bermuda and will open the bowling with spin and carry no less than three or four spinners in their team. This has become the norm when playing against us. I know from previously watching former coach David Moore train the lads, that he worked extremely hard in combating this and the lads have taken in the information and have been working hard to improve their batting against spin bowling.
One thing they will get in Barbados is quality fast bowling. West Indies breed fast bowlers and I love their mentality. They are aggressive and love a challenge. Bermuda batsmen will have their work cut out for them and they will have to be mentally tough. If they are not mentally tough the bowlers will expose them quite easily. One thing about going to the West Indies as a batsman you know you will be getting bombarded with short bowling. One the other end, as a bowler you know you will be facing some aggressive stroke players, who if you are an inch off line, they will punish you.
This tour will be a big test for our younger players, while some of our senior players will also have to prove themself after previous poor performances. Tre Manders and Treadwell Gibbons are two players that really interest me and could pry their way into the final team with some good performances. Treddy is coming off a very good season, which saw him break into the St Georges Cup Match team and likewise with Tre Manders who broke into the Somerset team after an excellent season.
Another area that interests me are the two wicketkeepers. Both keepers are very good, Jekon to me has the best hands in the country, but Jasons batting and staying power has proved crucial at times, but some question his slow strike rate. This tour will give both a chance to exhibit their skills, while trying to outshine the other for that one starting position.
In the bowling department there are some new faces looking to stake a claim for a spot on the final team and all have a realistic chance. The most interesting of all is young Greg Maybury. This youngster tore the heart out of St Georges in his first Cup Match with his swing bowling. However, anybody that knows anything about cricket in the West Indies they will tell you the ball doesnt swing much at all and most batsmen punish medium pace. This tour could be a massive challenge for him as a youngster, as I have seen some of the best swing bowlers Bermuda has ever produced get smashed around in the West Indies on those flat tracks. He will need a lot of support, but if he has the right mentality he can get through this massive challenge.
Jacobi Robinson makes his return to Bermuda cricket, but this time as a spinner. Jacobi has worked hard over the last year to change his game. If his bowling proves worthy at this level he could be a big player as he has the ability to be an explosive lower order batsman, which could prove to be his trump card in gaining a spot on the team come April.
Young Delray Rawlins makes his Bermuda debut at the tender age of 15. I am sure the coach will use him sparingly, but has brought him along mainly as a player for the future. Delray is a mixture of two Bermuda greats. He bats with the class of Noel Gibbons and bowls with the passion of Dwayne Leverock, thus giving Bermuda a very promising young player for the future. Hopefully he gets a game or two just too whet his appetite.
The remainder of the players have travelled with Bermuda before and will be keen to make an impression on the coach and selectors as nothing can or should be taken for granted, especially when you are representing your country.
I encourage all the players to work hard and use this tour wisely to gain some confidence and to grow as a team. Yes, there are some big name players not there, but use this as a chance to put pressure on the selectors. Make it hard for them to leave you out in the future by performing.
A word for the wise, names dont win matches, performances do.
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