Stovell and Fray lead way
Dion Stovell and Terryn Fray will share the Bermuda captaincy in Twenty 20 and 50-over matches in Argentina during the ICC Americas World T20 subregional qualifier.
The pair were confirmed as captain and vice-captain for the February 26 to March 4 trip during a press conference at the Bermuda Cricket Board yesterday, when the 14-man squad was released. Bermuda will play against Argentina and Cayman Islands, with the top two countries advancing to the regional finals in 2019.
While in Argentina, Bermuda will also play two 50-over games, to help prepare the team for the World Cricket League Division Four Tournament in Malaysia in April and May. Fray will be the captain for those matches.
The Bailey’s Bay batsman captained Bermuda during their tour of Canada last September, although no decision has been made on a permanent captain after health issues forced OJ Pitcher to step down from the position “for the time being”.
“OJ wrote to the Bermuda Cricket Board requesting to step away until he gets himself sorted out,” Clay Smith, the Bermuda coach, said. “In such time, Dion has been brought in as the T20 captain and with Terryn as vice-captain. However, for the two 50-over games, the roles will be reversed.
“They are in place for these two tournaments, but if OJ was to come back then we will have that discussion whether to insert OJ back in or if we feel comfortable with the job that Terryn is doing.
“If he is doing an admirable job then we’ll probably stick with him. In his letter, OJ said he wanted to remove himself for the time being.”
The squad has a mix of youth and experience with Janeiro Tucker, the Southampton Rangers captain, the senior member of the squad. Players getting their first opportunity at the senior level are Kwasi James, of Willow Cuts, and Macai Simmons, the St George’s captain.
Smith said commitment to training was a key requirement for selection.
“If players aren’t chosen it was because they haven’t been training, basically,” Smith said. “We had a squad of 40 and of those roughly 15 were in England either in school or living, so we were working with about 25 realistically.
“We had about 18 of those 25 who committed themselves to training. Obviously, we have standards in place for players to meet and these are the players who worked hard and deserve the opportunity to represent Bermuda.”
Eight players remain from the team that travelled to Canada last year on the High Performance tour, when Fray was captain and Stovell vice-captain.
Okera Bascome, Charles Trott, Kamau Leverock, Chare Smith and Tre Manders have all been included again, but coach Smith expressed disappointment that former captain Stephen Outerbridge was unavailable for the trip to Argentina because of work commitments.
“Stephen has been training extremely hard with the team, unfortunately he is unable to travel because both tournaments are so close,” Smith said.
“Workwise, it was beneficial for him to choose one and we felt the trip to Malaysia was the more important one for him to focus on.”
One player Smith is happy to see in the team is 43-year-old Tucker, who he believes still has something to offer at international level. Certainly he has the desire, Smith stressed.
“He’s a senior player and we’re asking him to come in and play a specific role in the middle order,” the coach said. “He’ll bat four or five, depending on the level of competition. [He will be] lending experience and leading by example.
“When we went to Canada last summer, we had a good mixture of seniors and youngsters and each senior player took on a youngster as a roommate to guide them along. We’re in that process of transferring some of these youngsters from under-19 to senior level and the more he’s around sharing his wealth of knowledge with these guys, the better it is going to be for Bermuda cricket in the future.”
Smith added: “Janeiro went with us to Canada last year and it was the first time for him playing under me as the coach. When he came back, he was so enthused about the team unity and the camaraderie among the players that he actually reached out to me, saying ‘Clay, I’m not done yet, I want one more shot at helping Bermuda to qualify for Division Three’.
“If you see Janeiro, he looks fit, has been working extremely hard and he’s taking this very seriously. We talked a lot about what legacy you want to leave behind when you leave this game and he wants to go out with a bang.
“Obviously we would love to have two or three others with that same commitment, but I’m happy with the group that we have. They are very focused on playing for Bermuda.”
This is the first national team selected under Lloyd Smith, since he was elected as BCB president in late November.
“I am proud of the work that the players selected have put into the preparation for the first step towards the World T20 in 2020,” he said. “This competition is out of season for us, but our goal is to win it outright and build confidence for World Cricket League 4 in April. The squad has many young players that have come through our development pathways supplemented with some very experienced players which augurs well for the future of Bermuda cricket.
“I encourage all of Bermuda to support our squad unreservedly and wish the players and support staff all the best for the tournament.”
Dion Stovell (capt), Terryn Fray (vice capt), Janeiro Tucker, Steven Bremar, Okera Bascome, Charles Trott, Kwasi James, Kamau Leverock, Jacobi Robinson, Macai Simmons, Cejay Outerbridge, Chare Smith, Tre Manders, Temiko Wilson. Standby: Jordan Smith, Christian Burgess, Onias Bascome, Zeko Burgess, Alje Richardson, Nirobi Mills, Cameron Jeffers.
ICC Americas World T20 subregional qualifier
Feb 26: Argentina v Cayman Islands
Feb 27: Argentina v Bermuda
Feb 28: Bermuda v Cayman Islands
March 1: Argentina v Cayman Islands
March 2: Argentina v Bermuda
March 3: Bermuda v Cayman Islands
March 4: Bermuda v Cayman Islands
March 5: Argentina v Cayman Islands
March 6: Argentina v Bermuda
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