DeSilva craves another slice of history
Jordan DeSilva, the Somerset captain, believes his team is capable of producing “something special again” in this year’s Cup Match at Wellington Oval.
Somerset thrashed rivals St George’s by an innings and 34 runs at Somerset Cricket Club last year and, apart from two players, have retained the majority of that nucleus for their title defence on “hostile territory”.
DeSilva says his team possesses adequate depth in their batting, variety in their bowling and vital experience necessary to achieve their primary objective of keeping a firm grip on the coveted showpiece.
“I am confident with my team and wouldn’t have left that room Saturday night [team selection] if I wasn’t,” he added. “We feel like we have enough batsmen to last two days and enough bowlers to bowl them out.
“We picked the team around where we made our batting line-up long enough, where it’s hard to bowl us out, and we know we have enough bowlers.
“We have six out-and-out bowlers and also one or two other guys that have bowled in Cup Match that we can call upon if it gets to that.
“We’ve got our right-arm seamers, left-arm seamers and then we’ve got two different options with the spin we’re looking to utilise — it’s worked for us recently, as the results have shown.
“We are in St George’s and it’s surely going to be a bowler-friendly wicket. But we are confident in our batting line-up, where we don’t get bowled out twice, and confident enough to bowl them out twice because we have done it multiple times recently.”
The champions were forced to make two changes as Jekon Edness, the former captain and wicketkeeper, who now serves on the selection committee, has retired while top-order batsman Tre Manders was ruled out through injury.
The pair have been replaced by colt Alje Richardson, son of Somerset coach and former player Jeff Richardson, and Derrick Brangman, who missed out in 2018 because of a one-year ban from all cricket for breaching the Code of Conduct.
Both players shone playing for the President’s XI during Somerset’s final Cup Match trial. Richardson, who has developed his game while at Cardiff Metropolitan University in Wales, stroked a game-high 46 batting at No 4, while Brangman took two for 35 with his left-arm spin.
“Alje had a good innings on Saturday and has had a good season since he’s been back from Cardiff, and then the obvious one [change] for most people was Derrick,” DeSilva said.
“He wasn’t available last year but we all know Derrick’s quality. It would be hard pressed to find somebody with more wickets over the last four or five seasons in Bermuda cricket than him. And, of course, the other nine guys are the guys from last year’s historic victory, and so I have faith in everybody that we can do something special again.
“We all know what the goal is, to win, and then at the very least we still go west with the silverware. So I am confident in my team, the make-up of it, the experience of it and I know the new player will stand up and be counted, too.”
While a draw would suffice for Somerset to retain their title, DeSilva has set his sights on leading his team to a second successive victory.
“Our mindset is always to go with the victory first,” he declared. “We feel if you start with a negative attitude, it encourages negative results.
“Last year we won the toss and batted. Our goal was to bat them out of the game and we did that. Then everything fell into place after that.
“We want to put ourselves in a position where we are not going to lose the game. But our first thought is to go in and win because if you go in there with the positive intent, you know you can find yourself in a better situation.”
While Somerset are the favourites going into the two-innings match, DeSilva isn’t taking his team’s rivals for granted.
“We know that it won’t be as easy this year because they did pick a strong team and will put up a fight, especially at home,” he said.
“We know Lionel’s [St George’s captain Lionel Cann] mindset is to attack, and obviously as challengers you have to attack, so it will be a more difficult game on their ground.
“It will be hostile territory, but we have had some success in St George’s recently, more than we’ve had before, so we are going to take that confidence into this year.
“We just don’t show up on the day and it gets done. We believe in our ability that when we play our best cricket, we can’t be beaten. That’s the type of attitude you have to have.”
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