Trott wants more commitment
Bermuda’s stand-in captain, Rodney Trott, has called upon his team to show greater “commitment and respect” moving forward after a winless ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier in the United Arab Emirates.
Trott stepped into the role midway through Bermuda’s group A exploits after Dion Stovell stood down because of “personal reasons”.
Those around the camp have consistently said Stovell will remain in the role after the tournament, but after a chastening tour with the bat, the 35-year-old is clearly taking stock of his own situation.
Off spinner Trott took over despite Terryn Fray initially being named as vice-captain, and did so under some trying circumstances.
He was handed the reins with a batting line-up desperately short of runs and the team three games without a win, on the brink of exit. And in his first game in charge, Deunte Darrell was suspended by the ICC for “conduct that brings the game into disrepute” after a reaction to being given out against Namibia.
It was a game their coach and former South Africa all-rounder, Albie Morkel, later said his players were threatened in after a Bermuda batsman’s dismissal.
It was an ugly incident that poses questions of Darrell and team management, who immediately reinstated the 27-year-old after serving his suspension and seemingly without much reprimand — at least publicly.
Trott, 32, used his final appearance in front of the media to issue a challenge to his side as they look to build on the experiences of a first outing in this competition for six years.
“For us, I think the biggest thing is commitment,” Trott said. “We’re coming from a place that’s only 21 square miles and we’ve only got about 30 cricketers who can play at this level back home.
“It’s about commitment and respect — respect for one another, our coaches, our team-mates. All that plays a big part, so hopefully when we go back, we can keep these same guys together.”
With a limited talent pool to mine, Trott emphasised that the onus is on this group of players to feed what they learnt at this level back into the domestic game to improve all levels of Bermudian cricket.
“I talked to my boys about this on the regular,” he said. “For the 17 guys that are here, we have to try and set the standard at home.
“The standard at home is not at the level it is supposed to be at, so us 17 guys have to take the initiative and the responsibility back home to try and lift the level, so when we come here, it makes it much easier for us.”
Bermuda’s stellar run to this stage, where they sprang a surprise on home soil by qualifying alongside Canada from the Americas finals, meant expectations were high going into the tournament.
But they have come up against highly professional outfits across their six matches in Dubai, competing with sides blessed with far greater infrastructure, resources and players that have vast experience at this level.
It puts their disappointment on the pitch into perspective, as surmised by Trott: “When you’re playing against guys that are at a higher level and are training every day ... we have to go to work every day, and it’s kind of hard for guys. Some days you can get guys to come and some days you can’t.”
Bermuda were also the second lowest-ranked team in the competition — sitting 30th in the world, eight places above Nigeria, who were at the tournament only because Zimbabwe had been suspended — and bidding for a first appearance at an ICC World Cup since their debut at the 50-overs edition in 2007.
As a result, this experience provides plenty of opportunity to learn from a return to this level of international cricket.
With back-to-back T20 World Cups in 2020 and 2021, qualification begins next year for the tournament in two years’ time.
Coach Herbie Bascome is hopeful that his side can return to this stage once more as a more consistent outfit.
“It’s all about application,” Bascome said. “When you’re in a country where cricket is not to the level [as other teams in this tournament], you’ve got to really read up on the game, really study the game.
“You’ve got to evaluate the game as you go, so you can strike up a balance of your talent. You can’t just rely on being on form or that you’ve played a lot of cricket because we don’t do that. You’ve got to compromise with yourself.
“This level’s about consistency, about getting better every game, and I think that’s where we struggled from not really playing a lot of matches.
“We could make assumptions about we’ve not really been playing much cricket, but this is about how much you want it, how much you want to be a part of this and how far you want to go as a cricketer.
“I believe in backing our players. It’s just unfortunate that our disciplines are not allowing us to capitalise, as the game’s simple.”
Bermuda will now regroup back home before getting their 2023 50-over World Cup qualification campaign under way in Oman next month, providing an immediate opportunity to put in place what they have learnt in the UAE.
This tournament is the first of the restructured event, which effectively invalidates the 2018 World Cricket League Division Four tournament in Malaysia when Bermuda were relegated a Division Five that no longer exists.
For Trott, the hard work for him and this group of players starts now.
“Hopefully, nobody stops playing and we can move forward,” he added. “We have to practise as much as we can, putting in as much dedication and commitment, and hopefully we can get some better results moving forward.”
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