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Time has come for Bermuda to get into the habit of winning

Bermuda's cricketers depart for Dubai this evening and the importance of the next two weeks to the team's long, and short-term future, can not be understated.

Winning, like losing, is a habit, and one the team have to get into if they are to progress in any form of the game in 2011.

A gruelling schedule of five games in seven days will test the team both mentally and physically, and how they come out the other side will say much for their development as a unit.

The past nine months have not been good to the them, in that time Bermuda have played a dozen 50 overs matches, losing nine of them against the likes of Namibia, Canada and UAE.

Victories came against Cayman, Bahamas, and Argentina, teams that Bermuda expect to not just beat, but thrash out of sight every time they play them.

Given the performances of the past year there is little reason to be optimistic about the outcome of this tour, especially as they lost heavily to UAE five times in July.

And yet the team that travels to the Middle East appears to be an entirely different animal to the one that performed so woefully in Namibia in April, or in Bermuda on occasion over the summer.

Less than half of the squad that will face UAE during the next two weeks have survived from the beginning of the year, although Stephen Outerbridge and Irving Romaine are out injured, and those that remain, alongside the new faces, are all David Moore's men.

The Australian was officially unveiled as the new head coach almost a year ago, and yet immigration issues meant he didn't really take charge until May.

By that time Bermuda had already been thumped by Namibia, a tour Moore had little practical imput into, and his arrival came far too close to the ICC Americas tournament that Bermuda hosted at the end of May for him to wield much influence there either.

General wisdom dictates that it takes at least six months before the tangible effects of a new philosophy and training regime are seen in a team.

So, while not entirely writing off the disappointing end to the ICC Americas tournament in June, this is really the first time that Bermuda will truly be able to judge how well the Australian is doing.

A winter of hard training, has followed a summer where the message about doing the basics well, playing hard, and concentrating continually, seemed to be getting through.

So this trip will show if that message has taken hold, and should also provide a more realistic indication of what the expectations for the team's success in the future should be.

Do supporters have a right to expect the side to beat UAE multiple times, as they must for the tour to be a success, and by extension have a serious chance of finishing in the top four at the Division Two qualifiers in April?

By and large Bermuda have struggled on the international stage for the past three years against the higher-ranked Associate nations.

And while qualifying for the 2007 World Cup will forever be the benchmark against which future teams are judged, it is unrealistic to expect that achievement to be repeated any time soon.

That's even if the competition hadn't been reduced to only ten teams.

At the moment this team is closer to Division Three than Division One, and it may be that the talent simply isn't there. But that would be to ignore the obvious advances made over the summer.

However, coaches, and teams, are judged on results, and while a certain amount of re-building has been necessary in Bermuda cricket, it can't carry on indefinitely.

Success over the next two weeks then will mean one win at the very least, plus evidence that Bermuda can compete on an equal footing with those teams that have easily beaten them in the recent past.

More failure, and the hard questions about the next 12 months will start to be asked with greater urgency.

Bermuda squad: D Hemp, J Anderson, D Bell, D Borden, L Cann, F Crockwell, J Desilva, C Foggo, K Hodsoll, M Jones, S Kelly, K Leverock, D Stovell, R Trott, J West.

Bermuda wicketkeeper Christian Burgess takes a stunning catch to dismiss UAE skipper Khurram Khan in the one day game at the National Sports Centre in July. It was one of the few bright moments in a series that saw Bermuda whitewashed 5-0.

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Published December 30, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 30, 2010 at 8:04 am)

Time has come for Bermuda to get into the habit of winning

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