MCC set to tour Bermuda
Marylebone Cricket Club have provisionally agreed to tour Bermuda next month.
The MCC will arrive on the Island on September 23 and stay until October 7, during which time they are expected to play several matches against Bermuda at the National Sports Centre.
It would be the fourth foreign tour the club have gone on this year, having already visited Namibia, Hong Kong and Greece.
According to the MCC website, the dates of the tour have yet to be officially confirmed, although the fact that the dates are up at all would seem to suggest that the tour is expected to go ahead.
“In planning these trips, MCC works closely with the International Cricket Council,” said the MCC.
“This helps to maximise the tours’ effectiveness in increasing cricket’s international appeal and assisting national teams’ move towards one-day international or even Test status.”
MCC touring teams are notoriously strong ones, with playing members required to be regular first XI club cricketers in the UK’s top leagues at a minimum. Former county cricketers also tend to travel, and Rob Turner (Somerset & England ‘A’) and Min Patel (Kent & England) were part of a squad managed by former England captain Mike Gatting that toured Hong Kong and China in April.
The games against MCC will likely mark the start of Bermuda’s build-up to the Division Three tournament in Dubai in 2013, their first opportunity to return to Division Two of the World Cricket League, and beyond.
Head coach David Moore is expected to turn to the likes of Kamau Leverock, Lateef Trott, William White and several other members of the under-19s as he looks to build the core of a team for the long term.
“Looking at 2013 is a short-term view,” said Moore.
“That’s really our next ICC cycle more than anything else, but you just can’t concentrate solely on 2013, because there’s 2015, 2017, and obviously by those times you want to be nearing or back into the top tier of cricket where you’re actually fighting for positions in the World Cup.
“What we’ve got to look at is a succession plan, we’ve got three or four senior players that aren’t getting any younger and we’ll certainly need to find replacements for them in the future because the law of the jungle says that you can’t be playing when you’re 55 at that level.
“We have to make sure our development plans and succession plans are good enough that when players of the quality of (David) Hemp, (Lionel) Cann, and (Irving) Romaine decided that it is time for them to retire, and I’m not wishing that upon them, but when they do decide to go then we have to have someone who can fill their shoes.”
Bermuda have been accused of being in a constant state of re-building since the World Cup in 2007, but Moore just wants to make sure that the younger players are ready to make the step up when the time comes.
“Re-building in many ways is a bit of a dirty word because it suggests that your development plans haven’t worked well enough in phase one so you’ve got to go to phase two,” said Moore.
“It’s like anything, you look at the Australian team for argument sake. You don’t replace McGrath, Warne, Gilchrist, and those guys just by good development plans, it does take time for guys to assimilate.
“What we’ve got to do is try and get guys who are ready to go when these guys decide that it is time to call it a day.”
Moore is expected to name his latest senior squad in the next few weeks, and some new faces are likely to be seen among the regulars.
Players such as Allan Douglas Jnr, Derrick Brangman and Glenn Blakeney could all be asked to be involved, with Moore hoping that Brangman might end his search for a left-arm spin bowler.
Tre Manders, who has scored back-to-back centuries, and Bailey’s Bay wicketkeeper Sinclair Smith are also being linked to an expanded squad that could be asked to play in as many as six games against the MCC.
Moore’s approach from now is to create a squad of players that are capable of competing against and beating the best.
The squad will be tested against the MCC, and against the best Associate countries in the world at the Twenty20 qualifiers in Dubai next March, before the 2013 tournament comes around.
“The bottom line is that you’ve got to look at the make-up of your side,” said Moore. ”You want a good stable of fast bowlers because we know that fast bowling is a very difficult trade to ply and it is taxing on the body.
“We need good quality spinners and would love one leg-spinner that turns the ball away from the batsman.
“We need a keeper that can bat but also drive the team on in the field, and we need six to eight batsmen who are going to be able to bat under pressure and win us a game from any point.
“Whoever we have in the squad they have to be mentally strong enough to cope with the pressures of international cricket because no matter what people say domestic cricket and international cricket are two completely different beasts.”