Pothas included in strong squad
Bermuda head coach David Moore has called the upcoming MCC Tour a 'great opportunity' for his team to prove themselves at the highest level.
Former Scotland international Craig Wright will lead a strong 14-man squad, that also includes ex-South Africa wicketkeeper Nic Pothas and Somerset's Nick Compton, to the Island next month for a series of 50 over and Twenty20 matches.
The majority of the touring party have played first class cricket in England or overseas and should give Bermuda a stern test as they prepare for the World Twenty20 Global Qualifiers in Dubai next year, and try to regain their place in Division Two of the World Cricket League in 2013.
“It's a very strong squad, it's as strong an opposition as we are going to be playing against,” said Moore. “You've got current first class players, former first class players, it's a great opportunity for our guys to test themselves.
“What's going to happen is we're going to get an opportunity to play against some very good cricketers, and it will be a good opportunity for our guys to present themselves for selection,” he said. “Not only for Dubai in 2012, but further down the track for (World Cricket League) Division Three and Division Two.”
While providing Bermuda's best with the chance to test themselves against some quality opposition, it will also give Moore another opportunity to weed out those players that don't have what it takes at a higher level.
“Every game that they (Bermuda) play at this level shows those guys that can play and those guys that possibly are a little bit out of their depth,” said Moore. “What I'm looking for here is just guys who can perform and play against cricketers of this ilk.”
Young players such as Tre Manders, Lateef Trott, Christian Burgess and Kamau Leverock will all get their chance, as will Glenn Blakeney, whose record-breaking 218 against Flatts has thrust him back into the limelight.
Performances in domestic cricket are just as important for Moore as those at international level, and while players who have done well this season will be given a chance to further their own causes, those that have struggled are likely to be under pressure.
“You look at any national team, any level of cricket, performances week in, week out, count,” said Moore. “If they didn't there wouldn't be any point in us playing domestic cricket.”
Dion Stovell began the year as one of the Island's best batsmen, but his performances for Southampton Rangers have been largely underwhelming over the past couple of months and he will need to prove that is a mere blip and not something of greater concern.
Flatts wicketkeeper Regino Smith is another example of a player who could be involved if he wanted, but his tendency to bowl during league matches has rather undermined his chances.
Once again it won't just be about performance, players will have to commit to the training and show the attitude that Moore has consistently demanded from his players.
Although Bermuda have yet to announce their squad for the two week tour, the coach is expected to pick an expanded group with one eye focused firmly on Dubai and beyond.
“We haven't finalised any numbers or names yet, but we'll be looking at a number of players,” said Moore. “Obviously we want to try and give exposure to those guys who we think are going to be around to 2012 and 2013, and try and look at some of the younger guys who are pushing through to 2013 and look at some of the guys have been performing well in domestic cricket.
“We'll be expanding the squad, there's no point getting an opportunity like this and just using it on 14 guys because things can change.
“When we went to Fort Lauderdale (in July) for the Twenty20 qualifiers, the team we thought we were going to have changed a number of times in the last three to four weeks of selection.
“There were up to a dozen players that we could have selected but we couldn't take for a variety of reasons.”
Geoffrey Boycott will accompany the MCC when they come to Bermuda next month.
The England legend is the club's tour ambassador, one of three officials with the tour party, alongside Mike Griffith, the MCC Chairman of Cricket, who will be tour manager, and umpire John Tythcott.
MCC: Nicholas Compton (Middlesex CCC, Somerset CCC), Andre Geldenhuys (Stellenbosch University, Wimbledon CC), Steven Hobson (Boland, Wimbledon CC) Craig De Weymarn (Shropshire CCC, Bournemouth CC), William Jones (Leicestershire CCC, Hertfordshire CCC, Tring Park CC), Nikolaos Pothas (South Africa, Hampshire CCC), Josh Knappett (Worcestershire CCC, Unicorns, Finchley CC), Paul Muchall (MCC YC), Richard Gilbert (Oxfordshire CCC, Oxford CC), Craig Wright (Captain; Scotland, Watsonian CC), Michael Baer (Lancashire CCC, St Annes CC), Timothy Van Noort (Sussex CCC, Hellingly CC), Andrew Birley (Cheshire CCC, Oxton CC). Geoffrey Boycott OBE (Ambassador; England, Yorkshire CCC), Mike Griffith (Manager; Sussex CCC, MCC Chairman of Cricket), John Tythcott (Umpire).