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Cann: Expats should be considered for selection

Rolling out the welcome mat to expat workers with first-class experience who are eligible to play for Bermuda could be the answer to the Island’s demise on the international cricket scene.

That’s the opinion of Bermuda stalwart Lionel Cann who fears the Island will slip further down the ICC Associate pecking order unless expats are added to the pool of national team players.

“To be honest we are never going to catch up until we open up the pool,” said Cann, who currently boasts the best strike rate (117.06) in One-Day Internationals (ODI) in the world. “Back in the day we had policeman (from the Caribbean) coming here that used to have first class experience, and that helped to raise the standard of our leagues and national team.

“Who knows ... we could have Sri Lankans and Indians here on work permits that are probably better than some of the Bermudians. We need to open the pool up so these players can play in our leagues and national programme because that’s what other countries are doing.

“These countries are open to more players and are moving so fast that we are being left way behind and we are not going to catch up for a long time.”

Throughout the decades expat players such as Adrian King, Winston Reid, Lionel Thomas, Tyrone Smith, Colin Blades and Saleem Mukuddem have represented Bermuda admirably on the International stage.

Cann said players like Bermuda skipper David Hemp, who was born here but resides overseas, should also be considered for selection.

“Countries like Hong Kong, Denmark and Papua New Guinea have Australians or South Africans who have played first class cricket playing for them,” he said. “They or their parents have either been born there and if they can’t play for Australia or South Africa they play for other countries they are eligible to play for.”

Cann also believes that Bermuda’s woes on the world stage will persist until standards in the domestic leagues are raised and more youngsters gain vital exposure abroad.

“Obviously we need to raise standards in our leagues and also get as many of our youngsters out of here,” he said. “They need to go to places like England and play in those conditions during the summer time. We need at least 15 to 20 more players doing that so that in seven to ten years we will be able to compete at a high level again on the international level.”

Cann returned from Dubai earlier this week where he represented Bermuda in World Twenty20 qualifiers.

Bermuda’s national team, that placed 13th among the 16 countries represented in Dubai with just two wins from nine matches, has come under fierce criticism from various sectors of the community for its performance on tour.

Cann said qualifying for September’s World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka was always going to be a tall order for a team lean on international experience and lacking match practise.

“This was a hard tournament for us and obviously every other team had the benefit of having practise matches and tours and we didn’t,” he added. “As a team I think we needed more practise games and as you saw as the tournament went on we started to click.”

Lionel Cann

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Published March 29, 2012 at 2:00 am (Updated March 29, 2012 at 9:17 am)

Cann: Expats should be considered for selection

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