Outerbridge: National team’s mentality has to change
New cricket captain Stephen Outerbridge is challenging his Bermuda teammates to change the way they think about international cricket as the country prepares to host the six-team Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 3 World Cup Qualifying Tournament.
Outerbridge was speaking as the Bermuda Cricket Board President Lloyd Fray and CEO Neil Speight unveiled the Division 3 shield that the teams will battle for during the week-long tournament which sees Bermuda playing their first and last matches (against Uganda and USA) at the National Stadium and two others against Oman and Nepal at St David’s. Three grounds will be used for the tournament and Bermuda’s lone match at Somerset will be against Italy on May 2.
Just off a gruelling ICC Americas T20 Qualifying Tournament in Florida, the Bermuda national team players will resume training this weekend in preparation of the upcoming tournament which sees the national team taking on Jamaican team Melbourne Cricket Club in three 50-over matches on April 13, 14 and 16 at Somerset. Bermuda will also play a warm-up match on April 22 against Oman, one of two teams arriving early for the tournament and Outerbridge is urging his players to get ready mentally.
“Too much of the time we take our club mentality into international cricket and that hampers our ability to perform at our optimum peak that we need to compete against these international teams,” said Outerbridge who will captain the team for the first time on home soil.
“The standard in domestic cricket is a few stages below international standard and the things that we do in domestic cricket does get exposed when we move onto the international stage.
“My challenge to my team is to adjust their minds and change their mindset. That’s been the talk for the two weeks in Fort Lauderdale and hopefully that is taken on board as individuals and as a team.
“It was a great experience and we needed to be around each other. What I see as the things we have to work on is not so much our skills — we all know we have the ability — but it is what’s on top of our shoulders that needs some adjusting.”
Bermuda saw quite a bit of the United States during the Florida trip, losing to them four times before closing out the trip with a hard-fought victory as former captain David Hemp scored a century. But Outerbridge warns the other teams will be tough, too.
“I think all five teams are going to be quite difficult, as you see in world cricket today there are no easy fixtures in international games,” said the captain.
“No matter where we play a team, whether the first or last game, it is going to be a challenge for the Bermuda side and we just look forward to the opportunity that has presented itself in this tournament. Yes, there is a lot at stake but I’m very confident that we’ll do well and reach our ultimate goal and that is to qualify for the 2015 World Cup.”
The gruelling schedule in Fort Lauderdale which saw the team playing eight T20 matches in six days, followed by three 50-over matches, left many Bermuda players with minor injuries or bruises towards the end of the tour.
“As far as I know everybody is shaping up pretty good after the hectic schedule, but it’s just part of the job of international cricket,” said Outerbridge. “We got a week break and will be back at it on Saturday to see where guys are, but I’m very confident we have picked a strong team for this tournament.”
ICC stipulations won’t allow the BCB to release the squad until mid-month, Speight explained.
“There is a lot to play for in terms of progression from this tournament and I know the players have been working very hard and I’m urging everyone to come out and support the team by the thousands,” said Speight. “We’re very happy to see Bermuda has been drawn in the weekend games at National Stadium and kicking off their campaign on April 28.”
Added Fray: “In the last four years this is probably the most important tournament for our side as the top two countries will maintain their ability to secure ODI status, with a spot in the ICC High Performance programme and the ultimate prize a place in the ICC Cricket World Cup.
“I am very pleased with the guys’ progress to date and I truly believe that the trophy we have here will be in our hands soon. The executive have approved a significant investment in the preparation plan which has already reaped initial dividends in the form of qualification to the global qualifier in Dubai later this year.”
All-rounder Malachi Jones will play a key role for Bermuda and is looking forward to playing on home soil. “I’m feeling quite confident as an individual and I think the team as a whole is in high spirits after leaving Fort Lauderdale with a win against the United States,” said Jones.
“We are confident now that we have the players to beat teams like the United States, but one of the most important games is going to be the practice game against Oman leading up to the tournament when hopefully we can go forward with a little bit of momentum.”
Bermuda v Uganda (National Stadium); Italy v Oman (St David’s); Nepal v USA (Somerset).
April 29: Italy v USA (National Stadium);
Bermuda v Oman (St David’s); Nepal v Uganda (Somerset).
April 30: Rest/reserve day
May 1: Uganda v Italy (National Stadium);
Bermuda v Nepal (St David’s); Oman v USA (Somerset).
May 2: Nepal v Oman (National Stadium); USA v Uganda (St David’s);
Bermuda v Italy (Somerset).
May 3: Rest/reserve day
Bermuda v USA (National Stadium); Nepal v Italy (St David’s); Uganda v Oman (Somerset).
May 5: Final (National Stadium); 3rd v 4th place playoff (St David’s); 5th v 6th place playoff (Somerset).
May 6: Teams depart
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