Cricket is moving in right direction, says Pitcher
Bermuda cricket is slowly getting back to where it was in years gone by but players have to learn from past mistakes, according to former national player OJ Pitcher.
Hosting the recently completed Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 3 tournament, Bermuda finished fourth a result good enough to keep them in the division.
While their inconsistency to put together a string of solid performances was a contributing factor to the side not gaining promotion and advancing to the next round of World Cup qualifying, Pitcher sees a bright future ahead.
“I personally feel that Bermuda is moving in the right direction as we are looking more to the future with the likes of youngsters such as Greg Maybury, Delray Rawlins and Tre Manders, all of whom performed well during the tournament and as they gain more experience at a higher level their game will develop even more.
“With the inclusion of a few more of our top players on the Island alongside these youngsters and the current squad, Bermuda should qualify for Division 2 the next time around, giving ourselves another shot at trying to make the World Cup again.”
Pointing out the key areas where the squad need to improve, the St David’s and St George’s Cup Match batsman noted that the quality of the wickets and the players’ ability to put their heads down was important.
In the recent competition, Bermuda were largely inconsistent, posting a lowly total of 106 all out against Nepal at Lord’s before posting a mammoth total of 284 against Italy at Somerset Cricket Club.
The veteran was on hand to see a handful of the matches and saw the pros and cons in each performance.
“Whether it be at the top of order and building a foundation for those behind you, or the middle order pushing the score along, it is important for those in the side to understand the situation and go about the job in the right manner,” added Pitcher.
“A concern throughout is the quality of most of our wickets on the Island. If wickets are not playing up to standard, the standard of the game will not improve because one minute the ball is shooting low and the next minute one is popping up from a good length.
“Bermuda has been like that for a number of years now. One day we seem to put everything together and beat top teams then the very next match we underperform.
“The main issue I saw in the game against Nepal was that we were losing wickets far too rapidly after being 70 odd for three and then 106 all out. Instead of playing the ball on it's merit and trying to bat the overs out, some of our players went for the big shots which caused them to lose their wickets.
“The wicket was turning a lot making it difficult to bat on as these teams had three or four quality spinners, so we should have made sure we kept wickets in hand no matter what the run rate, then we could have accelerated the run rate in the final 10 overs by having the wickets in hand. This would have at least giving us a chance of getting to 200 runs as we have some big hitters to come at the end.”
Although he was rooting on his international teammates, Pitcher made no qualms as to where he and a few of his St David’s teammates should be.
“It's always hard as a player watching from the sidelines, especially when you know the team should be performing better as we are very talented. I have always been a person who is more nervous on the sidelines or once I am out as I know that I am not in control of things out in the middle.
“Many people have asked whether me and a few other of my St David's teammates have any intention of returning to the set-up which has inspired us to show the interest in being involved with the squad for the future.
“I have heard many comments from people throughout the Island about the team and what people need to realise is that we are playing against teams that consist of professional cricketers who are playing the game almost every day while our players have to work then go training a few times a week, and that's only if it is an international commitment coming up. So people need to stop expecting miracles and be realistic about things.
“Natural ability can only take you so far. We need to start looking at having our top players playing competitive cricket all year around if we want to get to that next level.”