Help us to help you, Douglas tells clubs
Clubs have been urged to play their part in helping to improve the quality of cricket in Bermuda and, by extension, the national team.
Allan Douglas, the chairman of the coaching committee, and national coach Arnold Manders shared ideas with club representatives this week when the Bermuda Cricket Board Strategic Plan 2014 was unveiled.
“Bermuda cricket isn't going to be strong until we get our club cricket strong,” Douglas told the six club representatives in attendance. “If you understand the big picture of where the Board is trying to go, then you can understand the roles you guys play as managers, coaches and captains.”
The Board has some specific goals for the national team in the next few years and recognises the role that clubs will play in achieving those goals. “We're going to try to qualify for the World Cricket League Championship 2017-18 and to finish in the top two in the World Cricket League Division Three in November 2014,” Douglas said.
“If that is in November, then you can understand why we are trying to get things done now, and one of the things I'm looking to do is have the national coach go to the clubs. It helps the national programme but it also helps your team. In order for us to get to this tournament in November and be successful, our players have to do a lot of work outside of a month or two before.”
The strategic plan also involves developing the Island's young players at both club and national level with the aim of qualifying for the Under-19 World Cup in 2016. “The goal is to reduce the gap between domestic and international cricket,” Douglas said.
The Board returned domestic cricket to two divisions for the upcoming season, with the specific intention of improving club cricket, which has declined over the years.
“Most of the clubs wanted it and they believe it is going to help and we need everybody's support to make it work,” the former Bermuda wicketkeeper and coach said. “It's important that we work hard and make it a success. I don't have all the answers, but all of you love the game — that's why you're here — and I will look for answers from you so that we can take this sport to another level.”
As he began his presentation, Manders showed his disappointment at the turnout for the meeting, with fewer than half the clubs represented. “This is our problem; why we are where we are,” Manders said. “I'm not pulling any punches.”
Manders took over as national coach from David Moore last year and in November saw the team fail to qualify for the World Twenty20, which begins in Bangladesh next week, after some inconsistent performances in the United Arab Emirates. Again he lamented the inability of Bermuda batsmen to play quality spin bowling.
“We had two months to prepare and we trained three or four nights a week and I think we did better than we thought,” Manders, a former Bermuda player, said. “When I thought about how much time the other teams had to prepare compared to us, I think we did well. We beat Scotland who qualified for the World Cup.”
Manders stressed the importance of doing well in the Division Three Tournament in November, when, if Bermuda are promoted, there will be more funding for the Board to develop the academies and national teams. He also said that it was important for national team players to develop a better mindset for international cricket, which can start in the clubs.
“We're playing in a match, the batsmen are out there in the middle and the guys on the side are not even looking,” he said. “As coaches, we need to ensure that these players are paying attention and knowing what is going on out on the field.
“Otherwise, internationally you are done right from the start because it is not like in Bermuda where you are going to get two or three bad balls in an over.”
Manders also spoke of the importance of bowlers learning to bowl to a plan, which could be taught at club level, and even for fielders to learn the proper methods of throwing, so as to prevent shoulder injuries.
“I want what we're doing at the senior level to be done at the domestic level, so that it becomes easier for the player coming up to the national level and easier for us, the coaches,” Manders said. “The main thing I see here is ‘controlling the controllables', when players realise how they can determine their own performances by being in control of themselves. Then they can become more consistent and effective players.
“If we can do that 25 per cent better than we do it, then we win matches. Instead, they are worrying about what the umpires are doing, where the wind is coming from, what some player is saying to them, anything that they don't have control over, which should be left alone.
“You don't have any control over the size of the boundaries or that when you got to a match that one part of the wicket is wet. You have to find a way to exercise your skills to the best of your ability, regardless of the outside factors.”