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Players hold island’s fate in their own hands, says Smith

Promotion bid: Smith, the Bermuda coach, has been satisfied with his team's training attendances

Clay Smith, the Bermuda head coach, is encouraged by his team’s initial preparations for this year’s ICC World Cricket League Division Four tournament.

However, the former Bermuda captain said there is still “room for improvement” as Bermuda look to climb up the ICC Associate divisions.

Smith, who was appointed as head coach last December, is presently putting players through their paces at indoor training sessions at BHS gymnasium as the team prepares for this year’s tournament.

“So far the turnout has been quite good from the players,” Smith said. “We’re probably averaging about 15 to 16 players a session, so I can’t complain so far. But there’s still room for improvement and there’s a lot of work to be done in a short time.”

The Bermuda Cricket Board named a 54-man training squad after Smith’s appointment.

“Initially it was a squad of 50 but at least 12 players are overseas, which leaves you with at about 35 to 40 players locally, and from that realistically you’re only going to get about 20 to 25 of them who are going to train the way a national player should,” Smith said.

Smith said there is a standard in place that each player must achieve in order to make the cut.

“We have in place criteria for players,” he added. “We are looking to reduce the numbers by the end of June, so basically between now and then players know they have to meet a minimum 65 per cent training attendance.

“Some of the players are actually putting themselves behind the eight ball and will find themselves having to catch up to make sure they require this percentage.”

Smith remains upbeat about Bermuda’s chances of gaining promotion with the players at his disposal.

“I definitely think we have enough quality to get us out of this division, but a lot is going to revolve around the players’ work ethic and their commitment,” he said.

“We have some players overseas in England that are training professionally as well, so they will add some quality to the team.”

Smith is also pleased with the resources the BCB’s high-performance committee, led by Gershon Gibbons, has made available to help the team’s promotion bid.

“The high-performance committee has been working extremely hard to assure us that we have our facilities in place,” Smith said. “I’m quite happy with the facilities that we have right now.

“We have access to BHS pretty much when we want it,” he said. “Gershon has done a lot of work to try and sort things out with National Sports Centre. I think they have reached an agreement were we will be having access to there as well in another month or two when the weather gets a little bit warmer.”

Smith, the first batsman to score three centuries in Cup Match, hopes to stage at least four trial games “so players will have an opportunity to perform and stake a claim through their performances” before the squad is selected.