Desperate Smith forced to bring back Minors
A wicketkeeping crisis has brought Dean Minors out of international retirement for the second time since hanging up his gloves after the 2007 World Cup.
Minors, 46, received a “last resort” call from his close friend Clay Smith, the Bermuda coach, after six other wicketkeepers — Temiko Wilson, Sinclair Smith, Christian Burgess, Chris Foggo, Jekon Edness and Regino Smith — all ruled themselves out for different reasons ahead of this month's ICC World Cricket League Division Four tournament in Los Angeles.
Minors, who came out of retirement for the ICC Americas Tournament in Florida in 2011, played for Tuff Dogs in the Evening League last season, but Smith has no doubt he can still do a job for Bermuda.
“We told him he was one of our last options,” said Smith, who came through the same St George's programme as Minors in the Eighties.
“He takes good care of himself, so I'm confident he can come in and do a respectable job. I have no doubt he can still do a job for us behind the stumps.
“I had some reservations about asking him because of our friendship and what people will probably say. I can promise you that we have reached out to other guys on more than one occasion and got the same answer.
“I know I will probably take some flak, but I have to do what I think is in the best interests of the team. I don't want to go and play against quality opposition with just anybody behind the stumps because it is too critical a position.”
Experience was something Bermuda missed behind the stumps during last month's trip to Toronto when youngster Okera Bascome kept wicket on his first international tour.
“At this level, a missed stumping or catch could cost you the game,” Smith said. “In our last tour we had a Canadian player bowled for 14 on a no ball and he went on to score 120-odd runs.
“You have to limit your mistakes or the batsmen will make you pay for it. So it pays to have a quality wicketkeeper. It can be a game-changing position, more than just a backstop. The wicketkeeper is like the drumbeat of the team, motivating them and he sees a lot from his position.
“I really wanted somebody of quality to fill that position and we had exhausted a lot of our resources trying to get wicketkeepers to come on board. Christian Burgess is overseas and has had a knee operation. We received a physio report about him three weeks ago; he had a flare-up and was advised not to play.”
Captain OJ Pitcher, whose season ended just after Cup Match because of a knee injury, is back in training and will lead Bermuda overseas for the first time. Also in the squad are Stephen Bremar and Kwame Tucker as wicketkeeping cover.
“Dean accepted right away, I told him we were in a crisis situation and didn't want just anybody, I wanted somebody of quality,” Smith added.
“I told him ‘you have about a month-and-a-half to get yourself ready' in terms of physical conditioning.
“He hasn't played a whole lot, but has been playing Evening League for Tuff Dogs and scored 70-odd in the final, although at a lower level.
“He still has the capabilities of producing runs and keeping at a high standard.”
Bermuda will face Oman, Italy, United States and Denmark during the tournament, which runs from October 27 to November 5.
“Dean will be joining us on Saturday for our training session at the National Stadium,” Smith said. “The average age of the team we took to Canada was 22 so Dean coming into that will give us some much-needed experience. We sat down with the players two weeks ago to share the situation with them and his name was one of the names recommended by the players.”