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Douglas: drug taking a blight on national team

It is two years since Bermuda slipped into Division Four of the World Cricket League and Allan Douglas Sr, who coached the team during the ill-fated trip to Malaysia, says serious issues with the national set-up still exist.

Douglas admits he was surprised that wicketkeeper Dean Minors had been invited back to train with Bermuda ahead of the upcoming trip to Los Angeles for the Division Four tournament.

He questions why the island's wicketkeepers are suddenly not available.

“We've always had an abundance of wicketkeepers and I thought we had an abundance of wicketkeepers who were available,” said Douglas, himself a former Bermuda wicketkeeper.

“There could be a host of reasons, but to have so many guys unavailable begs the question what were we doing during all those months of planning?

“How thorough was our planning, that we've come down to the eleventh hour and we don't have any of the ‘keepers available who were in the squad.”

Douglas, who was removed as a board member of the Bermuda Cricket Board shortly after the team's relegation into Division Four, is saddened by the decline of cricket in Bermuda, which was reflected in the national team's performance in Malaysia in 2014.

Eleven years ago, cricket was on a high after becoming the smallest country to qualify for the World Cup in 2007.

Minors, one of the senior members of that team, was called out of retirement by Clay Smith, the Bermuda coach, to fill a wicketkeeping void.

“I don't have a problem [with Dean], if you don't have anybody and someone answers the call, it's a good thing,” Douglas said. “He's certainly capable. If you look at cricket in Bermuda right now, the ones getting the wickets and getting the runs are the older guys.

“Who dropped the ball? The public and the sponsors need an answer. They [the BCB] should come out and let people know so that people don't talk and guess and put the Board in a bad light. They might be doing a whole lot of things good.”

The BCB will soon announce the 14-man squad for the October 27 to November 5 tournament, which also features Oman, Italy, the United States and Denmark.

“It's not going to be easy to go up,” Douglas said. “You want to have the players to get us up and help us stay up. What plan do you have for long term?”

A number of players have long since made themselves unavailable to represent their country, some not available or just not interested, and some do not want to take a drug test, which still remains a taboo subject.

“Some of the guys smoke and they aren't going to stop that,” Douglas said. “It's a national issue, real, and people don't want to address it.

“I think it's a huge problem, the biggest problem we have. The question has to go back to the clubs, do you have a programme that's conducive to development?

“Some players like the game just enough to play, but are not willing to change [their behaviour]. They don't see it as anything harmful, with some [US] states and other countries legalising it. So how can you convince them that there is something wrong with it?”

Douglas admits he does not envy Smith the task facing him, trying to select a squad of players committed to representing their country.

“I told him the other day ‘I completely understand, you know',” Douglas said. “I understand what he's dealing with. It's not the coach, all the coaches have had their challenges.

“I don't envy Clay one bit, he has a tough job on his hands. What you need is an administration that understands the magnitude of the problem and will work diligently to improve it. That's what you want, and you want the clubs to back it. It's not happening.”

Douglas said he enjoyed doing some coaching in Nevis in June where he was joined by Grant Smith and Aaron Adams for two weeks.

“I found great value in that, I totally enjoyed it and the children were so much fun,” he said. “We're hoping to go a step higher next year. I had some good feelings for what I did. There was no money in it; we did it because we wanted to.”

Serious issues: two years after Bermuda's relegation to Division Four and Douglas says that much is still wrong with Bermuda cricket

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Published October 12, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated October 12, 2016 at 8:24 am)

Douglas: drug taking a blight on national team

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