Smith backing Bermuda to qualify
Bermuda's trip to Argentina tomorrow will serve a dual purpose, qualifying for the regional ICC World Twenty20 finals and also helping the team prepare for the World Cricket League Division Four Tournament in Malaysia.
The team will be joined by four overseas-based players Okera Bascome, Kamau Leverock, Chare Smith and Tre Manders, as they spend the weekend preparing for their opening match in the T20 triangular tournament against Argentina on Tuesday. Cayman Islands face Argentina on Monday.
“The players have been working hard over the last couple of weeks and I think they are a little bit anxious right now, really geared up and ready to play some cricket,” Clay Smith, the Bermuda coach, said.
“We do have a chance to see our opponents play first, which gives us a bit of an advantage. We're really looking forward to it; it is a tournament that we should definitely qualify for. The bigger picture is using this time in Argentina to prepare for Malaysia.”
Bermuda will be involved in a six-team, round-robin tournament in Malaysia from April 26 to May 4, with the top two nations gaining promotion.
“[Promotion] is the ultimate goal, really, this is just the stepping stone,” Smith said. “Obviously we don't want to take those teams [Argentina and Cayman] for granted because all it takes is one player to show up and have an outstanding day.”
Bermuda will be captained by Dion Stovell, with Terryn Fray as vice-captain. Both players recently stopped playing football with their clubs in order to commit to the trip. Macai Simmons and Steven Bremar were the other two players involved in the domestic football season.
“In the last couple of weeks we've been fine-tuning, working on some small details,” Smith said. “When the [overseas-based] players came back for Christmas they were able to train with us, but we only had about three sessions while they were here.
“Those players are very much in tune with their clubs in England, getting themselves ready. I've been sending them videos of what we've been doing.
“Although this is a big tournament for us and we do want to qualify, we're also going to use it as a mini camp for Malaysia, to make sure we maximise the time that we have everybody together. That's very critical.”
Smith added: “Unfortunately we're not able to get any practice games, all the more reason why, on our days off, we'll be putting in some extra work in order to utilise our time down there.
“It's going to be a bit of a transition and hopefully we get through that first game because all our work has been done indoors.
“That's my biggest concern. It's a big transition from indoors to out in the middle but once we get past that first game I'm sure we'll go from strength to strength.”
Bermuda will also play two 50-over matches, against Cayman on Sunday, March 4 and against Argentina on Tuesday, March 6. Fray will captain the team.