Bermuda bound for Antigua to contest delayed T20 World Cup qualifier
Bermuda and seven other teams from the Americas are hoping it will be third time lucky as they prepare to travel to Antigua to compete in the ICC T20 World Cup Americas Qualifier from November 7 to 14.
The tournament, a pathway to the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia next October and November, has twice been postponed because of the Covid pandemic, first in August 2020 and then in July this year when Canada was unable to host the event.
Bermuda, who will compete with Argentina, Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Cayman Islands, Panama and the United States in two groups of four, have 18 players in training before the selection of a 14-man squad to travel to the Caribbean.
Cal Blankendal, executive director of the Bermuda Cricket Board, admits it is a challenging task of following Covid protocol, which requires all visitors to Antigua to be vaccinated.
“We are managing all of our protocols under the Covid-19 regulations for the safety of the players, and also adhering to all government guidelines,” Blankendal said yesterday.
“We have a squad in training, keeping in mind that the training squad is subject to all players being available at the time of departure based on any government regulations for pre-departure testing.”
Bermuda are also considering some overseas-based players for selection such as Delray Rawlins and Kamau Leverock.
Bermuda had a summer of mostly T20 cricket because of Covid restrictions which prevented another full season of 50 overs cricket. Competition was keen as three teams, champions St George’s, Southampton Rangers and Somerset, all finished level on points in the Premier Division title race which was decided on run rate.
Bermuda are expected to be one of the favourites in the T20 Qualifier along with Canada and the US. Two teams will advance from the Americas group to another round of qualifying in early 2022, from which two teams will advance to the World Cup.
“Training started in late August, but of course training was stopped due to restrictions in September,” Blankendal said.
“Training resumed just after government advised that you can train with up to 20 people. Anything more than 20 would need a large-group exemption but we had less than 20 due to five or six being overseas.
"Training is four days a week and we’re doing as much as we can out of season and without having any competition due to Covid restrictions.“
The teams are required to be in Antigua by November 3, four days prior to the opening matches.
“With them being out of season, and their own Covid restrictions, norms have changed,” Blankendal said. “We can’t move around and play practice matches against local teams because we are going to be in an ICC bubble with only vaccinated persons.
“We will look to get there as early as possible, subject to any further changes from the Government of Antigua.”
Kamau Leverock (captain)
Rodney Trott (vice-captain)
Allan Douglas Jr