Kamau Leverock to lead new-look Bermuda on Uganda tour
A 14-man Bermuda squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League B in Uganda from June 15 to 27, with unavailability of key players forcing the Bermuda Cricket Board to look overseas to fill places.
Interim head coach Cal Waldron will be in charge of the team for the first time, with half the squad playing in Britain, including captain Kamau Leverock. Others are Dominic Sabir, wicketkeeper Najiyah Raynor, Cameron Jeffers, Jamar Stovel, Amari Ebbin and Dennico Hollis.
Allan Douglas Sr, the High-Performance Committee chairman, confirmed that the selectors looked to players overseas after several locally based players were not available for selection.
“It’s seven overseas and seven local players which showcases the fact that, one, we have good numbers abroad; two, they are regularly playing; and three, Bermuda is casting the net a bit farther than they would normally,” Douglas said.
“They are looking at more people, which is a good thing.”
This will be a busy summer for Bermuda on the international stage, with the third and final leg of Challenge League B to follow in Jersey in August.
The other teams are Uganda, Jersey, Kenya, Hong Kong and Italy.
Uganda are leading after the first leg, which was played in Oman in December 2019, with a perfect record of five wins against no defeats.
Bermuda prop up the table with one point gained from a no result in an abandoned match against Kenya.
Douglas admits now is also a good time to begin building the team for the future. “Winning every match in this tournament and every match in the next tournament still won’t get us the No 1 spot, and on top of that you still have to enter a play-off to get through,” he said.
“Bermuda has to decide what can we do for our cricket long-term, so this is a great opportunity. I wish more people had put their hands up and said I’m available. If you want to play for Bermuda and put your hand up, then we welcome you on board.
“This is good for Bermuda cricket. People also need to understand that this is a journey; we’re not going to get it right one time, we’re not going to be world beaters one time. It’s a journey.
“In three years with new people coming in to help with the coaching, the different standards and policies we’re putting in place, you’ll see a change.”
The team will leave for Uganda on June 8 and will play some warm-up matches prior to the start of the tournament on June 15. Douglas is excited about the new players like Raynor, who will be the wicketkeeper along with Ebbin, seam bowler Stovel and spinner Jeffers, who are all in school in Britain.
“Jamar Stovel is a bright prospect,” Douglas said. “But the one I like is the leg spinner Jeffers, who is going to be an exciting player. Najiyah Raynor is a very good keeper; he’s out there playing cricket and hanging around [Delray] Rawlins and sends us his scores every week.
“He’s sending video clips back of the drills he’s doing. The boys away are working at their game; in fact they are the ones who are working the most. The guys who are putting in the work will get rewarded.”
Douglas added: “Watch what these guys are improving on each game, the messages and the scoresheets they send to me as high-performance chairman.”
Hollis, a former Bailey’s Bay player who is based in Scotland, is one of the senior players among the overseas group. “He’ll probably be used more as a batsman on this tour,” Douglas said.
The locally based players include Zeko Burgess, of St George’s, who had an outstanding season in the T20 competition last year, while Malachi Jones brings experience as an all-rounder.
Southampton Rangers have two players in the squad, new signing Dalin Richardson and Charles Trott, while Cleveland have Steven Bremar and Jelani Richardson.
Kamau Leverock (captain, England)
Malachi Jones (Warwick)
Dominic Sabir (England)
Steven Bremar (Cleveland)
Najiyah Raynor (wicketkeeper, England)
Zeko Burgess (St George’s)
Dalin Richardson (Southampton)
Cameron Jeffers (Wales)
Jamar Stovel (England)
Charles Trott (Southampton)
Amari Ebbin (Wales)
Jabari Darrell (St George’s)
Dennico Hollis (Scotland)
Jelani Richardson (Cleveland)