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Bermuda coach Cal Waldron expects to ring the changes for Hong Kong test

Kamau Leverock, seen batting for Bermuda against Cayman Islands in 2020. The Bermuda captain will again be a key man when Bermuda take on a strong Hong Kong team today in Uganda

Changes are inevitable for Bermuda’s third match tomorrow in the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League B tournament as coach Cal Waldron tries to turn things around in Uganda.

Bermuda have suffered two heavy defeats, going down by six wickets to Kenya on Saturday and then by eight wickets to Uganda on Tuesday, both times struggling to reach triple figures with scores of 107 in 27 overs and 95 in 28.5 overs.

Now the coaching staff will make changes they hope will result in an improved performance against one of the stronger teams in the tournament.

“There will be some changes, haven’t decided among the coaching staff of who yet,” Waldron told The Royal Gazette. “But we have two players yet to play [Jamar Stovel and Jalani Richardson] and some that have underperformed thus far.

“So expect some player changes and rotation of bowling duties and batting positions for tomorrow’s game.”

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Waldron admits it has been a tough first two matches for the team which won the toss both times and opted to bat first, falling to heavy defeats as Kenya needed just 19 overs to reach their target while Uganda required only 17.5 overs in the second match.

“It has not been an easy task, we have tried various methods and strategies; from talking, writing on flip charts, to simplifying the game strategies and game plans,” Waldron said.

“I will say, though, although we haven’t performed well, the spirits and attitude among the players is still good and the desire to do better is still present.

“But overall it starts with the individual; am I performing to my best ability? If not, why? What am I doing that is working for me? What am I doing that I need to correct?

“If they can answer these questions then the self-reflection has begun and the process of staying motivated and wanting to be successful will remain ever-present.”

One of the decisions to be made by the coaches is the batting position of Dominic Sabir who batted at No 8 in the first match and then opened the innings in the next. He was seen as a key player in this new-look team that is missing several key players.

“If you look at the matches we’ve played, including the warm-up matches, he has had an opportunity to bat in three different positions, Nos 4, 8 and 1,” Waldron said.

“What we’ve found out that due to the conditions of the pitches and the batsmen within the team, we have had to alter a few players from their ‘preferred or common’ batting slots. The tournament is only using one ball and these tracks are making the ball dark and hard to see very early.

“So within the context of team balance and suiting the batsmen, we’ve made a few adjustments to the batting rotation of some players. Some will bat where they prefer and some won’t; that still doesn’t stop or affect them executing a game plan.”

Waldron insists his thoughts for the Hong Kong match are more on selecting the right team than on what their opponents can bring to the game as they seek their third straight victory.

“I’m really not focusing on Hong Kong,” the coach said. “My interest lies with this team of players playing to the potential that they are capable of achieving. Are they following the batting plans? Are they following the bowling and fielding plans?

“Team Bermuda is my only concern right now.”

Waldron has defended the team’s decision to bat first on winning the toss, even though they have failed to post competitive totals. Indications are the team winning the toss will bat first, as has been the trend since the first day when hosts Uganda and Hong Kong chose to field.

“In these conditions we would be cricket idiots if we win the toss and bowl first,” Waldron insisted.

“These pitches are hard and in perfect condition to bat first. Let’s effectively execute our game plan, put some runs on the board and then defend best what we have scored.

“We are fresh and our bodies and minds are in optimal performance condition. So we are at best to think and perform. If we don’t then we need to identify what prevented us from achieving that.

“The focus should be on what we can control; and for us, that control is over what “we” do once we cross the boundary ropes.“

Captain Kamau Leverock’s 29 in the opening match against Kenya remains the highest score for any Bermuda batsman so far, as the 17 extras was the biggest contribution to the 95 posted against Uganda.

“If we bat first against Hong Kong and achieve our game plan batting, what will be next if they defeat us?” Waldron questioned. “Why was our bowling bad today?

“To that end, as much as we discuss game plans, that decision lies with the captain and I and the team will support his decision.”

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Published June 23, 2022 at 8:19 am (Updated June 23, 2022 at 1:44 pm)

Bermuda coach Cal Waldron expects to ring the changes for Hong Kong test

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