Beware a kneejerk reaction to struggles in Uganda
The Bermuda tour to Uganda for the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League B had to be a chastening experience for the lads, but they should neither give up on playing at this level nor be readily discarded.
It’s a difficult place to be in when you're losing and you're trying to find ways to improve your performance individually and as a team. Sometimes you could go right in your shell and go quite defensive, try to consolidate and take things long. Hopefully, this tour gives those guys a chance to reflect on where they could get better and push to improve, and come back stronger in the next one in Jersey.
We’re not in contention to go through to the next phase, but there’s no pressure on it — just go and play with freedom, and I would always say, go the opposite way and go real positive. It’s tough and these things happen in cricket, but if it’s a young group together, hopefully they can stick together and turn it around.
I would love to be with the lads in Jersey but I’m afraid my situation is still uncertain. I’ve had a conversation with cricket board president Arnold Manders, but that’s about it at the moment. He actually just called me just to see how I was doing, but we haven’t really spoken about that tour specifically yet. It’s a month away, but it’s still quite a long way because in the cricket world things change very, very fast. I can’t say yes and I can’t say no. Obviously, I enjoy playing for my country and always want to be out there trying to win games for Bermuda. But at this moment, it’s not a yes or it’s not a no, so we just have to wait and see.
Niraj Odedra is a great appointment, even if it is short-term at the moment. He’s got a lot of experience, knows the game well and, again, it’s a fresh new face coming in with new ideas and new ways to go about it. It might give some of the young guys a boost. It also is just an opportunity to show your skills and show your talent to a new set of eyes. Cricket’s a really small world, and there’s a lot of young guys that are there at school overseas in the UK or wherever and I’m assuming that he’d know someone or be able to contact someone in reference to potentially giving someone an opportunity at a higher level. So it’s nice to see for Bermuda; it’s a nice opportunity and hopefully it can be a nice positive step in the right direction.
Meanwhile, our quest to return to Finals Day in the Vitality Blast has been ended after that loss away to Kent. It was tough to get knocked out and with two games left to not have a chance to get to the next phase. It was nice to get a few runs and a couple of wickets as well, and you just keep trying to put in performances. There’s two games left, so it’s still two opportunities to get runs and take wicket again. We’ll just give it a red-hot crack on Friday [against Essex] and Sunday [against Hampshire] and hopefully there will be positive results for us.
The man-of-the-match performance against Surrey — 34 not out with three fours and three sixes, and two for 36 with the ball — definitely gave me a lot of confidence. I took the confidence from the game before in the County Championship game when I got a few runs [57 in second innings of five-wicket defeat by Glamorgan], so my confidence has been building pretty nicely. I’ve been practising pretty well and preparing well; just trying to give myself the best chance to score runs and be successful. It was rewarding getting it against a good side and contributing to a win.
I do understand those who see me from a distance getting frustrated when I show spurts without going on to make much bigger scores. It’s one of those things, but I’m still young and in the grand scheme of things, I probably haven’t played a lot of red-ball cricket. It’s definitely something that I’ve looked at within my game and will look to improve. The longer you’re there, the more chance you give yourself to score more runs. Sometimes you get a decent ball, sometimes something doesn’t go your way, and sometimes you get a lot of luck and a chance might go down off you or you might get a couple of skinny ones past the slips — and it might be your day. I just feel like I’ve been building up nicely, batting nicely, feel like I’m hitting the ball how I want to be and I’m moving how I want to be. So when I get my chance and when it’s my day, I just definitely got to cash in and go big.
We owe it to our fans to finish our T20 season this weekend with a bang. They would have been disappointed to see us eliminated but nevertheless Hove is sold out for Friday night against Essex.
As long as I’ve played T20 down here, the crowd have been amazing, especially on a Friday night. They call it the Shark Tank and it’s a pretty special place to play when they’re right behind you. I think that game against Surrey, having them behind us when Surrey looked like they were going to win it, it just gave us a little bit extra. It definitely does help when you are trying to defend a total and every wicket you get, they go up large. It’s always good. It's always good for the club as well to keep selling out games. Hopefully, we can just go out there, play with for a lot of freedom. It's not anything on it in terms of trying to qualify. Just go and entertain and put on a show.
• Delray Rawlins was talking to Dexter Smith