Bermuda head coach Niraj Odedra upbeat ahead of opener against Italy
Niraj Odedra, the Bermuda head coach, says batting out the full quota of overs will be paramount to the island’s chances of success during the third and final leg of the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League B in Jersey.
Forced to go with a second-string team because of the unavailability of several players, Bermuda were unable to bat into the 30th over in Uganda in June, which played a significant factor in losing all five matches during the previous leg.
“It would be nice to win at least half of the games. But in terms of achieving I have to make sure our batsmen play the 50 overs, which is what they struggled to do in Uganda,” Odedra told The Royal Gazette.
“That would be the main thing. I want them to bat long and get a big total on the board because our bowlers will need something to bowl at as well. So I think it would be good if I can see them play those 50 overs.”
Bermuda arrived in Jersey at the weekend and will begin their campaign today against Italy at Grainville, St Saviour. (First ball is 7am Bermuda time.)
“Everybody is looking very positive and they are sticking to each other,” Odedra added. “Basically everybody supports each other, and that’s how this Bermuda team is going to do well.”
The Indian coach and his fellow coaching staff have put the players through their paces since their arrival in the Channel Islands, placing special emphasis on fielding to help them acclimatise to the conditions.
“There are four or five guys in our team that are already part of some team in England, so they are familiar with the conditions,” he said. “But the rest of them have to get used to the conditions, surroundings and environment.
“The weather in England and Jersey is not similar to Bermuda. I have played a lot of cricket in England and there is always some rain going near seaside. Because of the weather the ball swirls a lot and it’s not as easy as it is in Bermuda, so we worked on our fielding and catching.
“Initially, we found it a bit difficult to get used to the conditions but slowly the more hard work we put at it everybody was coming out all right. We managed 90 per cent of what we wanted to do and I was really happy with that.”
Bermuda’s batters have also spent precious time in the nets making the necessary adjustment.
“When you are playing cricket in any part of England, the ball does swing and seam a little bit more than anywhere else in the world,” Odedra added.
“It will be a challenge for batsmen. But I had a look at the wicket and it doesn’t look that bad. It looks like a good wicket, so it should be fine.”
When asked for an assessment on today’s opponents Italy, Odedra opted to focus solely on his team instead.
“I worry more about my team and what I need to do,” he said. “I hardly focus on who the opposition is or how weak the opposition is because that’s not in my hand.
“I can only concern myself on what I can do, so basically my team; how much intensity and positive energy I can bring in my team. That’s the things I concentrate and work on rather than look at the opposition.”
Bermuda will again be led on the field by captain Kamau Leverock, who plays for Rode Park & Lawton in England.
Five changes have been made to the team that travelled to Uganda.
Bailey’s Bay captain Terryn Fray, Willow Cuts pair Joseph Basden and Ras Solomon Burrows, Khiry Furbert, of Western Stars, and Zeri Tomlinson, of Cleveland, are the new faces in the squad of 14.
Missing from the last tour are Malachi Jones, Dalin Richardson, Amari Ebbin, Najiyah Raynor and Jelani Richardson.
Dennico Hollis, who was in Uganda and originally not selected for this tour, has been drafted in in place of the injured Stefan Kelly.
Bermuda will be playing for pride, having already been eliminated from contention for the lone qualifying spot from the six-team league.