Bermuda coach Niraj Odedra to focus on fitness and fielding
Niraj Odedra, the Bermuda coach, has singled out fitness and fielding as key areas the island must improve upon if they are to be successful on the international cricket stage again.
A second-string national team are fresh off a frustrating campaign at the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League B in Jersey where they lost all of their matches.
“Two things we need to work on is player fitness and then convert them into better fielders,” Odedra told The Royal Gazette. “Without fitness I can’t get anything out of cricketers. They have to be athletes first and cricketers afterwards.
“During off-season this year these two things need to be given more importance, and I will make sure it’s implemented. Proper plans from good trainers will be passed on to each player in off-season, and it will be personally monitored by me every week, regardless of where I am.”
Despite enduring another humbling ordeal in Jersey, the Indian coach says there were positives to take away from the tour.
“I am very happy with the overall performance of the team,” he added. “Yes, we need to be more consistent with our line and length but with batting we are now batting long, which is against Bermuda’s attitude over the years.
“Generally batsmen impressed more than bowlers who struggled with bowling good areas on a regular basis.
“Fielding again needs very, very significant improvement. Catching was poor again due to general awareness towards game and lack of fitness.
“We as coaches have to make sure that they get lots of practice and drills to make them better fielders. More drills and basic fielding sessions by making it more enjoyable all the time.”
Among the players that impressed the coach in Jersey were captain Kamau Leverock and fellow all-rounders Charles Trott and Dominic Sabir.
“Some players have surely impressed me, even though we lost all our games,” said Odedra, who is serving a 2½-month stint.
“Charles Trott with his batting and bowling ability, Sabir as a batsman who looked to bat long and Kamau with great all-round ability.”
Trott stroked a joint tour best 58 against Kenya and Sabir 44 against Hong Kong to go with another impressive 39 against the Kenyans.
Leverock led by example as he was the island’s most consistent performer having placed ninth in the batting and fourth in the bowling in the overall competition rankings.
The Rode Park & Lawton Cricket Club all-rounder amassed 463 runs at an average of 30.86 from 15 innings, stroking four fifties and a high score of 62.
He also held his own with the ball, claiming 20 wickets at an average of 31.75 with best figures of four for 62.
“Often when you become a captain, your personal game can suffer,” Leverock posted on his Twitter account.
“These last tours mine have but happy to still do enough to be one of the top players in Challenge League B.”
Another player who demonstrated their promise on the tour was all-rounder Jabari Darrell.
“Jabari is a very promising cricketer but needs to work hard on fitness and making good choices when it comes to healthy eating,” Odedra said.
“But I am sure he will as he takes cricket seriously and wants to serve the nation for long.”
Bermuda completed their campaign with only a solitary point to show from 15 matches.
They arrived in Jersey for the third and final leg of the competition having already been eliminated from contention for the lone qualifying spot from the six-team league.