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New Bermuda captain Delray Rawlins and Niraj Odedra back team to come out swinging

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Delray Rawlins believes Bermuda players are at their best on the front foot (Photograph courtesy of Sussex County Cricket Club)

Delray Rawlins has his sights firmly fixed on making history in his new role as Bermuda captain.

The Sussex all-rounder is primed to lead a new-look national team in their bid to qualify for the 2024 ICC T20 World Cup and is more than up for the task.

“I am just looking forward to leading the boys out and hopefully making some more history in getting to a World Cup,” Rawlins told The Royal Gazette.

“For me, it’s all about the action on the pitch. I just want the boys to play with freedom and really enjoy themselves as I feel that’s when we are at our best.”

The 25-year-old took over the reins from fellow all-rounder Kamau Leverock, who captained the island at the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League B in Uganda and Jersey last year.

“I’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought about the captaincy before as most young children probably would have,” Rawlins added.

“I’m Obviously happy to be appointed and looking forward to the next 12 months with a lot of exciting things ahead of us.”

Bermuda head coach Niraj Odedra recently guided Indian side Saurashtra to glory in the Vijay Hazare Trophy 50-overs competition (Photograph supplied)

The Bermuda Cricket Board last week announced its 15-man squad for the Americas Qualifiers in Argentina next month with the travelling party containing newcomers Matty Watson and Jacob Albertze, as well as experienced trio Justin Pitcher, Derrick Brangman and Sinclair Smith, who have all earned recalls.

The squad will be trimmed by one on January 26 but all 15 selected players will be travelling on February 15 to the United States, where they will take part in three warm-up matches before heading to South America.

“The warm-up games are very important as we play against pretty strong teams so that will show us where we are at and where we need to improve,” Rawlins said.

“We have all been working hard together to get the right things in place in order for us to be successful. There are a few more things that still need to be done but things are looking good.

“Our task is simple really; we have to win to get to the World Cup, so everything that we are looking to do has one main goal around it, and that’s winning.”

Niraj Odedra, the national coach, has been influential behind the scenes while he awaits his work permit, and he feels Rawlins’ experience at county level in England augurs well for the island’s qualifying hopes.

“Delray has lots of experience when it comes to white-ball cricket and playing with a first-class team in England only makes him a better player,” Odedra said. “If he can lead and pass on the experience, I think that’s very good.”

Odedra, head coach of Saurashtra, one of three Ranji Trophy sides based in Gujarat on the west coast of India, reckons his team has the necessary firepower in its arsenal to meet the challenge.

“I want my teams to play with confidence, with freedom and always being positive,” he said. “I always feel that white-ball cricket, when in doubt, you take the positive option and I feel we have the talent, skill and confidence in the squad to be positive and take the game on.

“I feel like previously as a group we have lacked honesty and being open about what roles are in the team,” he added.

“I want every single player, whether they are playing in the eleven or not, to feel important and understand that they have a role to play in us getting to the World Cup.”

Odedra is also looking forward to the warm-ups in America, which will enable him to have a good look at his squad.

“Those three games in Florida, in my opinion, come at a good time to experiment with different tactics, roles of certain players and find a good balance to give ourselves a chance to play with freedom,” he said. “This would obviously build us up into Argentina.”

Bermuda are set to take on Bahamas, Belize, Cayman Islands, Panama, Suriname and hosts Argentina from February 25 to March 4, with Canada added into the mix alongside the top-three teams for the Americas Region Qualifier Finals, which will be held in Bermuda from September 28 to October 8. The winner of that tournament will clinch the last World Cup qualifying spot in the region.

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Published January 19, 2023 at 7:52 am (Updated January 20, 2023 at 8:22 am)

New Bermuda captain Delray Rawlins and Niraj Odedra back team to come out swinging

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