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‘They are expressing themselves better than they have in the past’

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Niraj Odedra impressed with Bermuda’s batsman during T20 qualifiers (Photograph supplied)

Bermuda cricket’s head coach Niraj Odedra has expressed his delight at the two huge wins posted by the country’s T20 squad in their opening World Cup qualifying matches.

IOdedra has been impressed by the way his batsman have attacked the opposition bowlers on their way to posting victories of 96 runs over Cayman Islands on Saturday and 110 runs over hosts Argentina on Sunday.

“Things have been going really well,” Odedra said.

“Batting is what we have been concentrating on, the focus will be on that only and with Delray coming into the side, it’s only going to get stronger. I was quite confident about it, quite positive and the boys have done very well.”

With Bermuda’s top four in the batting line-up - Kamau Leverock, Tre Manders, Terryn Fray and Delray Rawlins - all hitting half-centuries during the course of the first two matches, the team have been a pleasure to watch, but Odedra is also confident his players will step up when their backs are against the wall.

“They are expressing themselves better than they have been in the past,” Odedra said.

“I have been telling the guys to let their instincts rule. If your instinct says that ball is there to hit, then go with your instinct. Fearless cricket is good but you have to have a bit of responsibility as well.

“We’ve been winning everything and it’s going very well but there will come a time when we are under pressure. It happened a little against Cayman, we were put under a little pressure between the eighth and the 14th over in our first match but because we had Delray’s county cricket experience and his positive approach, we came out of it.

“At those times, somebody has to step up and show character to do that in every match. That’s really good, you know, that we managed to do it in that situation. In T20 cricket, there always comes a time when even good teams and good batsman feel pressure and that’s when the real character comes out.”

Niraj Odedra (right) with the Ranji Trophy after success in prestigious one-day competition

With Bermuda having won the toss and chosen to bat first in both their matches, the bowlers have had a relatively easy time of things defending big scores but Odedra is also impressed by the way they have approached their work.

“In T20 cricket, once you bat first and your batting unit puts up a huge score, you know that the opponents are always going to be under pressure to chase and score runs,” he said.

“Most of the teams here depend heavily on one or two batsmen and if you get them out, then it just becomes more difficult. But that’s exactly what we did, early dismissals in the first six overs help a lot.

At the elite level, what you do off the field between matches is nearly as important as what goes on inside the rope and on Monday Odedra was overseeing a crucial recuperation session

“The guys are just having a nice pool session now to relax,” Odedra said. “They don’t have ice baths or anything where we are staying but these things are really important for the recovery process.”

With Monday an all-important rest day ahead ahead of Tuesday’s match against Panama and Bermuda already in pole position to qualify for the next stage of the competition on home soil in September, Odedra will resist the temptation to tinker with the team.

“I like to give batsman enough chances regardless of whether they are scoring runs or not,” Odedra said.

In this case, in the first two matches our batsman have scored plenty of runs but I am not going to take anything lightly. I am going to go with the same side, with full force and I would have done that even if we were struggling for runs as I think that is what’s going to work for Bermuda.

“What we might do at certain times is move Terryn [Fray] to number four and Delray comes in at three if there are less overs to go but if somebody gets out early, we’ll keep Terryn in there to give that stability and he is one of the better batsman against spinners. You will see the same batting line-up and I’m not going to change much.”

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Published February 28, 2023 at 7:47 am (Updated February 28, 2023 at 4:35 pm)

‘They are expressing themselves better than they have in the past’

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