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Bermuda coach Niraj Odedra set to ring changes against Bahamas

Chance to impress: Jabari Darrell is in line to get a taste of action in Bermuda’s final game against Bahamas at the ICC T20 World Cup Americas Sub-Regional Qualifiers in Argentina today. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Jabari Darrell and Jarryd Richardson could get a taste of action in Bermuda’s final game against Bahamas at the ICC T20 World Cup Americas Sub-Regional Qualifiers in Argentina today.

Having already won the tournament and clinched their spot in the regional final, which the island will host in September, national coach Niraj Odedra is contemplating drafting the pair into his team who are unbeaten going into the match.

“I think this game gives us an opportunity to play players that have not been tested, players like Jabari and Jarryd,” Odedra told The Royal Gazette. “I don’t see any reason why we can’t give them a chance but I can’t say anything final.”

Darrell was named in Odedra’s original squad while Richardson was drafted in as a late replacement for the injured Charles Trott.

As per norm, the Indian coach will announce his squad after inspecting the pitch at Hurlingham Club Ground where they have yet to play.

“I will look at the wicket because the ground we are playing on is a totally new ground, so the wicket will be totally new to us,” he added.

“I would like to give chances to these two players because they have been doing wonderful work from outside.

“I don’t see any reason by looking at the wicket and if I think I can use them in that game that would be really good for the team and those two guys as well.”

Led by newly installed captain Delray Rawlins, Bermuda have been the dominant team having convincingly swept aside Cayman Islands, hosts Argentina and Panama in their previous outings in Buenos Aires.

However, while they are again the firm favourites going into their final match with Bahamas, Odedra is not underestimating the opposition.

“We are not going to take them lightly as T20 cricket is a funny game and they have some good batsmen,” he said.

Kamau Leverock has been the standout performer for Bermuda both with bat and ball.

The all-rounder and former captain blasted a record 103 in the national team’s 60-run win over Panama to become the first Bermudian to score a T20 international century.

While pleased to see Leverock thriving, Odedra believes the best is yet to come from the 28-year-old.

“I can see him scaling new heights and that’s good for the team, that’s good for him and in general it’s good for our cricket in Bermuda,” he said.

The coach is equally as impressed with the way Sussex all-rounder Rawlins has led the team.

“It’s pretty evident how Delray has been handling the team and the good thing about him is he is pretty straightforward when it comes to team meetings,” Odedra added.

“He always backs his team-mates and encourages them to play on their instinct and express themselves in the games.

“He sets really high standards for the team as well and that’s what you want from your captain to be honest.”

Above all, Odedra is thrilled to see his team achieve its primary objective with a game to spare.

“Before the tournament began I had a meeting with them and said I have a special feeling for this tournament, and I guess I was right because we won three out of three,” he added.

“You have some people on island saying that we have been playing weaker opponents, but sometimes when you are playing some strong cricket the opponent may feel like they are weak and actually that’s not the case.”

The coach is also pleased to see the improvements his players have made, particularly in the field and with their fitness.

“The catching and fitness has definitely improved a lot and these are the things I am looking at,” Odedra added.

“I am not looking at how big we are winning. What I am looking at is how well united this team stays and the intensity when it comes to batting and bowling to see the match through. These are the things that have impressed me the most.”

Odedra also took the opportunity to acknowledge the roles assistant coach Cal Waldron, manager Courtney Trott and fitness trainer Kenny Thompson have played in the team’s success in Argentina.

“Thanks to my support staff who have been working with them, especially Cal Waldron and Courtney,” he said.

“Courtney, during the off season, worked really well with them when it comes to fielding and fitness and thanks to Kenny as well.”

The top three teams in Argentina will be joined by Canada for the regional qualifier, to be held in Bermuda from September 28 to October 8 with the winners clinching the final spot in the T20 World Cup.

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Published March 04, 2023 at 7:49 am (Updated March 04, 2023 at 11:58 am)

Bermuda coach Niraj Odedra set to ring changes against Bahamas

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