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‘Cup Match is important but T20 World Cup has power to transform lives’

Captain Delray Rawlins and coach Niraj Odedra with the tournament trophy

Amid the euphoria surrounding the counties and Cup Match, Bermuda’s cricket coach Niraj Odedra wants his players not to lose sight of the ultimate goal of qualification for the 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

While Odedra fully appreciates the value of domestic cricket he has warned that whatever happens in the two days of Cup Match will not change the face of cricket on the island, but their displays in international cricket over the next two months has the potential to transform the game.

Bermuda head into the ICC Men's T20 World Cup Americas Qualifier Regional Final on home soil from September 28 to October 8 with a great opportunity to make a return to the global stage.

“Cup Match and Eastern counties both have a significant historical presence on the island,’’ Odedra said.

“Whatever you perform playing Eastern County or Cup Match, that gets recognition in Bermuda, but if you represent Bermuda and if you perform on a world stage, that basically gives you recognition all over the world.

“What I am saying is that the T20 tournament, which is going to happen in September, if you perform and make sure that Bermuda goes to the World Cup that has more impact around the world than what players can do in Cup Match or Eastern Counties.

“T20 cricket is what the world is going towards and in the coming years T20 will happen frequently on this island.

“It brings in more crowd, brings in more money and the T20 World Cup happens every two years, so you have more chance of going to the World Cup when it comes to T20 than in 50 overs or a Test World Championship, because we don't even have the status to compete.

Odedra feels that some of Bermuda’s players could use the opportunity of a place in the World Cup to springboard their careers

“If you want to play in the Indian Premier League, Caribbean Premier League, South African Premier League or even the Major League Cricket, which is going on now in the United States, you have to perform in the World Cup qualifying rounds or you have to go the World World Cup,” Odedra said.

“That tis the way to get attention and make sure you attract franchise owners. Those owners look for players who perform for the country, not for a club.”

Despite the focus on the World Cup qualifiers, Odedra has called a halt to training sessions for the national team in the build-up to the Annual Classic so as not to overwork his players, and he has taken the opportunity for a short holiday.

“People are playing a lot of cricket now,’’ Odedra said.

“Even with the training sessions I do with the national team, I have to make sure that there is not too much workload on them and by the time the tournament comes, I don't want them to be injured or suffer burnout. You have to obviously balance it, and we have managed to do it really well.

“What we are doing now is that we have a good understanding between both the Cup Match coaches and those involved with the national team.”

Despite the interruption to the team’s training sessions, Odedra feels time is on his side for the qualifiers, with plans already under way to fine tune the players after Cup Match.

“Cup Match will be over and we will still have a month and a half to prepare,” Odedra said.

“Cup Match and Eastern Counties doesn't affect anything other than the clubs maybe think that national training is hindering them.

“However, all the coaches and club members are very intelligent people. They know that their players are going on national duty and they have seen how we organise all our training sessions.

“It’s far better than what they do at the club because we've got more facilities, we've got better equipment and we have better staff.”

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Published August 01, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated August 02, 2023 at 8:06 am)

‘Cup Match is important but T20 World Cup has power to transform lives’

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