Great test run for hopefully a better result next month
There are many who have emerged from the inaugural Bermuda Premier League with great credit. It is true that we did not get the result we wanted on the field, but off it three cheers should go out to everyone who contributed to making this event a big success — the Bermuda Cricket Board, the visiting teams, the groundstaff, the fans and the national team and select players.
Obviously, with anything new, there are always going to be a few hiccups or a few things that you might get wrong, but with another big tournament coming up at the end of the month, this was almost the perfect lead-in.
Tournament director Steven Douglas and his team did an exceptional job to first get the idea up and running, and then put it in motion. Hopefully, this becomes an annual thing that is so popular that it attracts even more outside teams than the two who visited us from the Caribbean. But for the first one, there are always going to be things that you can improve or that you might just not quite hit the mark with. But the main thing is that you learn from it and you keep improving. I know they’ve jotted down a list of things, not necessarily that they got wrong, but the things that they can improve. So, credit to them and credit to the staff and the people and all the volunteers that put in a lot of hard yards to make the tournament a success.
From a team perspective, it was a positive for Bermuda. Losing any final is not ideal, but there were a lot of positives to take from it. Restricting the Antigua team to 130 with them losing only one wicket was one of them. Normally in a T20 when you see a team lose one wicket, they are up around the 160, 170 mark. I thought our bowlers were exceptional throughout the tournament. The wickets weren’t as good as we wanted them to be at certain times, but the weather recently with the storms and the rain hasn’t been ideal.
One of the areas we can improve is the batting. A few of us were a bit light in the tournament, but for me those are things that are easy fixes. We’ve got a couple of weeks in between tournaments where we can get in a few more practice games and a lot of training days.
Among the revelations for us were Cejay Outerbridge and Dominic Sabir.
Cejay has not played a lot of cricket this year, but he has trained very well with us throughout the summer. He showed his commitment to us at the national squad and that’s what we really asked for. Ideally, we would want him to be playing consistently on weekends, but he did have a little injury. The coach is a big fan and you can say he showed why he was selected. I think he’s going to be a big player for us going forward in these next couple of tournaments. Left-arm over, a bowler who swings the ball back into the right-hander and then takes the odd one across is something that you don’t really come across too often. He showed his skill and why he was selected in the team.
Domma really impressed me with the ball and with the bat. We all see him week in and week out at training, so we know he’s capable of putting in performances. But he really impressed me the way he batted against Barbados. There was a maturity for sure, but also the skill that he showed to strike the ball the way he did, find gaps and lead a fightback. It was unfortunate to get run out when he did because I feel like the momentum was just with us. If he bats that last three or four overs, then maybe we get the 25 or 30 more runs that we wanted to put Barbados under real scoreboard pressure. With that and adding spin bowling to his repertoire, he will be a big player for us come the end of the month.
Where there are opportunities for some, there may be disappointment for others. Justin Pitcher went with us to Argentina in March as a converted off spinner, having spent most of his career as a tearaway seamer. But he was relegated to a spare part when selected for this tournament and never got to bowl an over. Some may say it was a selection error when a bowler slated to bat at No 9 doesn’t bowl, but for me it’s just the way the game plays out at times. There was other games where other people didn’t bowl, either, and it was just a case of two particular bowlers going well and having enough overs in the tank from guys who had already bowled. Bringing someone on at a tricky time in the game when they haven’t had an over is probably a risky decision. On another day, things might have run a bit different and we have to throw him the ball for two or three of overs, but it’s just the way cricket goes sometimes.
There have been moments when I have had to hold myself back as a bowler. I always back myself but sometimes you go through a little period where you’re not bowling well. There have been a couple of games over the past month where I haven’t quite hit my straps, but I’m not really too fussed about that. It’s just about working hard and continuing to back yourself and your skills. I’ve never had any doubts about bowling my four overs, if need be, but again some games I wasn’t needed because other people are going well. It’s a bit of a positive sometimes when I don’t have to bowl. Having left my four overs out there, it says the other guys are bowling well and I’m not needed.
This will be a key period between now and the start of the ICC T20 World Cup Americas Regional Qualifier, especially with our opening match coming against Canada on September 30. Just added to the training group are Allan Douglas Jr and Macquille Walker after their encouraging performances for the Bermuda Select XI. I wish them both luck before the final 15 is announced within the next week or so.
It was always going to be difficult for the Select in the BPL after they came together very late — trying to find the right balance and picking the bowlers, batters and what batting order works for them, it was always going to be difficult. But there were individuals in there that showed the skill and showed the ability that they have. The idea of the select team or Bermuda A — whatever you want to call it — gives people a chance to put their hand up and say, “I want to be involved with the first team”. Dougie and Gilly did that.
• Delray Rawlins was talking to Dexter Smith