Bermuda's cricket future at stake in Dubai
The Bermuda national cricket team was selected this week and while there were one or two surprises, I feel the team is well balanced.
As they go on this venture to Dubai to play in the Division Two play-offs, I really hope the players understand what the stakes are and that is Bermuda's cricketing future.
Our cricket livelihood just took a hammering from Government and now it is time to fight back. Remember everyone likes winners so to increase your market value in our country, return home with the trophy. Don't be overconfident because although the names don't sound intimidating, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong and Uganda are all hungry for success as they are climbing up the ladder and believe that they can surpass Bermuda.
If we let our guard down and do not play our best then we are in jeopardy of any one of these teams beating us, but realistically they shouldn't.
Then we have the two big boys in Namibia and UAE who we have struggled against in recent times. We have yet to beat Namibia and UAE have also been a major struggle for us.
The question is how do we overcome them? Simplistically, the answer is we must put them under pressure. Bermuda have to bat first against them and post a total of 250-300 runs and watch them crack under pressure. Of course, our bowlers must bowl well.
Our two key bowlers are going to be Delyone Borden and Rodney Trott. That's not to say that the rest of the bowlers are not important but, as we know, good spinners are hard to play no matter what surface, and down in UAE our spinners should get some assistance from the wickets.
If we are to be successful though, batting will be the key. We must post scores of 250 plus if we are to win this tournament. Can we do it? Yes! In David Hemp we have a captain who has led from the front. He has been in top form on previous tours and hopefully this trend continues.
Chris Foggo and Dion Stovell are two players we will need to see step their game up and score big runs. Both players have been threatening to bust loose, but haven't done so yet. Now is the time mainly because our batting has taken a big blow with OJ Pitcher being unavailable due to schooling and Steven Outerbridge being out due to an injury.
These are two players who definitely would have been in the starting eleven. This just means other players have to grab the bull by the horns and say this is my tournament and I am going to be the one who shines. Take that attitude and go out there and bat like they have never batted before.
One other noticeable player missing is fast bowler Justin Pitcher who I rate highly, but as players we must learn that at the national level you are either committed or you're not. There is no happy medium.
Gentlemen, if I may give you the batsmen one piece of advice, it is that there is no substitute for confidence. Believe that you are good enough to score runs and you will do it. You all have the ability, just gear your mind to believe in yourself.
Winning this tournament assists us in getting closer to our goal of getting back into Division One where we belong. The implications of losing this tournament depending on our final position would throw our cricket into further turmoil and plummet us deeper in a hole, possibly into Division Three . . . somewhere we definitely should not be and do not wish to go.
No pressure, but the onus is on you the players as you have the fate of Bermuda cricket in your hands. Harsh blunt words, but that is the reality. So over the next month I urge and encourage the players to work harder than ever before. Take yourselves on the road nights and put your miles in running because we all know fitness plays a major part. The fitter you are the longer you will be able to concentrate.
Batsmen, find a bowling machine and bat at least three times a week for a minimum of one hour, but two hours is better. Bowlers find a stump to bowl at and bowl on your own or with a partner for 30 to 45 minutes. These are the little things that are going to give you a better chance to achieve your goals.
A training camp is needed for the last month, but again due to financial restraints that is not possible. For scheduled friendly matches take them seriously and look to get yourself in form. Use these games to give you a gauge of where you are and where you need to be.
There is no substitution for dedication and hard work. Settling for second or third place should not be an option. How bad do you want it? What are you willing to sacrifice?
Country comes first and unity will be instrumental in your success. With unity the pressure eases. Forget club cricket for the moment because the more you train together the better chance you will have. Stay focused and committed to the task ahead. Pay close attention to the coach and follow the team's game plan so you are prepared for the battle. Do us proud. I am saying Good Luck, but you don't need it.
Quote of the week: Besides pride, loyalty, discipline, heart, and mind, confidence is the key to all the locks Joe Paterno