Mixed bag of results in Barbados
Successful or unsuccessful, is the question one has to ask about the recent national cricket tour to Barbados.
Was the timing of this tour right? Did much planning or thought go into this tour? Did it achieve what it was intended to achieve? These are the burning questions surrounding this tour as it ended with a mixture of results and some favourable and unfavourable performances.
Let’s begin with the positives. The three young players equipped themselves really well and showed that Bermuda cricket bodes well where the future is concerned.
Delray Rawlins, whom I spoke about prior to the tour, had outstanding bowling figures, and I am sure he surprised not only the public but the coaching staff as well. I said it before and I will say it again, his left arm spin bowling, similar to that of Dwayne (Sluggo) Leverock will prove invaluable for Bermuda in years to come.
Next we had the likes of Tre’ Manders who had a creditable first senior tour with the bat, showing he is capable to take a step up to senior cricket. His showing on this tour will definitely put pressure on those who feel they are automatic picks.
In the like, Greg Maybury did well in his first senior tour as well. While he didn’t bowl anywhere near as many overs as I expected, when he did bowl his figures showed that he wasn’t out of his league, quite respectable.
On the flip side of the coin, at this stage of the preparations several others failed to produce anywhere near their best. I am sure that the coaching staff may have some concerns, but if the players and coaching staff have recognised the problems and are willing and capable of solving them then there are no worries. However, several players struggled on what are normally great batting tracks. Having to play at the next level requires mental toughness, a sound technique and a tremendous amount of self-belief. It is quite obvious from the results we still have a lot of work to do before April.
The one thing that has really bothered me about this tour was the announcement of the T20 team that will represent Bermuda next month in Fort Lauderdale. From the 14 names selected four of them are not on this tour for various reasons. Would it not have made better sense to have the tour after the team was selected, plus add one or two other players to the touring party who had a realistic chance of being part of the 50 over squad in April?
I am also concerned as to why Malachi Jones and Lionel Cann were omitted from the tour when we have such an important tournament coming up? We know Stephen Outerbridge had work commitments and we know about David Hemp’s situation in England, but no reason was given for these two players omission. Is it because they both started training late and therefore the selectors and coaching staff didn’t feel they were worthy of a place on this trip.
If that’s the case then how could they possibly be selected for the final T20 team? Should they not have been selected for the T20 tournament, but considered for the 50 over tournament in April providing their attendance improved?
Lastly, it baffles me that coach Arnold Manders and his staff were not given at least two training days where they could have trained the team hard and worked on some game specifics.
Training outdoors has been limited to Bailey’s Bay on a weekend and this would have been the perfect opportunity to have double sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. We know the facilities here in Bermuda are not that great this time of the year, but we failed to capitalise on a perfect opportunity. What a shame!
The next few months however will shape Bermuda’s cricket and it is important that the players understand the importance of sacrificing themselves for their country. A serious commitment needs to be made from now up until the Division 3 tournament in April. This tour showed that we still have areas of our game that needs sharpening up.
Arnold has an excellent coaching staff working with him and the players just have to trust them and believe in them, and want to give their all for them. If they can do this and work extremely hard for the next two months I have no doubt Bermuda will be successful come April.
Quote of the week: A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skills of the others. ~Norman Shidle