Cricket team’s walloping no surprise
The last couple of weekends have provided more examples of why Bermuda continues to produce outstanding performances by individual athletes but their success is rarely replicated by those in a team sport.
The obvious explanation is that as a country of just 66,000 inhabitants we have no hope of gathering 11 players — less or more depending on the sport — of similar talent who can compete with a country who have far more resources.
But that’s an argument which some would contest.
Last Saturday Nicole Mitchell won the bronze medal in the time trial at the Caribbean Cycling Championships in Curacao. A day later she picked up the bronze in the road race at the same event while her team-mate Zoenique Williams went one better and bagged the silver.
To stake their claims as the second and third best female cyclists in the entire Caribbean region is an accomplishment for which they should be proud. Twenty countries were competing.
A week before that Tyler Butterfield placed seventh in a field of 2,100 at the Iromman World Championships in Hawaii.
There have been countless others who have excelled overseas.
On every occasion that athlete, man or woman, have had to rely on their own work ethic. Talent isn’t enough. You get out what you put in. There’s nowhere to hide.
Team players do hide and hope others can compensate.
And that might explain why our national cricket team’s woes continue.
We’ve got more Houdinis than heros. They disappear when needed most.
Losing has become a habit of almost epidemic proportions, and there doesn’t seem to be an immediate cure.
Throw out all the excuses you want, but three Twenty/20 wallopings in the space of three days by the USA last weekend is hardly ideal preparation for the World Cup Qualifiers in Dubai in less than three weeks’ time.
If the US are outside bets to reach the finals, what chance Bermuda advancing?
Since the World Cup more than six years ago, a succession of coaches — Gus Logie, David Moore and now Arnold Manders — have been bitterly disappointed with performances.
In an interview with Manders in this newspaper this week, it wasn’t hard to read the between lines.
Bermuda’s lack of spinners was a contributing factor but that won’t change between now and the trip to Dubai and that weakness was evident before the team left.
But it’s the same the old story — players play for their club when they feel like it, occasionally turn up for training when picked for the national team and ignore advice to refrain from playing football if an international tournament is on the horizon.
There’s also a lingering suspicion that some players don’t want to be drug tested.
Our cricket columnist Clay Smith, a former national team skipper, has held the opinion that Bermuda could go to the finals in Bangladesh, either as runners-up in their group or through a play-off after the group matches.
Given results last weekend that’s wishful thinking.
Our group consists of Scotland, Denmark, Holland, Afghanistan, Kenya, Nepal and Papua New Guinea.
Group A includes Ireland, Canada, UAE, Namibia, Hong Kong, Uganda, USA and Italy.
All of these countries have much bigger populations but many of them with fewer cricketers.
Can we can beat any of them?
And if not, what’s our excuse?
That’s not the case with football. Our national team will always have to punch above their weight. Almost every FIFA-registered country has more leagues and players than Bermuda.
The media have often been criticised for affording cricket so much coverage when other sports deserve more recognition.
Here at The Royal Gazette we like to think we highlight individual performances, such as those by Williams, Mitchell and Butterfield, but also have to be cognisant of the fact that cricket is our national sport.
Readers will decide whether both the players and administrators are culpable for the sports’ spiralling demise.
Sadly the few cricketers who have and continue to perform at a level which is expected of those in the national team are being tarred by the same brush.
And those who continue to hide should turn to another sport where their shortcomings will be quickly exposed.