Cricket is not alone in requiring a winter break
With winter just around the corner and the domestic cricket season concluded, this will be my last column of the summer. Thanks to the many readers for all of your support. Many of you have personally voiced your appreciation and for that I say thank you.
Cricket may be over, but my mind cannot help but think about the state of our national game. Some have this negative mindset that there is no hope and that it will be years before our cricket flourishes again. I beg to differ.
Everyone, the coaches, players, umpires, executives and fans, must take responsibility for our demise. We have allowed our national sport to slip to an all-time low, right in front of our own eyes.
My heart aches when I think of the state of our cricket. Do we, the cricket lovers of Bermuda, no longer care? How can our standards and morals just diminish?
During the winter months, clubs have to take a good look at their respective programmes and determine how they can go about regaining structure, quality and pride. Clubs need to really take a professional approach in 2016 if we are to move forward. We can no longer just expect the Bermuda Cricket Board to do everything. Clubs must assume responsibility for their product.
How can clubs improve, one may ask? In some places, it could be as simple as getting a brand new cover so that when it rains, games are not washed out. Or a proper cutter for the pitch. Or, in most cases, better pitch preparation. How many clubs have improved their facilities in the past few years?
Here's something to think about. If someone toured Bermuda ten years ago and came back to Bermuda now, what would they see different at our clubs? I can go from club to club and clearly say that very little has changed in the past decade.
At the end of the day, the reason clubs need to start planning now is so that they are better prepared than the previous season. Last season the league did not start until the final weekend in May, which is unacceptable. I encourage groundsmen to do some preparation work on their pitches during the winter months, which will help to make their work easier come cricket season. Consequently, it would reduce the workload just before the season and pitches can be ready to be played on a lot earlier.
Cricket must start earlier so that we can get the best out of the summer months and out of clubs because many lose players to school in September.
Remembering back in 2005 when the national team were trying to qualify for the World Cup, I emphasised to the players that the future of Bermuda's cricket revolves around the team's success. We qualified and Bermuda's cricket took off. In the years after, umpires benefited, the BCB benefited, clubs benefited and the players benefited. Sadly, the hype was short-lived and our cricket plummeted within ten years to where we are now.
Now it is time for the next generation of cricketers and coaches to step up to the plate and be accounted for. Today's cricketers must stop being satisfied with mediocrity. As a cricketer, you train Tuesdays and Thursdays for approximately two hours each day, then play on Sundays and occasionally on a Saturday. That just seems like a lot of wasted time for those who are not taking the sport serious.
Bermuda needs national team cricketers to lead by example at their clubs and, collectively, every sector that has anything to do with cricket must play its part and to the best of their ability. If we can evidence this change, whereby everyone chips in to improve the standards and get back the respect and love of the game, our cricket can and will blossom once again.
Please remember, though, that it starts at the clubs. They must take ownership of our beloved national sport and provide a safe, structured and enticing environment for all to play and to watch.