The Royal Gazette mastheadBermuda's most seasoned professional but paradoxically the newest recruit to the Island's national cricket team, David Hemp is acutely aware his international debut on Sunday will be a case of 'everything to lose and nothing to gain.'

The skipper of county side Glamorgan has played all around the world, against and with some of the game's finest, and as such will carry a huge burden of expectation when he finally gets to represent his country of birth.

Yet while acknowledging the pressure that accompanies his long-awaited debut, Hemp insists he's more excited than nervous about the challenge that lies ahead. An opportunity to play in a first World Cup towards the end of what has been an already impressive career is one that he doesn't intend to

squander. 'To me, especially at my age, going on 36, this gives me a new lease of life, the opportunity to play for Bermuda, and I'm really excited about it,' said Hemp as he emerged from a session in the hotel gym yesterday afternoon.

'I understand I'm under pressure, it's something I have to deal with, it's part of the job. It comes with the territory and I've had to deal with it in county cricket, it's not new. You can't let these external factors affect your game. From my point of view, all you can do is through the right preparation give yourself the best chance before the game and during the game. With a little bit of luck there's no reason why I can't succeed.

'Ultimately, I realise the expectation is that I should score runs, but it only takes one ball to get you out no matter who you are, Lara, Tendulkar whoever. I'm going to give it my best shot and I've prepared as I would for any other game. I've tried not to put myself under any undue pressure.

'But if I don't perform people are going to question my ability, I know that and I understand that.' Hemp's role in the team has yet to be determined but it's almost certain he'll be high up the order, perhaps even in one of the two opening slots.

And with some experience as a right arm medium pacer he may also be called upon to join the attack.

'Nothing's been decided yet,' he added. 'We have a team meeting tomorrow night and over the course of the next few days we'll decide where I'll best fit in. I'm just happy to be playing.' Having followed Bermuda's progress from across the Atlantic over the summer, however, he's aware that one of coach Gus Logie's biggest problems has been putting runs on the board early in the innings.

'The top of the order, it's not an easy place to bat especially with these white balls flying around. They tend to move a lot more than the red. It's been difficult for Bermuda because the established players they've got are almost all middle-order players.

'Things go in cycles. It was the same at Glamorgan when for a couple of years we couldn't find any openers and we had to mix and match. Now we seem to have found players to fill that role. Maybe that's the case here. It takes time to get used to specific roles.' As for his bowling, he adds:

'I've actually bowled more since I got back to Bermuda than I did all summer. It's something I used to do up to about the age of 21 when I started to play regular first team cricket. Since then I've occasionally been used, so if I'm asked to do a job for Bermuda I'll try my best.' While Hemp's career has regularly taken him to South Africa and the sub-continent, he's never played in Kenya.

But he's found himself up against some of the country's top players during county matches and has no doubt about their ability at international level.

'Kenya have been to a World Cup before. Their cricket's been a bit up and down, but they take the game seriously here. They can't be underestimated. The fact that they've got to a World Cup before suggests they have good players. I expect them to be very competitive.'

As for marking his debut in a four-day match, Hemp seems undecided whether that will help or hinder his cause.

'It's a funny one,' he smiles. 'Sometimes in one-day cricket you express yourself a little bit more, you have to be more positive. And sometimes in four-day cricket you can get caught up in occupying the crease, which is ultimately what you're trying to do, but you still have to play your shots. If you can spend a bit of time at the wicket in a four-day game, it can obviously give you a bit of confidence and that's what I'll be hoping for.