The Royal Gazette masthead

Bermuda's national cricket team should undergo a major 'shake-up' before they return to Kenya to compete in the ICC World Cricket League Division One next month.

That's the view of Clarence Parfitt, one of the Island's most celebrated cricketers, who yesterday questioned the dedication and commitment of team members who he claims have put their own self interests before the country at large.

Bermuda's national team have come under heavy criticism in recent weeks from coach Gus Logie, ex-players and general members of the public after a string of disappointing results on their recent five-week tour of the African continent.

And yesterday Parfitt, never one to mince his words, openly shared some of his thoughts with The Royal Gazette, speaking from his adopted homeland in Scotland.

'I think half the team should go because they're not strong enough mentally and physically to play cricket at this level consistently where you have to be mentally tough,' the legendary figure argued. There are a few boys in there that are pulling their weight, but I think the rest of them are just going through the motions. And it just doesn't look good and they should be feeling embarrassed because if I was in that squad I would be. Logie has all the right in the world to scream at his players. But I also think he has to do more than that. He has to shake a stick at them and drop those in the team who think they are bigger than the game itself.'

Since winning the Americas Championships in Toronto last August, the national team have not made much progress, Parfitt observed.

'The boys have known since they qualified (for the World Cup) what it is they have to do. But they haven't done it. They've just sat back and only seem to be interested in the money,' he added.

'If they had put as much time and energy into representing their country instead of focusing on money, things might have been a little different right now. But here we are struggling and the World Cup is right around the corner. Logie should not have had to scream at his players because they should be rolling their sleeves up themselves and showing some pride. But to me it doesn't seem as though the players have any pride playing for Bermuda. They all want to play but are not willing to do the hard work. And you don't go away a couple of months before the World Cup and get blown away like they did in Africa and then expect to make the World Cup squad.'

Parfitt joined those who insisted the composition of the national squad should have consisted predominantly of younger players from the very start of World Cup preparations, and not heavily stacked with those who are on the way out of the sport.

'They (Bermuda Cricket Board) should have been looking at the Under 19 level to start rebuilding years ago, and not with the older guys. All of the older guys are on their way out and this is basically their last hurrah,' he added. Bermuda Government gave them all of that money . . . and that's all they see. They are laughing all the way to the bank instead of training cricket every day to try and improve themselves.'

Parfitt also questioned current national team selection policies.

'Sometimes I think we stick to the same boys too long. We've qualified for the World Cup but stuck to the same people. It's as though we always stick with the same guys who all want to get on the gravy train. And it shouldn't even be a gravy train,' he added.

'And if they all want to be paid as professionals, then I think it's high time they stood up and began acting like professional cricketers because everyone wants all the glory, but they are not willing to put in the time and effort. Why is it we always seem to take injured players away on tour? Why can't we take away a few of our youngsters who really are the future? How many of the senior players are going to be around for the next World Cup? Look at the captain (Clay Smith). He hasn't played very much cricket or done much. He's still injured. We shouldn't be picking teams to suit certain people."

'The one day (ODI) game is about being super fit and so Bermuda has to sit up and decide what they want to do. But the big problem is they want everything else, but do not want to make the necessary sacrifices. And the guys have to remember they are not playing for themselves but for their country. And that is the most important thing above all.'