Colin Thompson, The Royal Gazette
Bermuda's Intercontinental Cup preparations received a welcome shot in the arm yesterday with confirmation star batsman David Hemp will tour Kenya and Dubai with the senior national cricket squad this fall.
The Glamorgan skipper is now scheduled to join his Bermudian team-mates when they arrive in Kenya on October 16 to play two warm-up matches against Uganda and possibly another friendly against Denmark, as well as a four-day Intercontinental Cup match and two official ODIs against the Kenyans.
Hemp will also accompany the squad to Dubai November 5 for a second Intercontinental Cup assignment on tour against hosts United Arab Emirates in Sharjah.
The specialist batsman was among those who shone for Bermuda earlier this year at the World Cup in Trinidad, scoring an unbeaten 76 against India at Queen's Park Oval. And his return to national cricket team duty could not have been more timely as the Island seek to rebound from last month's disappointing tour of Europe and the UK.
"I think it is good to have Hemp's experience and professionalism back. It is very helpful as it gives the other players a bit of confidence knowing that there is somebody there who has already played at a high level," stated national coach Gus Logie.
In an effort to stop the rot, national team selectors have extended their search for the right combinations as well as recalling the likes of Janeiro Tucker, Chris Foggo and Azeem Pitcher, to name a few.
Pacer Kevin Hurdle's name has also been included in a training squad of 23 players. However, it remains to be seen whether the Social Club skipper will be afforded time off from work to make the trip.
Also invited to train with the senior national squad is Warwick skipper Kion Butterfield and Under-19 quartet Kyle Hodsoll, Dennico Hollis, Khiry Furbert and Tamauri Tucker.
"We are going to continue to give people opportunities and have also called back players from the wilderness and trust that those coming back will grasp the opportunity with both hands," Logie added.
Logie was far from pleased by the team's overall approach during their last tour, but later conceded that inadequate preparations might have been partly to blame.
"We have to give our guys every possible opportunity and I think we have to admit that we didn't give them the best preparation before we went on tour," he said. "But I still think the players have to take some responsibility for themselves.
"We may not have the facilities here to train, day in and day out, but players can keep up with their own fitness and watch their diet. They don't need someone to be up behind them all of the time. Instead they need to take some responsibility to make themselves better and then we will do whatever we can to assist them."
Bermuda suffered crushing defeats against Holland and Ireland in their previous two Intercontinental Cup fixtures. But Logie is confident that with the right mental approach and commitment the Islanders can at least make a better account of themselves against a Kenyan team that has also fallen on rough times lately.
"Kenya are in a bit of a disarray at the moment, having lost their coach (Roger Harper) and are now going through a restructuring period in some way," Logie said. "We have been graced with a lot of flair but now we are asking for a bit more substance to add to the flair and hopefully catch Kenya cold."