Colin Thompson, The Royal Gazette
David Hemp has been promoted to vice-captain of Bermuda's senior national cricket team, Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) announced yesterday.
The Glamorgan skipper was named in the Island's 15-man Intercontinental Cup squad that departs for Kenya October 15.
Hemp topped the 2006 Intercontinental Cup averages with an average of 65.27 after smashing a record 247 not out against the Netherlands in South Africa.
"Hemp has played at the professional level and so we feel he can assist us a lot in his new role," stated chairman of national team selectors Arnold Manders.
The 36-year-old batsman has replaced Stephen Outerbridge as Bermuda vice-captain for upcoming tours of Kenya and Dubai.
Outerbridge finished Bermuda's excursion to Europe and the UK last August on a strong note, stroking successive half-centuries in a losing cause against Ireland in Dublin.
"We wanted to take some of the pressure off Stephen (Outerbridge) to allow him to concentrate solely on his personal game," Manders explained.
Another plus for the Island is the return of speed merchant Kevin Hurdle to national team duty as well as Southampton Rangers all rounder Janeiro Tucker and Somerset batsman Azeem Pitcher.
Manders' nephew, Jekon Edness, will again keep behind the stumps.
Hurdle, who captained Social Club to a first Premier Division championship last season, will share new ball duties with youngster Malachi Jones.
Pace ace George O'Brien Jr. was dropped after showing apathy towards training, while club team-mate Chris Foggo failed in his bid to earn a recall.
St. David's trio of fast bowler Stefan Kelly, all rounder OJ Pitcher and off spinner Delyone Borden were all ruled out of the upcoming tour through school commitments abroad.
On paper Manders said Bermuda's Intercontinental Cup squad is well-rounded.
"Even though we are still not at full -strength I think we have balanced team," he said.
"I think this is a far stronger team than the one that toured Denmark, Holland and Ireland in August."
With the slower wickets in Kenya and Dubai expected to take turn, Manders has pinned his hopes on a three-pronged spin attack consisting of promising teenaged off-spinners Tamauri Tucker and Rodney Trott as well as the affable Dwayne Leverock.
"Tamauri is probably the best spinner in the Island right now,' the former Bermuda skipper said.
"It would be nice to have a few more of the quicker bowlers in the team like George (O'Brien) and Stefan (Kelly). But I think spin can be very effective in Kenya and so maybe it's a blessing in disguise to a have a three-pronged spin attack."
Manders also has high expecations for Warwick all rounder Kion Butterfield and St. George's and Bermuda Under-19 seamer Kyle Hodsoll - two of three new additions to the senior national team.
He is also highly optimistic the team chosen to carry Bermuda's hopes in Kenya and Dubai can achieve positive results.
"We have the best Bermuda has to offer at this moment," Manders said. "We have a pretty balanced team who are capable of pulling a few surprises.
"Kenya are in a bit of a turmoil having lost their coach (Roger Harper). And I am certain the captain (Irving Romaine) and coach (Gus Logie) will be looking for a win."
Upon arrival in Kenya Bermuda will play two 50-overs friendlies against Uganda before taking on their hosts in three one-day internationals and the four-day Intercontinental Cup match in Nairobi.
Bermuda will then travel to Dubai to meet United Arab Emirates (UAE) in their final 2007 Intercontinental Cup match.
Bermuda squad: Irving Romaine (capt), David Hemp (vice-captain), Dwayne Leverock, Lionel Cann, Jekon Edness (wk), Stephen Outerbridge, James Celestine, Kevin Hurdle, Rodney Trott, Malachi Jones, Tamauri Tucker, Janeiro Tucker, Kyle Hodsoll, Azeem Pitcher, Kion Butterfield.
Reserves: Jason Simons, Arthur Pitcher Jr., Dennico Hollis, Khiry Furbert.
Coach: Gus Logie. Assistant coach: Herbie Bascome. Manager: Lionel Tannock. Physio: Craig Brown.