Adrian Robson (The Royal Gazette)
Results on the current Caribbean tour as the side warm up for their trip next month to South Africa where they will again attempt to qualify for the sport's showpiece event, have been both timely and enormously encouraging.
It's almost as though coach Gus Logie, out of the blue, has seen his team realise the potential which he has always maintained was there to be tapped. As the squad enter their final match today, they boast an impressive 8-2 record, three of those wins arriving this week in convincing fashion.
Skeptics might point out those results have been posted at the expense of largely developing sides in St. Vincent, St. Lucia and Grenada – but history shows that such islands have produced a string of Test match players. And even their youth sides should not be underestimated. The fact that Windies player Ramnaresh Sarwan has complimented Bermuda on the talent displayed by those in the current crop is an indication of how much the squad have improved.
Since success at the ICC Trophy in Ireland four years ago, there have certainly been more lows than highs, leaving the public to question whether or not Bermuda Cricket Board were deserving of the $15 million invested by Government. But a side almost unrecognisable from that which competed in the World Cup in Trinidad in 2007 has suddenly grown in stature.
What has been most encouraging in the last few weeks is the improvement in so many areas, notably the top order.
For years Logie has struggled to find an opening partnership, to build a foundation which would allow the rest of the batsmen to get into a comfort zone and play their normal game. Too often the middle order have been forced to play off the back foot, playing with caution just to ensure some kind of respectable total.
Now with the likes of Chris Douglas, Stephen Outerbridge, Fiqre Crockwell, even the swashbuckling Lionel Cann, all relishing the prospect of dismantling the opponents' bowling attack, the rest of the bats are being given a chance to play with more freedom.
As for Bermuda's own attack, in the past the pressure has frequently been put on Dwayne (Sluggo) Leverock to dig the team out of a hole. But his efforts alone often weren't sufficient. Now fellow spinners such as Rodney Trott and Delyone Borden appear to be playing better than ever and the unpredictable but fiery George O'Brien is giving opening bats on the other side plenty to think about.
Logie is experienced enough to know that there's still a long way to go if Bermuda are to achieve what only a few months ago seemed unthinkable – qualifying for yet another World Cup. But inside he might be quietly confident that he now has at his disposal all the ingredients to do just that.
For sure, what he's witnessed this month has been a winning mentality, confidence and sky-high morale, all of which were nowhere to be seen last summer and many months before that.