Back to the future for Bermuda?
Clay Smith (Bermuda Royal Gazette)
One can't imagine how sweet it was to walk into Somerset's changing room Monday gone and be reunited with the World Cup 2007 team.
As I looked around the room so many memories came rushing to my mind. This team had done something no other had done in the history of Bermuda's cricket.
The vibe was very relaxed and the players appeared very eager to impress. While many thought we would show up and just go through the motions, the 2007 team had different plans. We were there to make a statement and by the end of the night we did exactly that by thrashing the MCC team.
Prior to the game against the MCC the 2007 team was recognised for our achievements and were given a token of appreciation by the Cricket Board, which was a Bermuda cap. Our warm-up consisted of us chatting and reminiscing about our past.
As we sat talking I could feel a sense of pride and seriousness of this one last mission. MCC had just defeated the Bermuda team, and they were expected to do the same to us as well, but we had other ideas. We were up for the challenge and as always refused to just go through the motions.
As skipper Irving Romaine took the toss it was our hope that we would bat first, and take the game to MCC, promoting the confidence in ourselves, a trait we owe to Gus Logie. Lionel was the backbone of our batting as he scored 71 off a mere 50 odd balls.
His innings allowed the likes of Steven (Outerbridge), Janeiro (Tucker), Dean (Minors) and Irving (Romaine) to come in and continue beating the ball to all areas of Somerset Cricket Club. Posting a total of 179 was very respectable, but against such a quality team we knew there was quite a bit of work still to do.
Malachi Jones and Kevin Hurdle opened the bowling with what was probably the best opening display seen in Bermuda for the last decade. Their performance put MCC on their heels behind the eight ball. So far behind the run rate after their spell MCC had to look to accelerate the run rate, but our aces in the hole in Janeiro Tucker and Dwayne 'Sluggo' Leverock foiled those plans. Janeiro seaming both ways and Sluggo spinning with immense accuracy and flight swayed the game in our favour even more.
To support the good bowling display was a good fielding effort. Diving, chasing balls to the boundary, and constant chirping with every ball was refreshing, something we don't see week to week in Bermuda ordinarily.
After every wicket one could sense the victory coming and the adrenalin flowing among the team was contagious to the fans. After the skipper bowled the final man, Bermuda pride could be sensed across the field from the players to the spectators. We had done the job one more time, and for me it was a great swansong as that signalled the end of my playing career.
The victory against MCC left such a good vibe that the boys discussed possibly doing a tour together in the future to one of the spots we travelled during our world cup playing days. One thought would be to tour Africa again and do a similar thing that MCC are doing, playing and putting on coaching sessions for the youth. I say Africa because while in Africa several players visited an orphanage and talked with children, played with children, and that touched us dearly. It was an honour to be able to give to those who were less fortunate.
As I continue to watch the MCC dominate our Bermuda team it baffles me that so many of our current so called elite players are among the missing, but the big question is why? Four years ago when Bermuda lost in the World Cup to the likes of India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh the public asked for our heads, said we were too old, and that we should all step down and give the young players a chance.
That caused several senior players to remove themselves from the national programme resulting in a continuous decline in our level of cricket. The results over the last two years especially have been horrendous. One can only wonder where we would be as a country had more of the senior players stayed on and continued playing.
To hear several spectators at Somerset shouting out, 'This is the team we need to take to UAE', while we the players found it amusing, some spectators were dead serious. Bermuda cricket fans are tired of seeing our current day players showing lack of pride and desire to play for their country. On top of that, they are tired of seeing a string of negative results, but that was always going to be the case right now as we are in a serious rebuilding stage.
Once again I want to encourage the current Bermuda players to continue working hard and improving. Those that have issues need to get them rectified so we can move forward as a country.
I want to encourage players to speak their mind and be honest with the coach, and BCB, and inform them as to why they are not playing. That is the only way to get around this mess.
However, we as a country will move on to higher heights with or without our 'superstars', or should I say 'better' players. Too often we put players up on a pedestal before they have achieved anything.
Players all I can say is take a page out of the World Cup 2007 team's book. Our success came from hard work, dedication and team unity. We may have written the book, but you can write the sequel. The question is do you want it bad enough?
I will leave you with our team quote given to us by our coach, Gus Logie: 'No Excuses'.