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CW World Cup Countdown. Day 1 - Bermuda
24 Feb 2007
By: Benedict Goodchild


As part of a series of articles leading up to the World Cup, Cricket Web presents a daily review on the background, players and prospects a specific competing team, starting with the minnows and building up to the favourites. Today we feature Bermuda.

The wealthy tropical paradise of Bermuda has never exactly been a powerhouse of international cricket. Situated more than 1000 miles off the cost of Miami, and home to just 60,000 people, many of whom are employed in the island's lucrative finance sector, the island has produced only one professional cricketer, and he has not lived in the Atlantic island archipelago for decades. Still, come the World Cup opening ceremony, the lowest ranked team at the 2007 World Cup will wear their national colours with pride.

Leadup to the Tournament

It is fair to say that if any one team was the source of Michael Holding's recent outburst against the minnows' presence at the World Cup, it would probably be Bermuda. Many of their players are unfit, the team is under-resourced and it is certain that none of them are prepared for the thrashings they will inevitably receive over the next month. At the recent ICC World Cricket League in Kenya, they were by all accounts the worst side on show by a long way, managing only one victory against a disinterested Scotland outfit. The 15 man squad selected to represent the island nation at the World Cup retains all but one of the players that contested that tournament.

Star Player

The squad's most experienced player, David Hemp, a county professional since 1991 and a fine left handed batsman, will be looked to for leadership and guidance. Hemp recently said, "The guys do talk to me a lot and ask me a lot of questions...the system we use in the UK; practice; training...And I do my best to communicate as best I can". The presence of Hemp will be especially important for the younger players in the squad, with whom the future of Bermudan cricket rests. Malachi Jones, at just 17 years of age, will be one of the youngest players competing at the tournament, and if he performs well, the potential of a lucrative foreign contract looms.

Strengths

Bermuda come into this tournament as an unknown quantity. There batsmen are largely their 'strength', although to be honest that is largely comparative to the poverty of their bowling. With Hemp and captain Irvine Romaine in the team, their batsmen should have enough strength to make three figures in most of their appearences, especially on good flat Carribean tracks.

Weaknesses

However, unfortunately Bermuda lack any real bowling strength. Should they be unfortunate enough to lose the toss in any of their games, a long day in the field shall await their bowlers and fielders. Their opening bowler Kevin Hurdle averaged 74.33 at the World Cricket League, against a far lower standard of opposition than he will face in this tournament.

Predicted finish in this World Cup: 16th

In all honesty, there is little chance that the Bermudans will manage to escape this competition free from embarrasment, let alone manage a victory. This will be their first appearance at the World Cup, and the team, led by Romaine and Dean Minors, is pooled with the sub-continental trio of India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Once upon a time the Bermudans (like most other sides) would have fancied themselves against the newest test cricketing nation in the world. But strong performances by Bangladesh over the past 2 years suggest that even they will be far too strong for the diminutive island territory.

Still, to see this tournament as purely about winning and losing is a poor way to look at things. This competition will be a learning experience for the 15 man squad. A harsh lesson indeed, but a valuable one for a nation genuinely fanatical about cricket. Few of the traditional cricketing powers can say that they have a public holiday for their citizens to go and watch a traditional cricket match between two rival teams, as Bermuda can. Nor can many countries say their government recently invested $11 million in the development of the game. For these players, and their fans, this opportunity to test their skills against the likes of Tendulkar, Jayasuria, Dravid, Murali, Vaas, Bashar and Sangakkara is a once in a life time opportunity. It is important that they show, if not the talent and ability to match their opponents, then at least the fighting spirit and courage to inspire pride at home. Nowhere else will they have a better opportunity to do this.

However, the main role of this side will not be to just play cricket, but to act as ambassadors for their nation, on one of the world's largest sporting stages. As the smallest and one of the most isolated teams at the cup, their duty will be show to courtesy, maturity, dedication, and a love of the game, so that the sport can continue to grow at home and abroad.

Squad
Irving Romaine (captain), Dean Minors (wk), Delyone Borden, Lionel Cann, David Hemp, Kevin Hurdle, Malachi Jones, Stefan Kelly, Dwayne Leverock, Saleem Mukuddem, Steven Outerbridge, Oliver Pitcher, Clay Smith, Janeiro Tucker, Kwame Tucker.

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