Friday, November 17, 2006

Bermuda short fall?

Side-stepping the impending Ashes series for one moment, trouble looms on the lush island of Bermuda with the World Cup just months away now.

After Bermuda were soundly beaten 3-0 by Kenya in a recent ODI series, Cricinfo gave its verdict this week on Gus Logie's troops and it wasn't all that positive. In response, the Royal Gazette, the island's top newspaper, gave its impression of a "scathing written attack" by its managing editor, Martin Williamson.

It is anything but scathing in reality. The article actually gives nothing new away; namely that huge investment has gone into the national squad, rifts lie within the administration and the team has shown little improvement. There's truth also in Bermuda's heavyweight tag - and unfortunately that's not related to their cricketing skills.

Cricinfo suggests that certain players are carrying "excess baggage". One player who certainly carries weight is 19-stone Dwayne Leverock (above). The island policeman is Bermuda's main strike bowler and a pivotal figure in the squad. Full of character, he may not look international class but he often opens the bowling with his slow left-armers and turns in a degree of success at the same time. The rest of the squad looked in reasonable shape to me earlier this year, although it was hard to tell whether fitness to international standard was in place.

I saw the Bermudans when I covered the Legends Classic back in April and in the lead-up to the tournament there was criticism from newspaper columnists about Bermuda's participation in an over-35s tournament. The fact remains that the team needed matches under their belt, and after spending 10 days on the island and speaking to their players, I will certainly be rooting for Bermuda to perform during the World Cup and beyond. However there will always be its detractors when talk turns to how smaller ICC teams can cope at international level. With considerable investment behind them they will come under the microscope, especially as this will also be Bermuda's first foray into a World Cup.

Let's just hope they give the 64,000 population something to cheer about next March and not disappear out of the Caribbean faster than the Bermuda's Triangle myth.