Bermuda has a ‘conveyor belt’ of raw cricket talent but have been left behind by the rapid progress of rival Associate nations.

That’s the verdict of ICC High Performance Manager for the Americas Region Andy Pick, who also believes some fans must stop using the World Cup appearance in 2007 as a benchmark for success.

Pick will leave the ICC in a month to become the new bowling coach at Nottinghamshire, where he enjoyed a 15-year playing career. This week, though, he has been sitting down with Bermuda Cricket Board chief executive Neil Speight and national team coach Arnold Manders to plot the way ahead, particularly with a 2013 ICC World Cricket League Division Three tournament likely to be held towards the end of the year.

Pick praised Manders as a ‘forward-thinking’ coach but issued a reality check to the island as to their current position in the world scene.

He said: “If I’m being honest the chances of Bermuda getting to another World Cup as it stands at the moment are distant and for me the biggest challenge is to focus on the here and now and that’s about making sure their next big challenge is trying to get out of Division Three into Division Two. Then they’ll be playing more cricket and better cricket, and we can see how they cope with that.

“I think, and Canada are the same, too many still see the fact they qualified for the World Cup as a benchmark of how good they should be.

Rivals have improved

“Bermuda cricket might not have got a lot worse but there’s a lot of teams that have got infinitely better — the Papua New Guineas, the Nepals have improved out of sight over the past five or six years.”

Skill-specific tests in the Academy, sending batsmen to India to learn to play spin bowling and having a UK-based ‘friend of Bermuda’ to monitor the young players based there were just some of the plans discussed with the BCB, which he praised as ‘quick to grasp’ the need to better monitor guys overseas.

This includes more provisions for those players and making sure they are getting the best coaching and playing experience possible.

The likes of Tre Manders, Terryn Fray, Stefan Kelly, Greg Maybury, Delray Rawlins, Kamau Leverock, Onias Bascome, Keishon Smith, Jordan Smith and Christian Burgess are all in the UK and are seen as the future of the national team.

Pick, who said Rawlins is one of the top two prospects in the Americas region, said: “A lot of Bermuda’s best young players are based in the UK so I’ve been working strenuously with Neil on making sure that they are provided with some sort of provision for their development in the UK, rather than them leave the island at 10-12 years and have them coming back at 18, 19, hoping that something has happened.”

He added: “There is a general conveyor belt of natural talent here but the game has evolved so much over the past five years you need more than that.”  

Registration for the free Tokio Millennium Re Pee Wee ‘Have-a-go’ Cricket Program for children aged 5-7 is still open. It takes place at Berkeley Institute every Saturday in March. Go to www.bermudacricketboard.com for details.