n Reuters photo
Concentration: Bermuda captain David Hemp said at the World Cricket League Division 3 tournament “every game will be a tough challenge.”
* Reuters photo. Concentration: Bermuda captain David Hemp said at the World Cricket League Division 3 tournament “every game will be a tough challenge.”
n Reuters photo
Concentration: Bermuda captain David Hemp said at the World Cricket League Division 3 tournament “every game will be a tough challenge.”
* Reuters photo. Concentration: Bermuda captain David Hemp said at the World Cricket League Division 3 tournament “every game will be a tough challenge.”

Bermuda depart for the World Cricket League (WCL) Division Two Tournament in Dubai tomorrow wary that failure could have a crippling effect on the national sport.

At stake is lucrative ICC High Performance funding, promotion to the WCL Division One as well as potential Intercontinental Cup qualification.

But there is also the risk of being relegated to the WCL Division Three as well as losing out on additional ICC funding, promotion to the top tier and Intercontinental Cup qualification should Bermuda fail to finish among the top four in Dubai.

The island’s senior national team is scheduled to play three warm-up matches against hosts United Arab Emirates (UAE), Hong Kong and Namibia between March 28 and April 4.

Challenge

They will then face Papua New Guinea April 8th in their opening WCL Division Two fixture at the ICC Global Cricket Academy. While Bermuda will be favoured to finish among the top four in the group, skipper David Hemp isn’t taking anything for granted.

He said: “Every game will be a tough challenge especially as we will be playing two sides (Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong) that we have not come up against before.”

The former English County player laments the unavailability of key players such as Janeiro Tucker and OJ Pitcher, but has faith in the ability of those chosen to represent Bermuda in Dubai.

He added: “I feel it is a strong squad with plenty of depth and experience. It is unfortunate that we have several players unavailable, but I still believe that if we play to our potential then we can be successful.”

The bulk of the island’s team will be no strangers to the conditions in Dubai having toured the region in the past.

“Conditions in Dubai should be excellent both on and off the field. Practice facilities are very good, as were the pitches that we played on in January, so I’m expecting pretty much the same,” added Hemp.

“The weather will be warmer but that means we will have no dew to deal with in the morning, which can affect the decision made at the toss.”

As a specialist batsman, much of Bermuda’s hopes for success will be riding on Hemp’s productivity with the bat — something the former Glamorgan captain is well aware of.

He said: “My personal form is okay. I’ve been hitting some balls but as always the test comes once competition starts in the middle.”

Like many, Hemp was caught completely off guard by teammate Dwayne Leverock’s spontaneous decision to retire from international cricket for the second time in two-years. He said: “It is a pity as he has been training well. But it is a personal choice that has been made, and I’m sure that it was not easy for him.”

Pulling the slack in Leverock’s absence will be the likes of off-spinner Rodney Trott, who is fresh off a successful stint at the ICC Americas Regional Academy in St. Kitts with senior national teammate Malachi Jones (see page 46). Hemp believes the pair’s involvement in the academy can only bode well for their development.

He added: “Any opportunity to experience playing with good players can be beneficial, so for those two to mix with players from other countries is great.” n