The last expat to play Cup Match was Saleem Mukuddem in 2006. *File photo
The last expat to play Cup Match was Saleem Mukuddem in 2006. *File photo

The message from two of this year’s Cup Match players is simple: if you’re good enough, you’re in.

St George’s Lionel Cann told the Bermuda Sun: “If you qualify, everybody should be welcome whether you are a Bermudian or an expat. It’s an international game it should be for everybody.

“Anything that makes the game better. 

“To be honest it would make our game stronger because we don’t have enough expats playing in our league.”

He added: “Why should people be held back because they are not Bermudian.

“There’s plenty of expats that have played, Saleem Mukuddem, he could have broken the record (for top score in an innings) and there was a big debate about whether he should be playing. We had Adrian King, Rupert Scotland etc — we had all of these guy — so many have played. It’s never been an issue.

“We don’t see so many now because they come here to work. Times have changed. 

“They come for money, etc. They don’t have time to train twice a week.

“The dynamics of the world have changed and Bermuda is not another world anymore.”

Somerset captain Jekon Edness told the Sun: “I think it should be best players on the island, so if they are good enough, then sure.

“If you look at the history books they all contributed – Saleem, Adrian King, Colin Blades.

“People want to see the best 22 players in Bermuda playing in the game, as long as they have respect for the match and the heritage of it than I see no problem with expats playing, if they are good enough why not.”


 

Bermuda Sun columnist Larry Burchall is adamant Cup Match must protect its traditions.

Burchall is firm in his opposition for overseas players taking to the field in the island’s showpiece cultural event but says previously selected ‘expats’ did not count because they had been ‘infused’ into the community.

Burchall is also at pains to point out the game is a cultural, not a sporting, event. He told the Bermuda Sun: “The game has nothing to do with cricket. If you want to play cricket go and play for Bailey’s Bay or one of the other teams.

“Cup Match is a cultural event that is unique, it has nothing to do with the ICC.

“It should stay traditional. You can bring a whole team over if you like but not on those two days.”

He added: “Cricket and Cup Match are not the same thing. 

“It just happens that they go and play cricket on that day but cricket wasn’t integrated into the celebrations until they had been going for 20 years.

“If you look at what goes on down there, all the activities are happening outside of the game.”

So only Bermudians on the field of play?

“Absolutely.”

And the previous expats who have played?

“There were no expats in the past. They were people that were accepted as part of our community. 

“Expats  are here for a very short period of time, they were people who had been accepted and infused into our community.”


 

All quality players welcome... but captains must be Bermudian
by Recman
Guest Columnist

We’ve all heard the expression “as American as baseball, hot dogs and apple pie”. Well,  – I guess our equivalent would be “as Bermudian as Cup Match, fish chowder and Cassava pie”.

The game means so much to our community; it is ingrained into our consciousness from childhood.  I can recall as an overseas student in Toronto, Canada sitting in Terry Lister’s apartment in the middle of February, nothing but snow on the ground outside discussing Cup Match.

Personally I have no problem with expats playing in Cup Match, indeed as a youngster growing up many of the players I admired were from overseas. 

Cricketers such as the late Rupert Scotland, Lionel Thomas and Adrian King (St George’s) as well as Colin Blades, Robert Hinds and Winston Reid (Somerset) not only brought flair to the game but helped lift the standard to unprecedented heights.

In more recent times both Wendell White and Saleem Mukaddem proved to be both entertaining and effective players.

So, no, I do not have a problem with expats playing Cup Match. However I must add this caveat, first they must participate in domestic competition for at least three years before doing so, it is not right to have people just walk off the plane and into this island’s premier sporting event.  

Secondly, the majority of the players on the field should continue to be Bermudian, if this were not the case I believe Bermudians would quickly lose interest. Wherever you go in the world people want to see their own perform.  

Third, I would always want the captain of both teams to be Bermuda born. Sorry, but if the President of the United States must be born American then Cup Match captains should be a born Bermudian.