2007 Review - Bermuda December 23, 2007

From bad to worse

A rare ground-shaking high point: Dwayne Leverock dives to catch Robin Uthappa during the World Cup © Getty Images
It's hard to find many positive things to say about Bermudan cricket in 2007, with the performances of the Under-19 side offering the only glimmers of light in what was a dark and depressing year.

In all, Bermuda played 15 ODIs and won one, and that came in a dead match in the World Cricket League when Scotland took their foot off the gas after already qualifying for the finals. Bermuda finished bottom of the tournament, which featured the six leading Associates, and were then humiliated in the World Cup, losing their three group matches by 243 runs, 257 runs and seven wickets. They also lost all three Intercontinental Cup ties, again by comprehensive margins. Perhaps of more concern was that the professionalism of the side was repeatedly questioned, with allegations that some players were more concerned with partying than playing and far too many stories of indiscipline. After the World Cup almost none from the national side thought it necessary to attend training sessions. The authorities appeared almost supine when faced with overwhelming evidence that things were going badly wrong.

At home, attempts to set-up a two-day domestic league floundered as players were unable or unwilling to commit, disciplinary issues were rife, and the island was left without an international venue after the ICC deemed the National Stadium unfit to stage matches.

The multi-million dollar investment made by the government, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars from the ICC and the Stanford 20/20, are well documented but it is too easy to forget that Bermuda is a tiny place, it's population of around 60,000 being a fraction of almost all its rivals. However, the cash gave Bermuda a chance to punch above its weight. That chance has been squandered.

Looking to the future: Bermuda's players celebrate after qualifying for next year's Under-19 World Cup. © ICC
New man on the block
A batsman fast becoming an allrounder, Malachi Jones hasn't shone at international level yet, but at 18 he has the basic skills and the talent to become a mainstay of the side as they rebuild for the future. He's also mature, and captained his club side in 2007. He would benefit from time abroad as he will learn little playing on Bermuda's pitches.

Fading star
The charismatic Dwayne Leverock almost carried Bermuda's attack for several years and few will forget his diving slip catch against India in the World Cup. But his form is on the slide. In 2007 he managed only 15 wickets at almost 40 in 14 ODIs and 11 at 42 in Intercontinental Cup games. His place in the side is not remotely in doubt, but that says much about the state of Bermudan cricket.

High point
The Under-19s won their ICC Under-19 Americas qualifier with four wins in four, and several of that side were immediately drafted into the full squad. More of them will need to step up quickly.

Low point
Where to start. The World Cup was poor and public, but the seeds of disaster had been sewn in the World Cricket League a month earlier when Bermuda's attitude was described by one senior administrator as "a disgrace". It's hard to sink lower than the attitude shown by some senior players.

What does 2008 hold?
Sadly more of the same. Bermuda are not able to compete with their other five major Associates and it may already be too late for them to halt the slide, which means that they are unlikely to retain their top six status when it is up for grabs again in 2009.

Bermuda in 2007
Matches Won Lost Drawn/NR
ODIs 15 1 14 0
Twenty20 - - - -
Intercontinental Cup 4 0 4 0

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo