MCC aim to give Bermuda a boost
MCC are embarking on an end of season tour to Bermuda tomorrow, which will include a series of Twenty20 matches and 50-over cricket against the Bermudian national side, alongside a 50-over clash against a President’s XI. The MCC players will also deliver a special coaching session for local schools, in addition to playing in a Twenty20 triangular tournament with Bermuda ‘A’ and the Bermuda U19s team, during the 15-day tour.
Former Scotland captain, Craig Wright, will lead a strong MCC squad, which comprises several players with first-class cricket experience, along with other MCC Members from across the country. Unicorns duo Chris Thompson and Chris Benham will be looking to set a high playing standard, while Oxford MCC Universities graduate, Josh Knappett, will don the gloves behind the stumps, and MCC Young Cricketers’ captain, Paul Muchall, will fill the allrounder position.
Also included in MCC’s 16-man touring party is former England and Yorkshire CCC batsman, Geoffrey Boycott, and MCC’s Chairman of Cricket, Mike Griffith. Griffith will look after managerial duties while Boycott, who is a member of MCC’s World Cricket Committee, will play an ambassadorial role for the Club. He will offer advice and a wealth of experience to the Bermuda Cricket Board, which has been an Associate Member of the ICC since 1966.
The MCC players will need to ensure that they are firing on all cylinders for the three Twenty20 fixtures against the Bermudian national side, following the island’s strong performance in the ICC Americas T20 Division One Championship in Toronto in July. With comfortable victories against Argentina, Suriname and the Cayman Islands in this competition, Bermuda will be looking to test their skills against tougher opposition as they work towards the ICC World T20 Global Qualifier in Dubai next year.
MCC Ambassador, Geoffrey Boycott, said: “I’m very much looking forward to the tour. I have fond memories from when I last toured the Island with Yorkshire in 1964, and I’m sure that this group of MCC players will enjoy themselves. It is a wonderful place to play cricket.
“During the 60s and 70s the standard of cricket in Bermuda was very strong – they were one of the best Associate Nations in the world. In more recent times however things appear to have gone downhill, and other sides such as Canada, Ireland and Kenya have bypassed them on the world stage. Through my ambassadorial position I intend to ask questions to try and find out why this has happened, and offer my experience and encouragement to help reignite their ambition to play at the highest level once again.
“MCC plays a significant role in assisting with the development of world cricket – look at what the Club has already achieved in supporting the progression of the game in Afghanistan. I hope that this tour will act as a similar kick-start for the Bermudan players and the Bermuda Cricket Board.”
Commenting on the tour MCC’s Head of Cricket, John Stephenson, said: “Cricket has a long and diverse history in Bermuda, and I am delighted that MCC has the opportunity to assist with the ongoing development of the sport on the Island. We are sending an experienced squad, which we hope will provide challenging opposition for the talented Bermudian players in preparation for the World T20 qualifying event next year. The Bermuda Cricket Board is doing an excellent job at promoting cricket as a national sport, and it is particularly heartening to see that MCC’s Spirit of Cricket message is included within the core values underpinning the work that they do.”
MCC teams have previously toured Bermuda twice in the past 24 years, most recently in 2001. The 2011 visit will be the final overseas outing for the club this season, following tours to Namibia, Hong Kong and Greece earlier in the year.