Former Bermuda captain hits back February 21, 2007

Holding comments 'a downer' for Associates

Lionel Cann, the former Bermuda captain, has hit back at Michael Holding's comments about Associates taking part in the World Cup

I was surprised and appalled by Michael Holding's remarks that minnows 'devalued' the World Cup. He was brought in be the guest speaker at our first ever World Cup function and he says we shouldn't be there!

I was not at the function because I was ill, but I read his remarks in Monday's paper. He is obviously entitled to his opinion but there is a time and a place.

Hearing something like that from someone who has been such an ambassador for the game, put me in a real down frame of mind. It seemed like all that we have accomplished and worked towards was nothing in his eyes. With all the negativity that's been directed towards the team, it's just one more downer. It's something that will motivate us and make us want to succeed even more.

I actually feel, as someone who has played cricket his whole life, it was quite a selfish statement to make. I don't think he's looking at the big picture. It wasn't that long ago people were calling Bangladesh minnows, now they've beaten Australia. There are now 96 countries that are associates and members. The dream of playing in the World Cup is an incentive for all of them. The more competition there is internationally, the higher the standard will be worldwide.

Is he going to say Trinidad shouldn't have been in the football World Cup? I have a lot of respect for such a gentleman, but this is one occasion where I believe he has faltered in his comments.

We had a different kind of speech from the Minister of Sport, Randy Horton. He had a meeting with us and let us know he expects us to be ambassadors for this country. He reminded us that there were people before us that laid the foundations and now we have reached the pinnacle.

He told us to take this opportunity to get to know the other players off the field - take every little experience we can. He said he was proud of us and that the ministry and the government were behind us. He wished us the best and told us to play with heart and dignity.

We'll take another step forward when we play Bangladesh on Sunday - our first ODI against a Test-playing nation. They've beaten teams like Australia, Sri Lanka and India so we are going to have our hands full.

I'm currently at home with the flu, along with my daughter, and am not scheduled to fly out to Antigua until Friday but I'm hoping to play. It's a perfect opportunity to see where we are with all the training we have been doing. They have a lot of players that have been together for a long time and some talented youngsters.

Bermuda may have beaten Bangladesh in the past but that was before they became a Test playing country. They have taken their cricket to new heights. You can't compare Bangladesh then to what they are like now. You can't compare Bermuda now to teams of the past either, as we've had all this exposure. Bangladesh have sorted out their infrastructure and they have world class youngsters coming through. They are going from strength to strength.

Hopefully I should make it. I had the flu when I was in Kenya and I played with it through the tournament, so I didn't have time to recuperate. I caught it again when I came back to Bermuda and I've been suffering ever since. Now my daughter has it too, so I couldn't fly with her being sick. She's down and I'm down and we're helping each other through it. With regards to not travelling with the team, I had to put my family first. Family is more important than sports.

Reproduced with permission from the Bermuda Sun