David Hemp, the Bermuda captain, has said qualifying for the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka would go a long way in resurrecting cricket on the island, particularly from a financial perspective. Bermuda cricket has seen a downturn since the heights of qualifying for the 2007 one-day World Cup but they have an opportunity to qualify for another ICC event when they participate in the World T20 qualifiers in the UAE in March.
"It would mean an incredible amount, not only from a financial perspective but also from a cricketing one," Hemp said. "I say this in light of the position that we currently find ourselves in, having slipped away from both ODI and High Performance status, which has naturally had a negative impact on funding. Qualifying for the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka would create an excitement and rejuvenate interest in the game again."
Bermuda are in Group A of the 16-team tournament in the UAE, along with Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea, Denmark, Canada, Netherlands, Hong Kong and Nepal. Hemp said the fact that his team have played all but one of the teams in their group before gives them an advantage.
"We've met all the sides in our group apart from Nepal so we're feeling good after plenty of practice and preparation on the island in the last few months. I believe that the squad does have a chance of qualifying. We have a good balance between experience and youth, and several players possess the ability to perform a variety of roles if needed."
Bermuda will need to finish in the top three in their group to have a chance of earning one of the two spots up for grabs for the World Twenty20, to be held in September 2012. Hemp said he was aware that Canada and Netherlands, who played in the 50-over World Cup last year, and Afghanistan, who qualified for the previous World Twenty20, would be favourites to progress from their group.
He said one of the players to watch out for in the Bermuda side was 17-year-old fast-bowling allrounder Kamau Leverock, nephew of Dwayne Leverock, who was one of Bermuda's most-famous players. "Kamau is currently at school in the UK and has been getting some experience in second XI county sides. Another couple of players to watch out for are Joshua Gilbert, who is an offspinner, and Terryn Fray, a right-hand batsman who is currently attending college in the UK."
Edited by Dustin Silgardo