Welcome to the latest editon of 'Beyond the Test World', CricInfo's look beyond the far pavilions. We look at why the warm inner glow from Bermuda's World Cup qualification has receded so quickly, find out which stars will be on show at next month's Shanghai Sixes, and how Finland fares against the MCC recently
The euphoria and goodwill which enveloped Bermuda following it's qualification for the 2007 World Cup have been eclipsed, following an ugly fracas at the island's biggest social and cricket event, the 102nd annual two-day Cup match last month.
The Bermuda Cricket Board of Control is awaiting umpires' reports before deciding what action to take against twO players, St.George's fast bowler, George O'Brien who allegedly punched Somerset batsman, Stephen Outerbridge, on the jaw when the latter reportedly spat at O'Brien after being caught off his bowling.
BCBC official, Reggie Pearman, told BTTW the matter would not be left for the respective clubs, St.George's and Somerset, to handle. "We will deal with it - we are the governing body for cricket on this island."
Outerbridge's dismissal was pivotal - seven Somerset batsman were dismissed for less than five in a failed second innings chase of 121, as St.George's regained the Cup for the first time since 2000. St.George's victory and O'Brien's 11-wicket haul are likely to be forgotten amid the repercussions of a fiery and ill-tempered match involving a myriad of distasteful incidents.
The traditonal match and associated national holiday ironically are viewed on Bermuda as a celebration of emancipation, and a reflection of cricket's popularity on the island - in a population of around 66,000, crowds of 7,000 (over 10% of the population) attend both days of the game. For the two days, a carnival atmosphere normally pervades the island. The contest sees the best players from the western end of the island represent Somerset against the best from the eastern end, representing St.George's.
O'Brien and Outerbridge were considered likely additions to Bermuda's 30 man World Cup training squad.
Meanwhile, 44-year-old national team stalwart, Charlie Marshall, regarded as Bermuda's second best batsman, has been excluded from the World Cup training squad. He was earlier dumped from the ICC Trophy team prior to the team's departure for Ireland following an alleged altercation with Bermuda captain, Clay Smith. The BCBC is still negotiating with Logie over his contract which expires next month.
Dean Jones, Derek Underwood and Ian Healy will join Sir Vivian Richards in his return to the Shanghai Sixes when the seventh edition is held next month.
Jones, Underwood and Healy make their debuts along side Richards, for his second successive appearance, and are likely to pad up at some stage amongst a motley assortment of club cricketers from East Asia and possibly Afghanistan. They will also mingle at the Gala Ball to be held at the Grand Hyat Hotel on September 17.
Around 16 teams from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand and Afghanistan will contest Cup, Trophy and Bowl competitions during the tournament scheduled for September 16-18. The tournament may also feature a team from Beijing for the first time in several years. Officials from the government run China Cricket Association are also likely to attend to continue development discussions which started earlier this year.
Meanwhile, the local competition continues to improve, Maharajahs remaining the team to beat, while Pudong and Hot Dogs, although reliant on key individuals, are capable of surprises. Despite only beating Pudong while the latter's best players were on holidays, Bashers remain an outside chance of sneaking into the finals. A four-team social league is proving popular those either new to the game, including Chinese, or a touch less finess.
And in a welcome first. two local Chinese girls are believed to be the first mainland Chinese to have qualified as cricket coaches when a coach with first-class experience from New Zealand Cricket assessed a group of Shanghai trained coaches. There are also unconfirmed rumours of cricket in Guangzhou.
MCC in Finland
In a busy two weeks for cricket in Finland, (writes Michael Shaw from Helsinki), the MCC played three matches in five days in a boost for the local game, before Finnish cricket's biggest event, the 10th annual SKK (Stadin Krikkettikerho) Sixes.
Against a Finnish Cricket Association's President's XI, MCC won the first game by a mere 10 runs, scoring 208 from 40 overs. The FCA XI was cruising at 157 for 3 after 31 overs, before crumbling under an escalating run rate and a combination of run outs and rash shots. The MCC won by 10 runs after Tom Glover produced a wicket maiden in the last over.
The MCC won comfortably against the Finnish national team in Turku by 55 runs, James Samworth scored the only century of the tour with a delightful 121. MCC collapsed to 71 for 6 before Neil Burton and Douglas Green combined for a 98-run partnership, leaving Finland a target of 183 from 50 overs. Finland seemed lost at 65 for 4 but a glorious innings from Timo Ilva (71) and support from Amrik Bhatia (43) guided Finland to their target with five wickets intact and six overs remaining.
Helsinki beat Espoo comfortably in the final of the Sixes, despite the shock elimination of reigning champions Finnish-Pakistani CC and league champions Stadin Krikettikerho 1's in the group stages.
Your BTTW editor likes to think this column is an interactive medium, so I'd grateful for any reader who may be able to advise on the current whereabouts of former 1979 World Cup Canadian opener, Glenroy Sealey, for an unrelated project. Indeed, if you would like to make contact about this or any other aspect of 'Beyond the Test World', please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org