Janeiro Tucker On Under 19 Cricket Qualifier

August 8, 2023 | 0 Comments

Janeiro Tucker Bermuda Dec 28 2018[Written by Patrick Bean]

Bermuda Under-19 assistant coach Janeiro Tucker well understands that his squad of talented youngsters will have to be operating at optimum capacity if they are to spring a major upset at the 2024 ICC Under-19 World Cup Americas Regional Qualifier, starting on Friday.

While rivals Argentina, United States and favourites Canada are expected to field teams filled with players near to or at the edge of the maximum age allowed, Bermuda’s is a group of under-age cricketers, the vast majority of which will be eligible when the next World Cup rolls around.

“The team is very young, my main thing is that we are going out there to win, but at the end of the day we might have to be a little more realistic and simply look to improve each game,” said Tucker, from the team’s base in Toronto. “But we want to make sure that the intention is to win and that that’s the attitude we want to instill and go out with for each game.

“We want to improve and get better each game because the goal is to keep improving, but it’s still a competition and we want to win as we improve.

“Once you win that builds confidence within you. So we’re not just here to lay down and say we’re going to lose.

“We’re going to go out there to win, get better as a unit and improve each individual, because they are young guys and we are preparing for the future as well.”

A large burden has been placed on Zakao Hart to lead the team into a field of giants, but he has help in the forms of vice-captain Jermel Proctor, rapidly developing into a fast bowler of note.

Others expected to show well include the two ‘Lukes’ Fulton and Horan, the first a dangerous seam bowler, the second a burgeoning middle-order batsman and there is also middle order batter Zeri Tomlinson, who will need to perform well.

On Monday Bermuda got off to an auspicious start to the tour, as they earned themselves a confidence building victory ahead of their first official match against the US, when they strolled past Ontario Cricket Academy by 20 runs in a practice game.

Bermuda batted first and scored 158 all out in 25 overs, as Keegan Jones top scored with 47, which he should have converted into a half century and perhaps more.

He was ably supported by Isaiah O’Brien, who was second hgh man with 37.

In reply the Ontario Cricket Academy were bowled out for 138, but Tucker and his young men are fully aware that Monday’s opposition were not of the calibre they will face when matters commence in earnest.

“It was a good start,” said Tucker. “It gave guys a the chance to experience match scenarios, to acclimatise and build up their match fitness.

“I thought that both teams played okay, but things have to improve by the time the tournament comes on Friday, because while the Ontario Cricket Academy is of the same age bracket as the tournament, they are a little bit under us and the teams that are in the tournament in terms of ability.

“We definitely have to pick our game up in certain aspects, such as our bowling too many wides and then giving away wickets in clumps when batting.

“So, we definitely have to work on that, especially Keegan Jones, who was batting really well and gave his wicket away. And from there we lost two more quick wickets back to back, which put a little pressure on us.

“Zakao, the skipper, needs to pick up his game and do a bit better. He got an unfortunate run out today, but all in all we’re working harder and pressing towards Friday.”

Friday will likely be a baptism by fire, with the US installed as the second favourite behind the hosts.

However, Bermuda has long had a fierce rivalry with its nearest neighbours, largely because they have never truly been viewed or respected as a cricketing nation, while in Bermuda cricket is a national pastime that demands success.

“I don’t know too much about the United States team,” said Tucker. “[Head coach] Arnold [Manders] may know more about them than I do, but we’re coming out to win, especially against the United States.

“We always want to do well against them and beat them. But we have to do a bit more homework on them and find out a few things, so that we can come up with a game plan that we believe will work and go play and beat them.”

Bermuda are scheduled to play six matches in eight days, matching skills against each country twice, with the winner of the competition moving on to the World Cup finals.

Canada are by far the most successful team overall, winning seven regional titles, to the two won by the United States and the single title won by Bermuda.

The reigning ICC World Cup champions are India, who defeated England by four wickets at the 2022 edition.

India have won the World Cup on a record five occasions, while Australia have won three times, Pakistan twice, and Bangladesh, England, South Africa and the West Indies once each.

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