Kamau Leverock On Challenge League Play-off

February 15, 2024 | 0 Comments

[Written by Stephen Wright]

Kamau Leverock believes the future of Bermudian cricket is at stake after backing the national team to finish their ICC Men’s World Cup Challenge League Play-off in Malaysia undefeated.

Bermuda have warmed up for their campaign in India, playing several practice matches, before heading to Malaysia for their group A fixtures against Italy, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The top three teams from the two groups will advance to the Super Six stage, where the top four finishers qualify for the next cycle of the 12-team Challenge League.

Leverock, who was part of the Bermuda team that narrowly missed out on reaching the T20 World Cup, losing to Canada by 39 runs in October last year, said Bermuda must force their way into the Challenge League.

“This tournament is about survival and staying in the Challenge League,” Leverock told Bernews. “Once you leave, funding dries up, and tournaments are few and far between. We want to play more and more cricket in the future – that’s the goal.

“The objective is to win every game [in group A]. The future of Bermudian cricket depends on this tournament. The boys know what’s at stake.”

The 29-year-old said Bermuda’s less experienced players have learned valuable lessons from their warm-up games in India.

Bermuda’s batters have often struggled to score and rotate the strike against spin bowling, especially on the spin-friendly pitches they will likely encounter in Malaysia, with Leverock urging them not to panic if they get bogged down.

“It’s been a good challenge [in India], especially for those who haven’t experienced conditions outside of the Americas region,” said the all-rounder.

“It’s been a chance for some of the younger guys on fringes to show what they can do.

“We notoriously struggle to rotate the strike against spinners, so it’s been a good learning curve for our guys to learn how to score from spin.

“You have more time at the crease in the 50-over game than T20.

“Some guys are a bit rushed and trying to score off every ball, which is a positive, but if they do get bogged down, they panic. It’s good to get those kinks ironed out before we head to Malaysia.”

The left-handed batter has continued his fine form from the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Americas Regional Qualifier, where he was named the tournament MVP, scoring 33 against Param Veer and 74 against G Force in the warm-up games.

“I’ve got a new role batting in the middle order,” he said. “I’m taking it in my stride and playing the game I know I can.

“The middle order is where I started. I have the temperament and like to think I play spin well. I’ll look to steady the middle order.”

Bermuda have been without the core of their batting line-up in India, with captain Delray Rawlins, Tre Manders, Chris Douglas, Allan Douglas Jr, Derrick Brangman and Zeko Burgess unable to secure visas to enter the country.

They will head to Malaysia today and join the rest of the squad.

“The guys missing are key players – they will be a big boost for our first practice match in Malaysia,” Leverock said. “Hopefully, everything clicks when we all get together.”

Leverock told Bernews in December last year, just two months after Bermuda fell short of reaching the T20 World Cup, he was considering his international future after missing out on a US Open T20 professional contract.

However, he said he was fully committed to helping the team achieve their goals in Malaysia.

“As I didn’t have any franchise tournaments, I had some spare time, so I made myself available for Malaysia,” he added.

Bermuda’s group A fixtures

Thursday, February 22: Italy v Bermuda
Sunday, February 25: Bermuda v Saudi Arabia
Monday, February 26: Bermuda v Kuwait

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