Team Bahamas off to Suriname for Cricket
A lot is at stake for the men's senior national cricket team and the Bahamas Cricket Association (BCA).
The team must win the Inter-national Cricket Council's (ICC) Americas Division II Championship for a berth in the World Cricket League (WCL) Division Eight.
An automatic qualification for the ICC T20 World League will also be achieved if the team is able to capture the overall title for the tournament, set to start in Suriname on Sunday.
Team Bahamas left this morning at 6:30 a.m. for Suriname.
The two league promotions will definitely be the driving force for the team, said Greg Taylor Sr., who serves as the team manager. Other countries vying for the championship include Brazil, Belize, Panama, the Turks and Caicos and host country Suriname.
"The team is looking as best as they can right now, under the circumstances," said Taylor Sr.
"We selected a group of guys, most of whom were in training for a couple of months. Everyone is excited about going to Suriname to play.
"This tournament is very important to us at this time. It determines whether we get back into the World Cricket League Division Eight.
"We have to win this tournament to get there. The ICC has created a World T20 League so we will also see if we can qualify to get into that league."
If The Bahamas fails to capture the championship, the country will remain in the Americas rankings and would have to wait a year to see if it can get back into the World League.
A win would place the team in a divisional tournament, set to be played in either Toronto or Florida.
The first game for Team Bahamas, in the ICC Ameri-cas Division II Champion-ships, is scheduled for Mon-day against the Turks and Caicos squad.
Matches against Belize and Panama will follow for Team Bahamas, and they will take on host country Suriname on Friday April 15.
According to Taylor Sr., The Bahamas has recorded wins over all of the participating teams in the past.
Even though he believes the biggest test will come when The Bahamas plays Suri-name, Taylor Sr. noted that the team's new additions would get them over the hump.
Several members of the Under-19 team were named to the senior national squad, adding speed and youth to the squad.
Taylor said: "I think we have the cohesiveness that is needed to win. By bringing the junior players in, it adds fresh legs to the team.
"There is no use every year you go away with people in their 40s or over. It is hard for them to run around in the T20, so we added the youngsters to really bring some freshness and add youth to the team.
"I believe that the team will be successful, from what I have seen from coach Benjamin during the short time he has been here training the team.
"It seems if he knows what he is doing and will really bring some special input to the team as a whole."
Coach Reginald Benjamin is also being recruited by the BCA to head the school developmental program.
Benjamin is a Level III England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) coach.
The Suriname-based tournament will be his first test in leading Team Bahamas. Whitcliffe Atkinson will captain The Bahamas' team.
© 2011 The Freeport News