Eight countries prepare for T20 challenge in Antigua

HAMILTON, Bermuda, CMC – Bermuda are gearing up to face seven other teams in Antigua from the Americas region for a twice-delayed tournament that is a pathway to next year’s ICC Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.

The ICC T20 World Cup Americas Qualifier is scheduled to be held from November 7 to 14, having twice been postponed because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, in August 2020 and then in July this year when Canada was unable to host the event.

Bermuda, who will meet Argentina, Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Cayman Islands, Panama, and the United States in two groups of four, have 18 players in training before the selection of a 14-member squad to travel to the Caribbean.

Selectors are also considering calling up overseas-based players Delray Rawlins and Kamau Leverock.

Cal Blankendal, the Bermuda Cricket Board’s executive director, admitted it was a challenge following COVID-19 protocols, which require all visitors to Antigua to be vaccinated.

The teams are required to be in St John’s from November 3, four days before the opening matches.

“We are managing all of our protocols under the COVID-19 regulations for the safety of the players, and also adhering to all government guidelines,” Blankendal told the Royal Gazette newspaper.

“We have a squad in training, keeping in mind that the training squad is subject to all players being available at the time of departure based on any government regulations for pre-departure testing.”

Two teams will advance from the Americas group to another round of qualifying in early 2022, from which two teams will advance to the World Cup.

“Training started in late August, but of course training was stopped due to (COVID-19) restrictions in September,” Blankendal said.

“Training resumed just after the government advised that you can train with up to 20 people. Anything more than 20 would need a large-group exemption, but we had less than 20 due to five or six being overseas.”

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