Delray Rawlins, the Sussex all-rounder, has been included to play for Bermuda in the ICC Americas T20 World Cup Qualifier, which starts next weekend.
Rawlins’s availability was confirmed by the Bermuda Cricket Board, when he was named in a 16-man squad that will be captained by Dion Stovell.
The 21-year-old has been involved in Vitality Blast T20 matches with Sussex Sharks, who play their next match tonight against Middlesex Crusaders.
Depending on when he returns to Bermuda, Rawlins could miss four T20 matches with Sussex during the qualifiers. They play Surrey on August 15, then take on Kent the next day before playing Essex on August 22 and Middlesex on August 24.
Bermuda, who will host the United States, Canada and Cayman Islands for the weeklong tournament, play their first match against the US on August 18. Double-headers will take place at White Hill Field and the National Sports Centre.
The top two countries will proceed to the final qualifier in Dubai in October and November.
Lloyd Smith, president of the BCB, is happy to have the likes of Rawlins and Kamau Leverock in the Bermuda squad. “We had been negotiating for about a month and a half with Sussex, trying to get all the arrangements done so that he could come back for the tournament,” Smith said of Rawlins.
“He was always on board, it was just that with his contract with Sussex and their schedule. It was about trying to get the right agreement for both parties. By what we saw during the Bahamas tour, it seems the boys have knitted together pretty good and the harmony and camaraderie is pretty high right now. I think we stand a chance of putting in a good fight.”
Smith added: “I’m very pleased with the team that the selection committee has put together with the eligible players. I believe this is one of the strongest teams that Bermuda has been able to have available for some years.
“I wish the entire team all the best for the ICC T20 regional finals and remind them that they have the full support of the BCB. I personally invite the public to come out and support our Bermuda national cricket team, and don’t forget to wear your pink and blue!”
Malachi Jones is out of the squad because of a shoulder injury that restricted his bowling in Cup Match, but Stovell is recovering well from being struck by a short ball from Justin Pitcher last Friday. Leverock is also fit to take his place, having been overlooked by Somerset because he was unavailable to bowl.
Several players have returned to the national set-up in time for the crucial upcoming matches. Rodney Trott, a former Bermuda Under-19 captain comes in along with his Bailey’s Bay team-mate, Sinclair Smith, who will provide wicketkeeping cover for Okera Bascome.
Hard-hitting Allan Douglas Jr will be a key man in the batting and will share the spin bowling with Trott, Derrick Brangman and Rawlins, while Pitcher makes up a seam attack that includes George O’Brien Jr, Zeko Burgess, Kyle Hodsoll, who has recovered from a recent shoulder injury, and possibly Leverock.
New faces have also been added to the squad, with Okera Bascome, who has represented the senior team abroad, getting a first chance on home soil. He is joined in the team by brother Onias who are the sons of coach Herbie Bascome.
Also getting a recall at the national level is batsman Macai Simmons, of St David’s, while Southampton Rangers’ Deunte Darrell is in line for a Bermuda debut.
(for the ICC Americas T20 World Cup Regional Qualifier from August 18 to 25):
Dion Stovell (Southampton, captain)
Terryn Fray (Bailey’s Bay, vice-captain)
Rodney Trott (Bailey’s Bay)
Kamau Leverock (Nottinghamshire Seconds)
Onias Bascome (St George’s)
Sinclair Smith (Bailey’s Bay)
Deunte Darrell (Southampton)
Allan Douglas Jr (St David’s)
Justin Pitcher (St David’s)
Okera Bascome (St George’s)
Macai Simmons (St David’s)
Derrick Brangman (Bailey’s Bay)
George O’Brien Jr (St David’s)
Delray Rawlins (Sussex)
Zeko Burgess (Bailey’s Bay)
Kyle Hodsoll (Bailey’s Bay)
Head coach: Herbie Bascome
Assistant coaches: Janeiro Tucker, Reggie Tucker
Manager: Irving Romaine
Aug 18 (White Hill Field): Bermuda v USA (11am); Canada v Cayman (3pm)
Aug 19 (North Field): Bermuda v Canada (11am); USA v Cayman (3pm)
Aug 21 (White Hill Field): Bermuda v Cayman (11am); USA v Canada (3pm)
Aug 22 (North Field): Cayman v Canada (11am); USA v Bermuda (3pm)
Aug 24 (White Hill Field): Cayman v USA (11am); Canada v Bermuda (3pm)
Aug 25 (North Field): Canada v USA (11am); Cayman v Bermuda (3pm)