I could hardly believe my eyes reading this story today, which I then put up on Cricinfo. Brief introduction to events: Bermuda groundsmen have immense problems laying pitches. The soil is useless, due to the mass of clay in the island – so much so that batting on one of their pitches is rather like facing Devon Malcolm, without his specs, on a piece of corrugated iron. A sorry state of affairs.
But it gets worse, or better depending on your cynicism. Andy Atkinson, the ICC’s portly pitch expert, advised Bermuda to import foreign soil. This was the only solution, he said, as the natural soil was only good “for growing carrots”. A damning verdict if ever I’ve heard it. But the blind fools in their government are refusing to import this evil, alien soil due to the devastating, ungodly acts of catatrsophe which would occur as a result. I’m sorry but I really can’t take these people seriously.
“The United Bermuda Party disagrees in the strongest possible terms with Sports Minister Randy Horton’s plan to change long-standing regulations against the importation of soil,” he said on Sunday. “Most Bermudians understand the dangers of introducing alien species to this country. The cedar blight that hit our shores in the late 1940s was caused by an imported scale insect that dramatically and speedily altered the look of the island, killing off forests of our national tree.”
Now then. Before any tree-huggers attack me with seeds and fertilizer for sounding like such an urbanite, I’m sure the problems they had in the 40s were serious. But Atkinson isn’t advocating distributing the soil around the entire island, carpet-bombing the region with a blanket of new mud; this soil doesn’t have a life of its own. It’s going to be planted in a small area in the middle of a cricket ground. No islands will be damaged in the making of this pitch.
It just sums up Bermuda quite honestly. They were the most hopeless and hapless of sides in the World Cup, almost sharing that particularly plastic trophy with England, and yet are lavished with cash by their government. Millions of it, pouring into their coffers. In fact, those bally nice chaps in the government even paid for the Bermudans to watch the World Cup final, all expenses etc. It’s a wonder the ICC let them back in.
All this, and they don’t even have a pitch of schoolboy standard to play on. And they wonder why they struggle to compete…