On an unkempt patch of grass at the corner of Cayman’s cricket field, technical director Peter Anderson puts his team through slip-catching drills.

The players fling themselves to take one-handed catches and leap athletically to make diving stops, preventing the ball from rocketing into the line of rush-hour traffic bordering the Smith Road Oval.

Most have just emerged from the traffic themselves, gathering after work for an evening practice session.

In these humble surroundings, Cayman’s long and difficult journey toward World Cup qualification begins.

Juggling work commitments and sub-par facilities have been part of the challenge for the Cayman squad as it prepares to travel to Argentina next week to face the South Americans and Bermuda in a three-team qualifier for the ICC Twenty20 World Championships.

The teams play each other twice in the short-format of the game, with the top two in the group progressing to the next stage of the qualification process for the tournament in Australia in 2020.

Despite the challenges, Anderson is feeling optimistic about the team’s chances in this first stage.

“It is always hard when the guys have families and work commitments but when they are here they focus and they train hard,” he said. “Of course, there are going to be a few nerves here and there, but the preparation has been spot-on and we are going to play our hearts out to get to the next level.”

Kevon Bazil takes a neat one-handed catch during a national team training session Tuesday.

The local season is just a few weeks old, with matches being played at the Jimmy Powell Oval in West Bay because the Smith Oval is under repair.

Skipper Ramon Sealy, a key batsman and also the goalkeeper of Cayman’s national soccer team, said the national squad, which flies out to Argentina on Friday, was training well.

“We are more focussed, more team orientated, we get straight to the point, work hard and go home. There is much more of a team spirit now, rather than just a group of individuals.”

“We fight for each other and if we go down we go down together.”

Omar Willis gets some batting practice during a net session Tuesday.

He said a strong bowling attack had been Cayman’s strength over the years, but he believes the batting is improving.

“Hopefully, this time we can put both together and show everybody down here in Cayman what we have got,” he added.

Vice captain Alessandro Morris, a spin bowler, said he expected Argentina and especially Bermuda, who qualified for the World Cup in 2007 but have since slid down the international rankings, to provide stiff competition.

“In T20 you need to score at better than a run a ball so 130-140 is a good score. Then if you bowl well you have a chance.”

Held at two venues in Buenos Aires, the Hurlingham Club and the Belgrano Athletic Club, there will be six game days in the 12-day tour, which also features two friendly 50-over matches.

National squad cricketers practice slip catching at the Smith Road Oval on Tuesday. – PHOTOS: TANEOS RAMSAY

The team lineup will be: Ramon Sealy (captain), Alessando Morris (vice captain), Paul Manning, Troy Taylor, Conroy Wright, Gregory Smith, Michael Reid, Omar Willis, Adrian Wright, Darren Cato, Corey Cato, Alistair Ifill, Ainsley Hall and Kevon Bazil.

For more information about Cayman Cricket, contact Hector Robinson on [email protected], or visit Cayman Cricket’s website, caymancricket.com, or its Facebook page for regular updates.

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