A total of 306 players from 17 teams have now been selected into Minor League Cricket, with New England Eagles and DC Hawks franchises naming rosters on Wednesday.
That leaves only seven teams unfilled in the upstart weekend semipro feeder to the much anticipated Major League Cricket.
“I think we picked everything on merit. Rajit Passey (DC Hawks Owner) knows all the local guys, and has followed for years. He’s the right person to have a team for this area,” DC Hawks star Sunny Sohal told Emerging Cricket.
Sohal’s significant experience, including his years in the IPL, GT20, CPL and opening batting for USA Cricket, makes him a valuable professional on the roster, along with former USA all rounder Adil Bhatti. Bhatti is currently head coach for the Maryland Youth Cricket Association, the first paid coaching position in their history. Sohal also runs his own successful youth program in the DC area, and rates the area youth as a strength for the franchise.
“The younger players, Ishan Sharma, Ritwik Behera, and his brother Rashesh are very good players. We have some other very good youth on standby if we need them.”
New England Eagles feature many well known area veterans, including Pratik Dudhane, Zikah Ullah and Fazal Alam. Former Test cricketer Assad Fudadin is the team Wildcard Player and Pakistani former first class player Umair Mir also brings high level experience to the Eagles. Former USA U-19 Alexandrino Kirton boosts the roster, and leg-spinner Karthikeya Jagadish has made a name for himself around the country as well.
Morrisville Cardinals and Michigan Cricket Stars remain among teams exempt from a draft process, and the two Chicago franchises and three Florida franchises will draft in coming weeks in their respective divisions.
Quoted in the announcement was USA Cricket Board Member and Chair of the ACE Relations Committee, Suraj Viswanathan: “USA Cricket is committed to developing Minor League Cricket in close partnership with American Cricket Enterprises. This tournament will become a critical component of the player development pathway that ultimately leads to the USA T20 national team and squad selection, with player performance in Minor League Cricket to be closely monitored by the Men’s National Selection Panel.”
The announcement comes nearly two weeks after 15 rosters were chosen via separate regional drafts on August 22. It’s been a busy month for USA Cricket, having last week announced plans for a membership platform which should increase membership by magnitudes once the incorporated live scoring feature is adopted by clubs and leagues throughout the country. Strong membership numbers should help sponsorship chances which would hopefully fund grass roots initiatives, national tournaments, and player pay.
Exhibition games in regions deemed safe by local governments are still in the plans for now, and we can look forward to the remaining seven Minor League Franchises selecting teams in the next couple of weeks. We will be covering more Major League Cricket and Minor League Cricket news as it unfolds.
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