How to watch –
Every day, one game will be live streamed on USA Cricket’s YouTube with commentary from Andrew Leonard and Brian Walters. Viewers are encouraged to tweet questions to Andrew Leonard during the game (@CricketBadge on Twitter).
|Date||Ground 5 (Broadcast)||Ground 6||Ground 2||Ground 1|
|Monday, November 15||East v Midwest||West Blue v South||West Red v South West||Mid-Atlantic v USA U19|
|Tuesday, November 16||South v Mid-Atlantic||Midwest v West Red||USA U19 v West Blue||South West v East|
|Thursday, November 18||West Blue v Mid-Atlantic||Midwest v South West||East v West Red||South v USA U19|
|Friday, November 19||Final (1st Group A)||3rd v 4th||5th v 6th||7th v 8th|
Who, what, when, where and why –
USA Cricket will begin their men’s 50 Overs National Championships on Monday at the Prairie View Cricket Complex just outside of Houston, Texas.
Seven zonal teams, plus the USA Under 19 Men’s team, will compete for the first Men’s National Championship conducted by USA Cricket. The eight teams will be divided into two groups of four, with teams facing off within their own group for a single round robin group stage.
The first place finisher in each group will advance to the championship final, while the remaining teams will face the corresponding finisher in the opposite group (Group A second place will play Group B second place to determine third place, etc). Each team will play four total games.
The Men’s Nationals will wrap up a hearty domestic year that will have featured Women’s, U19 Women’s, Men’s and U19 Men’s National Championships for the first time in history. To date, the West won the Women’s and Women’s U19 Championships, and the Mid-Atlantic won the Men’s U19 Championship.
Along with the various National Championships, 2021 also saw the launch of USA Cricket’s first Men’s domestic, coast-to-coast professional league, as Minor League Cricket saw 27 teams competing for ten weeks culminating in a final at North Carolina’s Church Street Park in front of roughly 2,000 in-person fans that was broadcast live on the Willow Network. The league has already proven itself a springboard, as former India U19 World Cup winning Captain Unmukt Chand, captain of the MiLC champion Silicon Valley Strikers, recently secured a spot on the Melbourne Renegades of Australia’s Big Bash League.
Though MiLC is a T20 format league, and the National Championships will be a 50 overs league (more than twice as long as a T20 game), MiLC has helped players familiarize themselves better with other talented players in their zones. “It’s a great feeling to be a part of the Mid-Atlantic team setup. I think It’ll be a good experience playing with some of the same guys again,” New Jersey Stallions Stephen Wiig told Emerging Cricket. Wiig’s Stallions made it to the finals of the MiLC, but finished as the runner up behind the Strikers.
“Hopefully it’ll allow us to gel together better as a team and make that process easier. It looks like a pretty similar bowling attack to the one we had in Minor League, so I’m hoping that we’ll be able to settle into our roles quickly and support each other well.”
Wiig’s ambitions are similar to most of those participating in the Nationals: to represent the USA on the national stage and to earn a spot on a Major League Cricket team when that league launches in 2023. “I don’t really like to think too far ahead, but as far as maybe the next year or two go, I’d like to see myself in contention for a spot in a Major League team, and possibly the US National Team. Being an athlete, there are obviously a lot of factors which are out of your control, so it’s important to separate yourself from that and instead focus on doing your process right. All I can do is keep working hard, and this season has given me more motivation to do that.”
USA Cricket Men have just wrapped up a 6-0 first place finish in the ICC Americas T20 World Cup Qualifiers in Antigua for the 2022 T20 World Cup. Covid had postponed the 2020 World Cup to October and November of 2021 (just concluded with Australia winning the trophy), and the 2022 rendition will occur in Australia in October/November of 2022. USA will advance to the 2022 Global Qualifier along with 15 other teams from across the globe to battle for four spots which will advance to the 2022 T20 World Cup.
Nisarg Patel, one of the standout performers of the qualifier in Antigua, hopes to captain the West Zone Blue squad to a top finish in the Nationals. “It’s going to be one of the good national tournaments in the last few years, which we haven’t had, so I’m keenly looking forward to the competition and hopefully it goes well,” Nisarg told Emerging Cricket. “I think it’s going to be challenging, of course having (young players), along with a few minor leaguers, and locals as well. One of the most important challenges is to give everybody that opportunity to prove their worth, moving forward in the future.”
Each zonal team had the option of including up to three MLC contracted players who are not yet eligible for USA selection. The idea seems to be that the talent those MLC players brought to Minor League Cricket should be put to use at the National level to raise the competition level a bit. No more than two MLC players will be permitted in each playing eleven. Every team roster was also required to include two U21 players.
Following the Men’s National Championships, USA Cricket will select T20 and ODI squads to host Ireland in a historic series from December 20 through December 30 in Lauderhill, Florida. That series, featuring two T20i and three ODI games, marks the first time USA Cricket will have ever hosted a Full Member team. The series will also feature Men’s U19 action between the two nations, as Ireland look to prepare for the U19 World Cup in the Caribbean. USA Cricket were set to compete for a spot in the World Cup, but the ICC cancelled that qualifier due to covid concerns and put Canada through based on past record.
Zonal rosters were announced by USA Cricket on November 2, and are likely to change somewhat before the first coin toss. According to USA Cricket’s announcement, roster changes will be announced on social media prior to games.
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