USA Cricket name 26 in 2022 Men’s Training Group, youth focus continues

Gajanand Singh and Sushant Modani punch gloves during their century stand against Ireland. Photo: USA Cricket

USA Cricket announced their 26 man 2022 Men’s National Training Group on Wednesday. 

All 26 members of the squad have been named to previous USA Men’s squads, with 24 of 26 residing within the USA. 

Five members of the 2021 USA U19 team (Ali Sheikh, Rahul Jariwala, Ritwik Behera, Sanjay Krishnamurthi and Yasir Mohammed) have found a place in the 2022 training group, as USA Cricket continue to show faith in a talented group which unfortunately lost their opportunity to compete for a place in the 2022 ICC Men’s U19 World Cup when the ICC canceled the Americas qualifiers due to Covid-19 concerns.

Vatsal Vaghela, who debuted with the men’s team against full member Ireland in December along with Ritwik Behera and Yasir Mohammed, gives this initial 2022 Men’s National Training Group a total of six teenagers, meaning an impressive 23% of the entire group are currently under the age of 20. 

Cameron Stevenson, who last played for USA in February, 2020, joins Ian Holland as the only two training group members who permanently reside overseas.

If 2021 is any indicator, the composition of the group should be anything but static. The 2021 Men’s Training Group roster announced at the start of 2021 evolved by the time USA Cricket closed the year against Ireland. One standout example was the exclusion of Marty Kain from the initial 44 man list in January. Fast forward to December of 2021, and we’re left with vivid memories of the lefty’s key role in USA’s historic T20i victory over Ireland.   

Men’s Selection Chairman Michael Voss emphasized this point in the announcement. “This group will be regularly revised based on each player’s attitude, fitness, skill, and performance. Players not within this group of 26 selected will continue to be assessed and those who excel may be added to the National Training Group, while those who do not meet the expected standards could find themselves left out of the Group.”

The announcement marks the start of a busy 2022 season for the USA Men’s team, featuring five CWC League 2 Tri-series, two to be played at home from May through June, before the team travels to Namibia, Papua New Guinea and Scotland later in the year. 

“It’s a very exciting time for the sport in this country with vitally important matches coming up in 2022, so this group needs to hit the ground running,” USA Men’s Head Coach, J Arun Kumar, said in the announcement. “Those selected more fairly reflect the depth of talent we have seen across the country and will allow us to pick the strongest possible Team USA squads in 2022. We have enjoyed some successes in 2021 and the players, support staff, and the organization are highly motivated and looking forward to a busy schedule in 2022. This squad will allow me and my support staff to focus narrowly on preparing the group of highly skilled individuals in every department of the game.”

2021 had its share of ups and downs for USA Cricket, both nationally and internationally. Nationally, USA hosted four National Championships (Men’s, Men’s U19, Women’s and Women’s U19) for the first time ever. Minor League Cricket officially launched and completed a successful inaugural season, featuring 27 teams across the country, culminating in a well attended final at Church Street Park in Morrisville, North Carolina. 

Former USA Cricket captain Saurabh Netravalkar, Abhishek Paradkar, and Rahul Jariwala have the distinction of being members of both the 2021 USA National Championship-winning West Zone Reds, and the 2021 Minor League Cricket Champion Silicon Valley Strikers.

Internationally, The Men’s and Women’s teams won their respective T20 World Cup Americas region qualifiers. But the Men’s ODI team struggled against Nepal and host Oman in September’s ICC World Cup League Two triseries, losing three and winning only one. The difficult tour puts USA at seven wins and nine losses, barely clinging to the third spot in the seven team table by two points, thanks mostly to having played at least four more games than any team behind them. 

USA Men ended 2021 on a high note, splitting a historic T20 series against Full Member Ireland in Florida, a feat slightly soured by the cancellation of the ODI series that was slated to follow, thanks to an outbreak of Covid following the US Open in Lauderhill.

Only one player who appeared in either of the T20i matches against Ireland did not make the 26 man squad: left handed opener Ryan Scott, who did not look out of place in spite of averaging 9.5 at a strike rate of 100 in the series. 

In the big win, Gajanand Singh (65 from 42) and Sushand Modani (50 from 39) famously partnered for 110 after USA started with 16 from 4 wickets in the fifth over. Marty Kain then blasted 39 from 15 to set a target of 188/6, which USA defended to win by 26, thanks also to clutch bowling from Netravalkar, Ali Khan, and Nisarg Patel. All of these big performers seem to have cemented a place in the 2022 Men’s National Training Group. 

In the announcement, USA Cricket also teased an upcoming release of the women’s training group roster.

Men’s National Training Group 2022

Aaron JonesEast
Abhishek ParadkarWest Zone Reds
Ali SheikhSouth West
Cameron StevensonOverseas
Dominique RikhiEast
Gajanand SinghEast
Ian HollandOverseas
Jasdeep SinghMid-Atlantic
Jaskaran MalhotraSouth
Karima GoreEast
Kyle PhillipSouth
Marty KainWest Zone Blues
Monank PatelMid-Atlantic
Muhammad Ali KhanSouth West
Nisarg PatelWest Zone Blue
Nosthush KenjigeSouth West
Rahul JariwalaWest Zone Reds
Ritwik BeheraMid-Atlantic
Rusty TheronWest Zone Reds
Sanjay KrishnamurthiWest Zone Reds
Saurabh NetravalkarWest Red
Steven TaylorSouth
Sushant ModaniSouth West
Vatsal VaghelaWest Zone Red
Xavier MarshallEast
Yasir MohammedMid-Atlantic

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