USA Cricket has announced their Zonal Teams for the first ever Men’s Under 19 National Championships.
Eight rosters of fourteen have been named representing six zones, with the West Zone split into West Red and West Blue teams, plus one zone-independent “Colts” team.
The eight teams will split into two groups, with Group A featuring the Mid-Atlantic Zone, South Zone, West Zone Reds, and the Colts. Group B will feature the East Zone, Midwest Zone, South West Zone, and West Zone Blues. Coaches and managers for the teams will be announced in the coming days.
Action starts on April 5th, with the West Zone Reds facing the South Zone, the Mid-Atlantic Zone facing the Colts, and the Midwest Zone facing the South West Zone. The 16 game schedule culminates in a National Championship Final on Saturday, April 10.
‘On behalf of the Cricket Committee, national, and zonal selectors I would like to congratulate all the young men who have been selected for their Zonal squads,’ Chair of the Cricket Committee and USA Cricket Board Member, Sushil Nadkarni, said in the announcement.
‘We are anticipating a very competitive first ever USA Cricket Men’s Under 19 National Championships next month in Texas. These pathway events and opportunities for our Men’s and Women’s cricketers at all levels are integral for the success of our National teams.’
In spite of the ongoing pandemic, cricket in the United States has not been at a standstill, especially for youth. USA Cricket supported events have included an abbreviated Minor League Cricket exhibition season, zonal trials, the MLC Elite Youth Development Camp, and now the U19 Men’s National Championships, which represent the first major national event of 2021.
The eight teams competing for the National Championship feature 30 from a Minor League Cricket roster in 2020, and 39 who attended MLC’s Elite Youth Development Camp earlier this month, 22 of which participated in both. That makes 47 out of 112 players who have participated in at least one of these two nationally supported events. The South Zone features ten such players (four who featured in both MiLC and MLC Elite camp), followed by the Mid-Atlantic Zone and West Zone Reds, each with nine such players (each with six who featured in both), and the South West Zone with seven such players (three who featured in both). The Colts featured five such players (three who participated in both), followed by the Midwest Zone with four minor leaguers and zero MLC Elite campers.
The Colts also feature South Africa U-19 prospect Slade-Lee Van Staden, a wicket keeper/opening batsman who began his First Class career at age 16.
Bringing up the rear is the West Zone Blues, who featured three MLC Elite campers (zero MiLC players), and finally the East Zone, who feature only one player on a Minor League Cricket roster (Sahil Kaul, New England Eagles), and none who attended the MLC Elite Youth Development Camp.
Eight cricketers in the Men’s U19 National Championships were celebrated in Emerging Cricket’s MiLC Team U21. It’s important to note that many of these zonal players did not qualify to play in the 2020 Minor League Exhibition season because they were not yet 16 years old.
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