USA Cricket have named a squad of 14, plus one traveling reserve, for their September tour of Oman as part of the ICC Cricket World Cup League Two.
For the first time since their disastrous tour of Nepal in February of 2020, USA Cricket’s Men’s team will play international ODI fixtures and resume the ICC Cricket World Cup League Two for a tri-series against Nepal and host Oman.
Preceding the ICC CWC League Two matchups, USA will face Papua New Guinea for two ODIs, which gives the team a chance to adjust what will be brand new conditions for some on the tour.
The tour will mark the first action of any USA Cricket side since before the Covid-19 pandemic put a halt on most Associate Cricket throughout the world, a span of 572 days for USA Cricket teams by the time of the first ICC CWC League Two match on tour.
Since that disappointing performance in Nepal, there has been very little formal 50 overs cricket played by the men’s group in the country, while USA Cricket meanwhile conducted their inaugural Women’s and Men’s U-19 National Championships within the previous few months. A Men’s National Championship has recently been announced for the coming November at the Prairie View Cricket Complex near Houston, Texas, complete with the USA Men’s U19 team occupying one of the eight spots, following news of the ICC Men’s U-19 World Cup Americas Qualifier being cancelled due to covid considerations.
During this international drought, Minor League Cricket has emerged as the official USA Cricket supported domestic T20 tournament, staging an abbreviated exhibition season at the end of last summer, and launching in earnest in July of 2021.
Emerging Cricket discussed Minor League Cricket and personal national team ambitions with USA Cricket fast-bowler Jessy Singh and reserve fast-bowler Kyle Philip in a recent episode of the Emerging Cricket Minor League Cricket Show, prior to the team announcement last week. The players, deep into the Minor League Cricket season, expressed their desire to represent USA Cricket, and their opinions on how the MiLC was preparing them to do so.
‘My goal is to play cricket for USA for my career for a long time. I also want to play franchise and as much cricket as I can play, but my main priority is to play for USA,’ Kyle Philip remarked, following his Fort Lauderdale Lions first ever win. ‘Major League (via Minor League Cricket) is preparing us to do so by putting all the top talent in the country against each other. I think we need to do this a little more often and then we can have a strong system.’ Philip was named to the team as a “traveling reserve,” eligible to take a spot of a player in the fourteen man roster should there be injury or illness.
Jessy Singh currently leads the MiLC’s Atlantic Conference in wickets, and hopes to carry over that form into the longer game at the international level. ‘Once you’re in a good rhythm, you look to build on that, whether you’re playing a shorter format or a longer format,’ Jessy Singh remarked in the interview segment. ‘Once you’re peaking at the right time, small little changes in the game from shorter format to longer format (are) not a big deal… For me, I’m just trying to stay in my best shape and continue to bowl well while I’m in a good rhythm and make the most of it and I’ll just look to build from here.’
USA Men’s Head Coach J Arun Kumar will make his much awaited debut at the helm, and will welcome four debutants into the Men’s roster in Abhishek Paradkar, Sushant Modani, Ganginand Singh, and Dominque Rikhi.
Dominique Rikhi has built a reputation as a run compiler in New York and maintains a famously high level of fitness. Along with Jessy Singh, Rikhi is a star player of Minor League Cricket’s New Jersey Stallions, where he won the Best Batsman award for the East in the Exhibition season, and currently sits in 10th place in batting in the Atlantic Conference. Rikhi also leads the first place Stallions in runs with 237 in ten innings.
Ganginand Singh has struggled to find his form this season in Minor League Cricket for the Manhattan Yorkers, but brings with him a history which includes representing Guyana, Windies U-19, and the CPL’s Guyana Amazon Warriors.
Abhishek Paradkar, only 20 years old, has been leaned on quite heavily by his Silicon Valley Strikers, where the left arm seamer has been given every chance to bowl alongside, and often in tandem with, USA Cricket captain Saurabh Netravalkar. Paradkar leads the Strikers in wickets (14), at a relatively par 6.38 economy.
Sushant Modani represents the Houston Hurricanes in the MiLC, where he currently sits second in runs on the Hurricanes, who occupy second place in the Central Division. Primarily a right hand batsman, Modani has also been a handy off-spin bowler for Houston.
Continuing in the USA Men’s squad are Elmore Hutchinson (Socal Lashings), Karima Gore (Somerset NJ Cavaliers), Monank Patel (Florida Beamers), Noshtush Kenjige (Irving Mustangs), Steven Taylor (Atlanta Fire), Nisarg Patel (Hollywood Master Blasters), who recorded the fastest 50 in USAC ODI history on the Nepal tour, captain Saurabh Netravalkar (Silicon Valley Strikers), and newly appointed vice-captain Aaron Jones (Atlanta Fire). Jaskaran Malhotra (Morrisville Cardinals), the third leading run scorer in the Atlantic Conference of the MiLC, earns a recall to the squad, as does previously mentioned Atlantic Conference wicket leader Jessy Singh (New Jersey Stallions). Kyle Philip (Fort Lauderdale Lions) rounds out the group as a traveling injury reserve.
‘Feels special to represent the country, I’ve worked really hard,’ Jaskaran Malhotra told Emerging Cricket about his recall into the team. ‘Setbacks are all part of an athlete’s life. I guess I have a positive mindset, I’ve learned from my mistakes and I’ve worked hard on where I was lacking, and I guess all the hard work is paying off now, and hopefully I can contribute to the USA team as well, whenever I get the opportunity, and make my team win.’
The tour kicks off in Muskat with the PNG games scheduled for September 6 and 9, with ICC CWC League Two games running from September 13 vs Nepal, Sept 16 vs Oman, Sept 17 vs Nepal, and Sept 20 vs Oman. USA currently sit in second place (12 points in 12 games) in the league behind Oman (16 points in 10 games), but have played more games than anybody else in the field. Nepal will enter the tour with four points in only four games.
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