HomeNewsUSA vs Ireland: Covid forces roster changes, opportunities for youth

USA vs Ireland: Covid forces roster changes, opportunities for youth

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USA have announced roster changes against Ireland in the wake of several players from both teams in isolation due to Covid-19 protocols.

Karima Gore, Jaskaran Malhotra, and Aaron Jones have been ruled out of the T20i leg of the tour due to covid protocol. Rusty Theron has been withdrawn due to a groin injury, and original replacement player, Kyle Phillip, is unavailable due to work commitments. Steven Taylor has not been ruled out officially, but is unlikely to participate in any of the T20i’s. In their place, three players from the USA U19 men’s squad, plus one star Minor League Cricket opening batsman have been called into the teams.

Ireland have also had to make changes to their rosters, recalling Josh Little to help compensate for the loss of Harry Tector, George Dockrell and Gareth Delaney due to covid protocols. 

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Ritwik Behera, from the Washington DC metro area who represents the Midatlantic Zone and the DC Hawks; Ali Sheikh, from North Texas who represents the South West Zone and the Irving Mustangs; and Yasir Mohammed, from New Jersey who represents the Midatlantic Zone and Somerset NJ Cavaliers, join Rahul Jariwala from the USA Men’s U19 squad and former USA Men’s U19 Vatsal Vaghella to make five teenagers in the mix in Lauderhill.

Ryan Scott (26) answered the call from his home in Maryland for his debut selection into the USA squad as well. Scott, who was the leading domestic batter in Minor League Cricket in 2021, was acknowledged in the MiLC Domestic Team and MiLC Team of the Tournament. Considering the last-minute changes to the roster, Minor League Cricket and the Men’s National Championships have proven their value as platforms for comparison already. 


“For me, it means a lot, because a lot of young guys, like myself, get to showcase our talent,” Ryan Scott said of MiLC on Emerging Cricket’s Minor League Cricket Show in August. “Most of us are trying to play for the US national team, so it gives an opportunity for the selectors to see us.” 

Stephen Wiig of the Mid-Atlantic Zone and Minor League Cricket runner-up New Jersey Stallions has also traveled to Florida to serve as a net bowler during the series. 

The landmark Dafabet USA vs Ireland International Series was scheduled to begin nine days after the December 13 end of the USA Cricket-sanctioned US Open, a popular annual T20 prize purse tournament held at Broward County Stadium. Many USA and Ireland players, including some players currently in isolation, participated in the US Open as a warmup to the upcoming series at the same ground. 

When the USA vs Ireland series was first announced, omicron, the fast-spreading new Covid-19 variant, was not yet in the news. By the time of this publishing, omicron had overcome Delta as the most prevalent variant in new cases across the United States. On November 9, Florida had 1700 new cases and the spread of the virus had flattened out, having plummeted from a high period between July and September. By December 18, Florida saw a five-fold increase to 8700 new cases, a count rising sharply by the day.

During the course of the US Open, there were positive cases detected in some participants. A video circulating on WhatsApp showed well-known USA Cricket management staff being escorted by police from the facility following a disagreement with US Open officials over the issue. Games proceeded in spite of the positive cases, and some concerned players, including USA and Ireland players, withdrew from the tournament. Since the conclusion of the US Open tournament, several more participants have tested positive for Covid. 

A warm up match had been planned between USA and Ireland, but was scrapped considering late roster changes and arrivals to replace players on covid protocol.

USA Cricket encourages fans to purchase tickets ahead of time online but will have tickets for sale at the box office on game days. 

USA T20i Squad
Monank Patel (Captain)
Ali Khan
Ali Sheikh
Gajanand Singh
Jasdeep Singh
Marty Kain
Nisarg Patel
Ritwik Behera
Ryan Scott
Saurabh Netravalkar
Steven Taylor
Sushant Modani
Vatsal Vaghela
Xavier Marshall
Yasir Mohammed

USA ODI Squad
Monank Patel (Captain)
Aaron Jones (Vice-Captain)
Ali Khan
Gajanand Singh
Jaskaran Malhotra
Marty Kain
Nisarg Patel
Nosthush Kenjige
Rahul Jariwala
Ritwik Behera
Saurabh Netravalkar
Steven Taylor
Sushant Modani
Vatsal Vaghela
Xavier Marshall

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Nate Hays
Nate Hays
Fielding All Rounder, played a lot of baseball. Born in Maryland, lives in North Carolina, not from a ‘cricketing nation'...yet!

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