Six Canadians in Americas U19 squad
Canada allrounder Nikhil Dutta has been named as part of a 14-man ICC Americas U19 squad that will take part in the West Indies Cricket Board Regional U19 50-over competition which takes place in Guyana from August 4-15. This will be the third time an ICC Americas composite team featuring players from Canada, Bermuda and the USA will be taking part in the WICB U19 tournament.
Dutta was part of the ICC Americas U19 team in 2012 but was omitted in 2013, despite sweeping honors for Best Batsman, Best Bowler and Tournament MVP of the 2013 ICC Americas U19 championship, in order to be available for selection for the Canada senior team's WCL Championship and Intercontinental Cup contests last August. He made his ODI debut in March 2013 against Kenya in the UAE. Dutta is one of six Canada players in the ICC Americas squad, including three others who return from the 2013 ICC Americas team: Abraash Khan, Farhan Malik and Armaan Kapoor.
Bermuda's Tre Manders and Delray Rawlins are also returning to the ICC Americas U19 team from last year and are two of four players chosen from the island. Manders and Rawlins have been promising prospects for the last several years. Manders made his senior team debut as an 18-year-old for Bermuda at the ICC Americas Division One T20 championship in Florida in March 2013. He scored 64 at number three in his 50-over debut in a win over Italy two months later at ICC WCL Division Three in Bermuda and opened the batting in November at the 2013 World T20 Qualifier in the UAE.
Left-arm orthodox spinner Rawlins played against USA in a series of warm-up matches in March 2013 before making his official senior team debut that May at age 15 against USA at ICC WCL Division Three in Bermuda. He took 1 for 39 in a solid performance that was part of a five-wicket win, Bermuda's first over USA in a live contest since 2005.
Like Bermuda, USA also have four representatives in the squad. Among them is Keifer Phill, the 2014 Wingate Award winner as the most outstanding senior in the New York PSAL (Public Schools Athletic League) high school cricket competition. The selection is a homecoming of sorts for Phill and fellow USA player Trevis Ross. Both are originally from Guyana and developed much of their cricket there before migrating to New York City.
The coaching staff will be led by ICC Americas High Performance Consultant Tom Evans. An Australian native, Evans joined the ICC Americas Office last year after spending three years as the ICC East Asia-Pacific Regional Development Officer and has previous experience with Cricket Victoria. One coach each from the three countries will also be part of the coaching staff: Canada's Errol Barrow, Bermuda's Allan Douglas and USA's Linden Fraser.
"This is very much a coach development initiative as it is a player one," Evans told ESPNcricinfo. The squad will arrive in Georgetown on August 1 before attending WICB development seminars on August 2 and a training session on August 3 before the team's first match against Trinidad & Tobago U19 at Demerara Cricket Club on August 4. ICC Americas will play a total of six group games. Last year's ICC Americas U19 squad had a respectable showing in the WICB U19 tournament, defeating Leeward Islands by three wickets and scoring 209 in a chase against Windward Islands that ended in a tie.
ICC Americas U19 squad: Nikhil Dutta, Aniket Joshi, Armaan Kapoor, Abraash Khan, Farham Malik, Arjun Parikh (Canada); Onias Bascome, Tre Manders, Delray Rawlins, Micah Simons (Bermuda); Vibhav Altekar, Arsh Buch, Keifer Phill, Trevis Ross (USA).
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna