Steven Taylor to captain USA for Canada tour
Steven Taylor, who earlier in June was named the USA Under-19 captain for the ICC Americas Division One U-19 tournament in Canada from July 8-14, will lead the senior team back to Canada for a second tour later in the month. Taylor, 19, is the youngest player picked in the USA senior team and will captain a 14-member squad against Canada as USA tries to regain the Auty Cup, a trophy awarded to the winner of a two-day match recognising the rivalry between the two countries that stretches back to 1844, the oldest rivalry in international cricket.
Taylor is one of only four players from the squad that participated at the ICC World Cricket League Division Three in Bermuda last April and May who will be traveling to Canada for a tour which includes the two-day match, a 50-over contest and a pair of Twenty20 matches to be played from July 25-28. The other three players - Akeem Dodson, Danial Ahmed and Naseer Jamali - were reserve players on the tour to Bermuda with Ahmed and Jamali only playing the third-place playoff after USA fell short of clinching a spot at the 2014 ICC World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand.
A USACA press release stated that several first-choice players were unavailable to tour Canada due to work commitments. Among those are regular 50-over captain Steve Massiah and vice-captain Sushil Nadkarni as well as Orlando Baker, who captained USA's Twenty20 team to an undefeated tournament title at the 2013 ICC Americas Division One Twenty20 tournament in March.
It opens the door for eight players to earn a recall to the senior team. Two other players, batsman Ravi Timbawala and fast bowler Mohammad Usman Rehman, have been selected for their first senior team tour. Both players previously represented USA at the 2006 U-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka along with Dodson and spinner Abhimanyu Rajp. The matches are USA's last international assignment ahead of the 2013 World Twenty20 Qualifier in the UAE.
"This is a relatively young group of players and I want them to go out onto the field confident that they can win this tournament and play fearless cricket," USA coach Robin Singh was quoted in the press release. "I am also excited to see how the young group of bowlers stand up to tough challenges when their skills are tested both mentally and physically."
Squad: Steven Taylor (captain), Danial Ahmed, Ryan Corns, Akeem Dodson, Karan Ganesh, Adrian Gordon, Naseer Jamali, Mital Patel, Timil Patel, Abhimanyu Rajp, Mohammad Usman Rehman, Nicholas Standford, Timothy Surujbally, Ravi Timbawala
Peter Della Penna is a journalist based in New Jersey