USA pick seven uncapped players for Auty Cup
The USA Cricket Association has announced a 14-man squad for a four-match series against Canada at the Central Broward Regional Park in Florida from November 14-17. The squad includes seven players who have yet to represent USA at the senior level and just three who were a part of USA's most recent tournament squad at ICC WCL Division Four in Malaysia: Steven Taylor, Ryan Corns and Andy Mohammed. The tour includes one 50-over match, two T20s and the two-day Auty Cup match which was resurrected last year in Toronto after a 16-year hiatus.
Most first choice players for USA are unavailable to participate in the matches against Canada after exhausting their vacation time from work to participate in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier and WCL Division Four.
USA captain Steve Massiah, vice-captain Sushil Nadkarni, Usman Shuja, Aditya Mishra, Aditya Thyagarajan, Elmore Hutchinson and Abhimanyu Rajp are all participating in the 2012 USACA National Championship, which was announced to take place for the weekend of November 10-11 in Florida, but will not be playing for USA in the mid-week matches against Canada. The absence of first-choice players will present an opportunity for fringe players to press their claims for selection to USA's squads for the ICC Americas Division One T20 and ICC WCL Division Three, which are both scheduled to take place next spring. No captain has been named for USA in the Auty Cup squad.
Two fringe players looking to cement a spot for next year's tours are Japen Patel and Adil Bhatti. Both were part of USA's squad at the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in March but were dropped for September's tour of Malaysia. Medium-pacer Adrian Gordon last represented USA in 2011 but has been given a call-up after spending the past summer playing club cricket in the UK for Skegness Cricket Club in Lincolnshire. Gordon is also set to play club cricket in Western Australia during the northern winter.
The biggest surprise among the recalls is Barrington Bartley. Long considered one of the best fielders in the country, Bartley had been continuously omitted since his last appearance for USA at the WICB Cup in November 2008, but at 32 he will be the oldest player in the squad and one of the more experienced ones at international level having represented USA at the 2005 ICC Trophy in Ireland.
One of the most notable first-time selections is Timil Patel, 28, who made his first-class Ranji Trophy debut for Gujarat in 2002. Timil played 38 first-class matches for the state and last represented them in December 2009 before moving to Los Angeles. He is regarded by many domestic players as the best legspinner in America and took 47 wickets this season in Division One of the highly-competitive Southern California Cricket Association competition.
Three of USA's uncapped players at the senior level previously represented USA at the junior level in the 2010 ICC U-19 World Cup in New Zealand. Wicketkeeper Saami Siddiqui and fast bowlers Hammad Shahid and Naseer Jamali have been given their first senior team call-ups and will join their former U-19 teammates Taylor, Corns and Mohammed in Florida.
Canada has named a full-strength squad to tour USA; seven members of the side that toured the UAE in March for the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier were selected to go to Florida. Rizwan Cheema will captain the 13-man squad, which includes just one player yet to earn a cap for Canada, Srimantha Wijeyratne.
USA Squad: Danial Ahmed, Barrington Bartley, Adil Bhatti, Ryan Corns, Adrian Gordon, Naseer Jamali, Andy Mohammed, Japen Patel, Timil Patel, Hammad Shahid, Saami Siddiqui (wk), Nicholas Standford, Timothy Surujbally, Steven Taylor (wk).
Canada Squad: Rizwan Cheema (captain), Khurram Chohan, Daesrath Damodar, Jeremy Gordon, Ruvindu Gunasekera, Jimmy Hansra, Usman Limbada, Henry Osinde, Hiral Patel, Raza-ur-Rehman, Junaid Siddiqui, Hamza Tariq (wk), Srimantha Wijeyratne.
Peter Della Penna is a journalist based in New Jersey