Timil Patel appointed USA captain for Auty Cup
Former Gujarat Ranji Trophy player Timil Patel was, on Tuesday, announced captain of USA for the Auty Cup tour to Canada beginning July 25. Patel, 29, is the oldest player in the squad and takes over the role that was initially assigned to the youngest player in the squad, 19-year-old Steven Taylor.
"Being named the captain of USA is an enormous honor and I am grateful to USACA for this opportunity," Patel said in a USA Cricket Association (USACA) press release. "We have a young team who are determined to do well and win the Auty Cup back for the US. Last year it was very difficult losing to Canada. I have been working hard in the lead-up to this year's competition and I hope to lead by example."
Patel made his debut for USA last November in Florida against Canada during the previous Auty Cup series. He captained USA in the first Twenty20 match when they lost by 36 runs, after Taylor suffered a leg injury in the lone 50-overs match. Although primarily a legspinner, Patel produced USA's best batting performance of the series last year to help them win the second Twenty20 by 46 runs after opening the innings and top scoring with 67 off 55 balls.
Taylor was stripped of the USA senior team captaincy for the Auty Cup after he violated USACA tour protocol by breaking curfew while he was captain of the USA U-19 team, which was in Canada participating in the ICC Americas U-19 Division One Tournament earlier this month. USA finished in second place at that event behind tournament champion Canada. In addition to losing the captaincy, Taylor will also have to sit out the two-day match at the start of the tour but will be eligible to play in the 50-overs match and the two T20s that follow.
USA is fielding an under-strength squad in Canada with numerous first choice players opting not to play. The USACA informed the players prior to submitting their availability for the matches that no stipend would be offered for the brief tour. As a result, many of USA's regulars chose not to take time off work, meaning less-experienced players will now have an opportunity to showcase their skills against a strong Canada unit. Former Canada captain Ashish Bagai has been picked in Canada's squad and is set to make his return to the national team for the first time since the 2011 World Cup.
Peter Della Penna is a journalist based in New Jersey