McGarrell named USA captain for World T20 qualifier 2013
Neil McGarrell, 41, has been named USA's captain in a 15-man squad for the 2013 World Twenty20 Qualifier next month in the UAE. McGarrell, who played four Tests and 17 ODIs for West Indies between 1998 and 2001, made his debut for USA in 2012 against Canada, and takes over from Steve Massiah, who had been captain for seven years. Massiah was retained in the squad along with Orlando Baker, who captained USA to an 8-0 record in a stand-in capacity at the 2013 ICC Americas Division One Twenty20 tournament in March.
Adam Sanford, 38, and Imran Awan are also making their way into the squad as fast bowlers. Sanford, who played 11 Tests for the West Indies from 2002 to 2004, played for USA in a series of trial matches against Bermuda this past weekend, and is set to make his official debut for USA in their opening match against Canada in Abu Dhabi on November 15. Awan, once considered one of the fastest bowlers in the Associate world, hasn't played for USA since 2010 after struggling with his accuracy.
USA's lack of experienced pace bowlers was apparent earlier this year during the ICC World Cricket League Division Three competition, where they finished third. Seamer Usman Shuja, who was dropped ahead of WCL Division Three, was not brought back into the squad for the tour to the UAE, though he had been included in a list of 28 probables in September. Timroy Allen has decided to return for USA after announcing his retirement following the end of WCL Division Three in May to focus on work and family commitments. Allen has subsequently been named vice-captain for the tour.
Three players from USA's tour of Bermuda for WCL Division Three earlier this year are not in the squad for the qualifier. USA's batting will likely struggle in the absence of Sushil Nadkarni and Rashard Marshall. Nadkarni had to withdraw due to work commitments, and it is believed Marshall was unavailable for the same reasons. Medium pacer Naseer Jamali is the third player not retained. Only five players who played for USA at the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in 2012 - Baker, Muhammad Ghous, Elmore Hutchinson, Japen Patel and Steven Taylor - will be traveling back to the UAE in November.
Besides Sanford, the only other player in the squad yet to play in an official match for USA is Srinivasa Santhanam. An allrounder originally from Tamil Nadu, Santhanam now plays for Microsoft Cricket Club in Seattle. The Pacific Northwest, and Microsoft CC in particular, has been a growing source of talent for the USA in recent years, with former USA spinners Samarth Shah and Saurabh Verma also hailing from the club, while Naseer Jamali plays in the Seattle area.
USA has been placed in Group A along with Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Namibia, Uganda and the UAE. USA finished 12th at the qualifier in 2012, but posted a noteworthy upset of Scotland at the event. The top six teams in this year's qualifier will advance to the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
USA Squad: Neil McGarrell (captain), Timroy Allen (vice-captain), Danial Ahmed, Imran Awan, Orlando Baker, Barrington Bartley, Akeem Dodson (wk), Karan Ganesh, Muhammad Ghous, Elmore Hutchinson, Steve Massiah, Japen Patel, Adam Sanford, Srinivasa Santhanam, Steven Taylor (wk).
Peter Della Penna is a journalist based in New Jersey