USACA T20 National Championship August 14, 2014

Favourites New York bank on experience

Group A

New York

On paper, the strongest team in the tournament. Led by former USA captain Steve Massiah, the squad includes seven current and former USA players. Their bowling unit is balanced with Adam Sanford, George Adams and Casper Davis, Jr leading the pace attack, and with support from Barrington Bartley, Karan Ganesh and Prashanth Nair in the spin department. While the squad is by no means old, the team boasts far more experience than just about every other participating side. New York have entered tournaments in the past in confident fashion due to similar depth but sometimes struggled to come away with hardware.

South West

The team that has the best chance of taking out New York in the group, the squad is dominated by players from the Southern California Cricket Association, which left USACA to join the ACF. However, USACA relaxed its stance on non-sanctioned league players participating so that the traditionally strong region could send a team to this event. South West will be weakened by the absence of Elmore Hutchinson in the pace department, but their batting is rock solid with the presence of the Thyagarajan brothers, Aditya and Arjun, as well as Ravi Timbawala, Ritesh Kadu and former Gujarat allrounder Timil Patel.

Central West

One of the strongest growing regions of cricket in the country with thriving Texas leagues in Dallas and Houston, Central West will be coached in the tournament by former Pakistan international Asif Mujtaba. The team is captained by Usman Shuja, USA's second-highest wicket-taker in 50-over cricket, but they are weakened by the absence of big hitters Sushil Nadkarni and Orlando Baker. Much of their success will depend on the ability of the younger batsmen in the squad to step up and adapt quickly to the increased level of competition.

North East

A region that is often ignored at selection time, there is some decent talent lurking in this squad that could catch some of the other teams sleeping if they are not prepared. Their batting is spearheaded by Sharaz Baksh while other unheralded contributors in the squad include Twain Walter and Fazal Alam as well as Jonathan Bonner, younger brother of Jamaica Tallawahs and West Indies international Nkrumah Bonner. The team received a late boost when former USA and Karnataka batsman Aditya Mishra was added to the squad, as he is likely to provide much-needed stability and leadership.

Group B


Atlantic have a much younger squad than the one that won the tournament championship in 2011 when they were led by Neil McGarrell, and had other solid performers in Mishra and Gowkaran Roopnarine. However, there is still plenty of promising talent that should get them at least to the semi-final stage. The squad is led by fast bowler Imran Awan with support from fellow Washington D.C. pacer Adil Bhatti, left-arm spinner Danial Ahmed and batsman Charan Singh.

Central East

The squad is dominated by players from the Midwest Cricket Conference, which also holds membership in USACA's rival governing body, American Cricket Federation. Perhaps the MCC's biggest star is the former USA Under-19 representative Fahad Babar, who made his senior debut in the UAE during last year's World T20 Qualifiers. Earlier this year, Babar set a Central East Region record by scoring 278 off 97 balls in a league match.

North West

One of the best organized regions, the squad is infused with a lot of young talent, including a series of recent USA junior national team representatives like Vibhav Altekar, Pranay Suri and former USA Under-19 captain Shiva Vashishat. Allrounders Saqib Saleem and Srini Santhanam provide middle-order depth to the team while several other players like Rishi Bhardwaj and Srini Salver who have been fixtures in the regional side for several years, will be looking to make a strong impression in Florida.

South East

This squad lacks the overall depth of the others, but possess the biggest wildcard in the draw that no one else can compete with in explosive wicketkeeper-batsman Steven Taylor, who has a well-established reputation at international level after scoring 162 against Nepal last year. Taylor was also the first USA batsman to score a T20 century and he enjoys bullying local bowling attacks. However, beyond Taylor and South East captain Japen Patel, there is a distinct lack of talent and experience, so losing both the players early in the games may cause South East to be exposed.

Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna