USACA T20 MVP stakes claim for national spot
Nisarg Patel, the Most Valuable Player at the USACA T20 National Championship in Florida, is hoping that his performances during the tournament were enough to catch the attention of the USA team management and get a possible call-up to the national team for ICC WCL Division Three in Uganda.
"I would love to be in the men's national team as soon as possible," Patel told ESPNcricinfo. "In order to do that, I have to put in performances. Without performances I'm not going to get anywhere."
Patel, 26, top-scored in two of the three matches played by South West Region and was never dismissed at the tournament. On the opening day, he hit an unbeaten 54 off 29 balls against Central West that included three fours and six sixes. He also took 2 for 14 bowling left-arm spin in an eight-wicket win over North East.
A former junior representative of the USA, Patel played for the country at the 2006 ICC U-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka. He successfully completed bachelor's and masters degrees in pharmaceutical science and took up a job with a US multi-national pharmaceutical company's branch in the UK.
The left-arm spinning allrounder spent the 2011 season playing premier league cricket for Richmond in the Middlesex County Cricket League and then followed it up with two years playing for Chelmsford in the Essex Cricket League. At Chelmsford, he was the first XI's second highest scorer in 2012 and their leading wicket-taker in premier league matches for both 2012 and 2013. He took 31 wickets at an average of 12.96 in 2012 where he was fifth overall in the league and just three behind Buckhurst Hill's overseas pro, former New Zealand legspinner Todd Astle.
"Playing in England is always a good experience," Patel said. "Playing with good international players, county players consecutively for the last six or seven years has been a wonderful experience learning a lot from them. I've moved back this year to the States for good. Hopefully I can pass on that knowledge and experience to other players and teammates."
After accepting a job transfer that put him back in Los Angeles, Patel is aiming to become more involved in the US cricket scene. He feels he can be a meaningful contributor to the national team if given the opportunity.
"The good thing about my job right now is that it's a project management role so it gives you a lot of flexibility time management wise and job hours wise," Patel said. "Obviously it's difficult when you are doing such a high-prospect job and also trying to play professional cricket but I've done it in the past. I've done it in England for a few years and I don't see how there should be any problem doing it in the US as well."
"I've just come back. It's been a good eight months since coming back, scored a few runs and taken a few wickets. Hopefully I can carry on that momentum and hopefully I'll get a call."
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna