Taylor withdraws from USA squad for World T20 Qualifier
Wicketkeeper-batsman Steven Taylor has pulled out of the USA squad for next month's World Twenty20 Qualifier in Ireland after securing a full Caribbean Premier League contract with Barbados Tridents over the weekend. Taylor informed the USA Cricket Association of his decision to withdraw late Monday night.
The USA squad is due to depart from New York for Ireland on July 2, which would have meant that Taylor would miss the final three weeks of the CPL. The finals of the World T20 Qualifier and CPL both occur on July 26.
The loss of Taylor from the USA line-up is a devastating blow to their hopes of finishing in the top six at the 14-team event in order to reach next year's World Twenty20 in India. Taylor is USA's leader in T20 games with 34 matches and is by far their leading run-scorer in the format with 1073 runs, more than double the next player, at an average of 32.52. Taylor holds USA's four highest individual scores in the format, including their only two T20 centuries which were both made in 2013.
Taylor made his USA senior team debut in 2010 at age 16 and has been one of USA's top batsmen since becoming a regular in the senior team in 2012.
Without Taylor, USA's threadbare batting may become increasingly vulnerable at the World T20 Qualifier. Taylor's absence also means the current leader in T20 runs for USA in their touring squad is now Akeem Dodson, with 372 runs at an average of 16.17 and a career-best of 54 not out against Suriname in 2013.
USACA has yet to announce a replacement for Taylor in the 15-man touring squad.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna