USA news August 12, 2015

ICC Americas announce 83 players for first-round trial

Rizwan Cheema is one of the Canada players to miss out on the trial © Peter Della Penna

Eighty-three players, including 65 from the USA, will participate in a first-round trial for a chance to be selected in a combined ICC Americas regional team that will take part in West Indies' Nagico Super50 tournament next January. The 83 players will participate in the first part of the two-weekend trial, between September 18 and 21.

Twenty-one players were already earmarked last month for the final weekend of the trial from September 24 to 27.

The ICC has not confirmed how many players from the first weekend will be invited to phase two to join the second group of 21 players, but it is expected to be no more than ten. A final squad will then be picked, with some potentially getting a further invite to a Caribbean Premier League trial.

Apart from the 65 USA players, the list includes 14 players from Canada, one each from Cayman Islands and Bermuda as well as two players from Argentina. The trial will be run by Tom Evans, the ICC Americas high-performance consultant.

Three coaches Canada, two from USA and one from Bermuda - including Canada U-19 coach Errol Barrow and USA U-19 coach Thiru Kumaran - will play a talent observation and development role in the camp. However, none of the men's national team coaches from the three countries will be taking part.

"We were encouraged by the amount of interest in the online process and the quality of applications received, while I'm sure the selected players will now be striving for a place in Phase 2," Evans said in an ICC press release.

Batsman Timothy Surujbally is the only player from the recent USA World T20 Qualifier squad who will not be participating in the trial. Four players from the Canada squad - captain Rizwan Cheema, Ahmad Awais, Khurram Chohan and Jimmy Hansra - are absent, while Nikhil Dutta is another notable omission.

Dutta, a 20-year-old offspinner, had earned a CPL contract with St Kitts and Nevis Patriots but a dispute arose over his commitment to the Canada squad for the T20 Qualifier, after which his No-Objection Certificate was revoked by Cricket Canada and he wound up not going to the qualifier either. ESPNcricinfo had reported last month that Dutta and Cricket Canada are working through mediation to come to a resolution over the dispute before any decision is made regarding his participation in the Indianapolis camp.

The 65 USA players include two with relative obscurity from a cricketing perspective. Kyle Neathery is a 25-year-old former high school baseball star from Louisiana who is now trying his hand at cricket in Houston, Texas. Ryan Carter, 31, a former college lacrosse player at Butler University in Indianapolis, now lives and plays league cricket in the St. Louis area.

Seven former USA representatives not part of the squad to Ireland are also in the list, including Timroy Allen, who was USA's vice-captain at the 2013 T20 Qualifier in the UAE but had a falling out with the USACA administration and coach Robin Singh over player treatment during that tour. Ravi Timbawala, who is in the late stages of rehabilitation for a torn ACL suffered at the USACA T20 National Tournament in August 2014, is also in the list.

Three USA players are from the current U-19 squad that finished runner-up to Canada at the ICC Americas U-19 championship last month in Bermuda - leading scorer Kushal Ganji, Karan Patel and Gauranshu Sharma, the youngest player at the camp at just 17.

One teenager not included in any of USA's junior squads but who received an invite for the trial is Caen Healy, 17. Born to an American mother and an Irish father in London, he lived in Ireland until he was 11 before moving to California in 2008. However, he has traveled back to Ireland over the last several summers to play as a wicketkeeper for Merrion Cricket Club in Dublin.

Two other notable names are former Singapore player Glenn Meyer and former Guyana U-19 player Zaheer Saffie, who both currently play league cricket in New York City. Meyer made his senior team debut for Singapore as an opening batsman at the age of 16 in 2002, and played 38 times for the men's team with the last of those games coming in 2008, before he moved to the USA.

Saffie has been a prolific scorer in the Eastern American Cricket Association while captaining Big Apple Cricket Club but has never drawn the attention of regional or national selectors. He played for Guyana U-19 for three years between 2002 and 2004, where his team-mates included current West Indies players Leon Johnson, Assad Fudadin and Devendra Bishoo.

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

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