Cricket All-Stars Series November 20, 2015

Jayawardene proposes All-Stars v USA in future


Mahela Jayawardene discusses strategy with former USA Under-19 players Vibhav Altekar and Arsh Buch in Los Angeles © Peter Della Penna

Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene has proposed having greater participation from the USA national team players in future endeavours involving the Cricket All-Stars, including the potential for a USA v All-Stars exhibition match.

"If the opportunity arises, the ideal scenario would be for an All-Star team to play the USA team, if we come next time around," Jayawardene told ESPNcricinfo in Los Angeles, during the final stop on the Cricket All-Stars tour. "If you get a few of the younger guys involved in it, who have just recently retired, you can probably have a good game. You can give [USA] an opportunity to play a match against some of the good players. I still think guys like Warney [Shane Warne] and Murali [Muttiah Muralitharan] probably still can bowl the way they were bowling. So it is a great opportunity I think."

According to several sources, a push was made behind the scenes by local officials to have USA players included in the actual All-Stars squads. At the top of the list was Barbados Tridents wicketkeeper-batsman Steven Taylor, while several other USA players who were recently chosen to be a part of a combined ICC Americas team to play in the 2016 WICB Nagico Super50 were also believed to be in the mix.

Instead, a compromise was reached to have USA national and regional players serve as net bowlers in the All-Stars training sessions, with two players designated as 12th Man for either team in the games in each city. This allowed local talent to participate in the festivities and soak up tips from the All-Stars. Jayawardene is vouching for them to get more genuine opportunities on a follow-up visit though, describing their skill level as "quite good" through his interactions with them on tour.

"They were getting tips from Warne and Murali and [Glenn] McGrath and all these guys, it's fantastic for them," Jayawardene said. "That kind of interaction for them, you understand the game in a better way, how it works in the mind as well. So it's a great opportunity, and this is just at practice. Imagine if you could get those guys to play in tournaments as well and proper matches.

"That's something that we could look forward to if everything goes well, and something that US cricket could come up with and see whether they can have a match organised. There are opportunities and things we could try to do to get the profile of cricket in the US to a different level. If we are to promote the game and to get the kids involved and get the ball rolling, I think we just need to keep doing these kind of events on a regular basis."

Jayawardene recalled his visit with the Sri Lanka team to Florida in 2010 when they played New Zealand in the first two T20Is by Full Members in the USA. At the same venue, USA played Jamaica separately in a pair of T20 matches that were scheduled as a doubleheader alongside the Sri Lanka v New Zealand matches. Jayawardene said he felt there is no reason why a tri-series or other multi-team tournament cannot be organised instead to give Associate teams opportunities against Full Members.

"It gives them a bit of exposure so that people get to see where they are and what needs to be done to improve," Jayawardene said. "[The All-Stars] is just a byproduct I think and you need to make sure the international game should come here as well, especially places like Toronto where you have good cricket grounds.

"We went there [in 2008] and it was a good tournament as well. Pakistan, us, [Zimbabwe] and Canada played in it as well, so it gave their guys a national opportunity. So we should try to see whether that kind of tournament can be organised on a regular basis."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Adrian on November 21, 2015, 16:07 GMT

    First concentrate on integrating Ireland Zimbabwe Canada and the USA into the system frequently instead of building castles in the sky, Mr Mahela Pandithasekera.

  • Venkata on November 21, 2015, 15:48 GMT

    There is a need to spread cricket around the world. USA participation could really help that. But the sad reality is that NO ONE REALLY cares about cricket in USA. Their media just rejects it outright. Cricket will only be successful when the mainstream media embraces the sport and starts talking / broadcasting important ICC tournaments live. this is at a minimum required to even say the sport exists in the country.

    Except the expats from India/Pakistan/SriLanka/Bangladesh and few from other settlers from cricketing nations no one really cares.

    The cricket associations in USA are a joke and are useless, powerless and have no idea how to convince and work with the media to promote the sport.

    my idea is ICC should just skip USA and concentrate on other nations like China/Russia/ Korea/ other European nations.

    I was disappointed to see the response on the all star cricket. painful to watch really.

  • Adrian on November 21, 2015, 13:54 GMT

    Hey don't u just concentrate on Zimbabwe, Ireland, Canada and USA, Mr Mahela???

  • Adrian on November 21, 2015, 13:26 GMT

    Mahela is self promoting himself. You looking to settle down in the states buddy maybe with a job in their cricket?. How predictable!!!.

  • Raman on November 21, 2015, 9:11 GMT

    Does Mahela want Davids to Meet ex-Goliaths? What's the point? Although ex many of them are still Goliaths and too much for the Davids. It is better Davids face a team like Bangladesh. That will help both of them to realize where they stand.

  • parthasarathy on November 21, 2015, 6:41 GMT

    why not play a pakistan vs india one day series even test series....out there in USA?? definitely asian crowd will flood into the stadiums.. it will be like festival in US !! Seeing all this US crowd also would join to get glimpses of pure cricket rivalry!!

  • Fahad on November 21, 2015, 4:02 GMT

    If this happens, All Stars should play ODIs, not just T20s.

  • Max on November 20, 2015, 20:27 GMT

    A national cricket team in the US will work as well as a national baseball team in India. Fan interest in cricket is mostly a first-generation thing in the US, with expats rooting for their national teams (mostly from Sub Continent). I am sure Jayawardene is confused by the interest shown by the players he saw and from the organizers. If all-stars really play locals, no one would show up to watch (the locals).

  • Jack on November 20, 2015, 19:56 GMT

    The US already has their "four seasons", namely, baseball, basketball, football and hockey. Cricket is played only among the South Asian and Caribbean immigrants hence can never be a mainstream sport here.

  • narendra on November 20, 2015, 18:38 GMT

    Mahela and co are trying too hard to marked ALL STARS. USA is better off playing associates or team B's. And they should stop playing cricket in baseball fields...that is a joke.

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