USA pick 42-year-old captain, two in 50s for WC qualifier
The USA Cricket Association has announced a 14-player squad for next month's Women's World Cup Qualifier that features a 42-year-old captain, Doris Francis, and two players in their 50s: Joan Alexander-Serrano (50) and Grace Chadderton-Richards (54), who are both older than the team's new coach, Robin Singh.
The selection process for the tournament, to be held in Bangladesh, was affected by a dispute over tour stipends. Six players from the preliminary 18-player squad, who signed a letter to USACA asking for an increased stipend, were left out of the final roster. Also missing was Indomatie Goordial-John, the leading scorer and most economical bowler at last year's ICC Americas Women's Challenge Series in Toronto.
Among the players included at the expense of those who protested the tour stipend is another 42-year-old, Durga Das. The new captain, Francis, is a former West Indies Test cricketer and was the 2011 USACA Women's National Tournament MVP.
The final squad named sees nine omissions from the original 18-player squad USACA picked in July. According to a source, Sanuja Dabade was injured at the squad's 10-day camp in Barbados in August. The other eight players were all part of the champion Tri-State Lynx squad, which won the 2011 USACA Women's Tournament this summer. They are Goordial-John, Candacy Atkins, Monique Mathee, Karen Bayles, Shondell Ward, Triholder Marshall, Shinead Emerson and Melissa Sandy. All eight of those Lynx players are in their 20s.
The Lynx team is coached by Linden Fraser, who was also the USA Women's coach up until October 10 when he was replaced by Singh , the former India allrounder. At this year's USACA Women's National Tournament, the Lynx won one 50-over match by 509 runs after racking up a score of 552 for 7.
Mathee, who was USA's first-choice wicketkeeper, scored 70 not out in a nine-wicket win over Canada during the ICC Americas Women's Challenge series in 2010 that clinched USA's spot at next month's qualifier. Mathee's score was the second highest individual score at the event behind Goordial-John's 83. Ward was USA's leading wicket-taker at that same event, finishing with eight scalps in three games including a best of 5 for 20. The next best bowler for USA, Francis, took three in three games.
The USA Women's squad is scheduled to leave New York for Bangladesh on November 5. USA's first match is against South Africa on November 15. USA is also scheduled to play the Netherlands, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka in Group A.
Former Pakistan batsman Asif Mujtaba will be assisting Robin during the series, while former West Indies Women's Test captain Louise Browne-Jackson will serve as team manager.
Squad: Doris Francis (captain), Joan Alexander-Serrano, Anahita Arora, Claudine Beckford, Ritu Bhargava, Shebani Bhaskar, Grace Chadderton-Richards, Durga Das, Sara Farooq, Nadia Gruny, Akshatha Rao, Samantha Ramautar, Erica Rendler, Delkash Shahriarian.
Peter Della Penna is a journalist based in New Jersey