After several weeks of deliberation, the USA Cricket Association is going ahead with plans to prepare a team for ICC WCL Division Three in Uganda. The decision was reached at a meeting of the USACA board last week despite a formal vote not being taken on the matter.
"The board discussed it and we agreed that we will prepare a team and have the team ready to go," USACA board member Krish Prasad told ESPNcricinfo. "The only way the team would not be going from that meeting was that if the concerns of security, safety and health become a major issue, then we will not jeopardise our players. That was the understanding of the board."
Prasad acknowledged the board had taken into consideration that a number of players have expressed a desire not to go on tour. ESPNcricinfo reported last week that as many as six USA players might withdraw their availability for the tour, including the definite withdrawal of three first-choice players. However, he stated the majority of players are willing to go and if the ICC is going ahead with the tournament, then USACA will follow those plans.
"If something goes out of hand or we find out that the situation warrants us to not send a team, then that's the only reason we'll pull the plug on it," Prasad said. "The idea is now to get a team together and for those committed to go. Quite a few people are unwilling to go travel because of security and health issues which we could understand. If they're not ready to go, then nobody will be forced to go but from what we've been hearing, most of the guys are willing to go."
USACA has been in contact with the ICC, addressed their concerns with tournament organisers and has received assurances that all aspects of safety, security and health issues have been looked into. USACA was also told that the ICC was in contact with the US Embassy in Kampala. Prasad stated that the situation would have changed if there was majority opposition from USA players to not go on the tour.
"If a majority of players are reading and following the news because it's for their concern, safety and security, if we get 18 guys and 12 of them tell us they're not going because of these facts over safety issues… Americans are always on the target list," Prasad said. "We have to be extra careful. If something like that comes up, then obviously we have no choice but to say we can't go. We can't take the responsibility of sending guys there beyond their wishes or ignore safety, security or health issues."
Following the conclusion of August's USACA T20 National Championship in Florida, USACA was expected to name a group of 24 to 28 players to be invited to a selection camp in Fort Lauderdale this month where the yet to be named new USACA selection panel would choose a final group of 14. That announcement was delayed while discussions were taking place over whether or not to stick with plans to attend WCL Division Three in Uganda.
USACA is now in a time crunch to conduct a camp before the deadline to submit a final squad to the ICC by Friday September 26, 30 days before the start of the tournament in Uganda. The latest USACA would conceivably be able to hold such a camp would be the weekend of September 19-21, but it is unclear if such a camp will be arranged at such short notice.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna