Former Gujarat Under-19 batsman Monank Patel is in line to make his USA debut after being named in a 14-man squad for the 2020 ICC World T20 sub-regional Americas qualifier beginning September 19. Monank is one of four first-time selections in the USA squad along with Christchurch-based batsman David Wakefield, former Pakistan Under-19 allrounder Jannisar Khan and New York legspinner Usman Ashraf.
Monank, 25, was the standout player at a USA Cricket selection camp held in Texas this June, scoring an 80-ball unbeaten century in a 50-over trial match. Once a team-mate of Jasprit Bumrah and Axar Patel, the promising top-order batsman had to move to New Jersey for family reasons.
Wakefield, 24, has been one of the top batsmen in the last few seasons of Christchurch club cricket playing for Old Boys Collegians CC. He made his Canterbury A debut in March and a month later traveled to the USA to compete in regional trials in Florida, where he made a pair of half-centuries. His performances at the Texas camp were more modest with scores of 6 and 24, however, he stood out with his electric fielding. Wakefield qualifies to play for USA through citizenship, having been born in North Carolina before his family moved back to New Zealand when he was still an infant.
Jannisar, who will turn 37 in October, opened the bowling for Pakistan Under-19s in 1996 in a four-day game against an England Under-19 side captained by Andrew Flintoff. He made his first-class debut that same year for Peshawar and went on to play 68 first-class matches, the last coming for PIA in January 2014. He then moved to Houston, where he has been playing club cricket and doing youth coaching. Jannisar went wicketless at the Texas camp, but he did do well as a finisher with knocks of 38 off 47 and 22 not out off 11.
Ashraf, who turns 22 on Friday, came through the New York regional combine held at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx this June. Invited to the camp, he claimed figures of 1 for 47 and 2 for 44, including the prize wicket of former USA captain Steven Taylor. The young legspinner will serve as understudy to Timil Patel, who is the country's leading wicket-taker in T20 cricket with 31 scalps from 16 matches.
Eight of the other 10 members of the USA squad were part of the group that travelled to Antigua in January for the Cricket West Indies Regional Super50 tournament. Taylor played for Jamaica as part of his first-class contract with the franchise, though he is available to play for USA in the T20 Qualifier since the West Indies domestic season does not begin until October.
Ali Khan is also back. The fast bowler was unavailable for the Super50 in January due to work commitments but his performances for Winnipeg Hawks in the Global T20 Canada (10 wickets in eight matches) and Trinbago Knight Riders in the CPL (eight wickets in five matches) have brought him back into contention.
As expected, Xavier Marshall was left out of the squad. The former West Indies international made his USA debut at the Regional Super50 earlier this year, but was not invited to the Texas camp. Marshall drew the ire of the selectors and coaching staff when he skipped the last two days of the USA Cricket regional combine in New York in order to play a pair of club cricket matches in New Jersey and New York.
Aside from Marshall, the others who have been left out following the Super50 are allrounder Adil Bhatti, left-arm spinner Prashanth Nair, offspinner Usman Rafiq as well as spinning allrounders Mrunal Patel and Nisarg Patel. California batsman Srini Salver has been named as a travelling reserve player.
USA's first match at the T20 Qualifier is against Panama on September 19. They will also play Belize and Canada in the double round-robin tournament to be held at a new USD 5.2 million facility at Church Street Park in the Raleigh suburb of Morrisville, North Carolina.