Former West Indies batsman Xavier Marshall has been named in USA's 14-man squad for ICC World Cricket League Division Two, which starts later this month in Namibia, where USA will strive to obtain ODI status for the first time in their history.
Marshall first played for USA in January last year in the West Indies Regional Super50 tournament. But after managing just 137 runs in eight innings he was dropped in the summer, due, in part, to his partial absence from a squad trial in New York last June.
However, the 33-year-old Marshall made the most of a second chance with the side after being recalled last month for their tour of the UAE. He was in USA's starting XI for their maiden T20 international against the UAE, becoming the seventh player to take the field for two different countries in T20Is . After a slow start, he ended the tour as the side's leading scorer with 424 runs in nine innings, including a best of 170 against a UAE Developmental XI. He also scored three half-centuries, including 75 in USA's six-wicket win over Lancashire on the tour.
The fitness cloud over Barbados-contracted batsman Aaron Jones has also disappeared after he was named in USA's squad. Jones also played a key role in the win over Lancashire on tour by top-scoring with an unbeaten 84 but missed USA's last two matches against the UAE as a precautionary measure after retiring hurt with a left-knee injury against a UAE Developmental XI on March 24.
Though he was not named in the official 14-man squad, USA is expected to take 20-year-old Karima Gore as a traveling reserve to Namibia. Gore, a left-arm spinning allrounder, played three matches in Dubai last month and took four wickets with a team-best 3.51 economy rate on tour.
USA's squad will gather in North Carolina before departing on Friday April 12 for a brief three-day acclimatisation tour of Zimbabwe, during which they will play one warm-up fixture against a Zimbabwe Developmental XI on April 15. USA Cricket had planned to send the team to Johannesburg for a week of acclimatisation but multiple sources have confirmed that a last-minute change was made to go to Zimbabwe instead. This was because several members of the touring squad, who play for USA under the ICC residency qualification rules, are not American citizens and had trouble obtaining visas to enter South Africa.
Their first match at WCL Division Two in Namibia is on April 20 against Oman before playing four more round-robin matches against Namibia, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong and Canada.
The top four of the six teams in the event will secure ODI status with a guaranteed 36 ODIs through 2021 as part of the new Cricket World Cup League Two alongside Nepal, Scotland and UAE. The bottom-two finishers in Namibia will drop into Cricket World Cup Challenge League A and B, which is set to replace the World Cricket League 50-over World Cup qualifying pathway structure for Associates that has been in place since 2007.
USA squad: Saurabh Netravalkar (capt), Jaskaran Malhotra (wk), Elmore Hutchinson, Aaron Jones, Nosthush Kenjige, Ali Khan, Jannisar Khan, Xavier Marshall, Monank Patel, Timil Patel, Roy Silva, Jessy Singh, Steven Taylor, Hayden Walsh Jr.