Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna
A document accessed by ESPNcricinfo states that the decision to sack Steven Taylor as USA vice-captain was made after the player and at least two of his team-mates turned up visibly drunk for a team meeting the night before an ODI in the UAE. Of the three, Taylor's condition was the most severe, and it allegedly led to a verbal confrontation between him and head coach James Pamment, according to multiple sources.
A report submitted by Pamment to USA Cricket administrators at the conclusion of the tour says that Taylor and others, including Monank Patel, had been drinking prior to arriving to a team meeting on December 13, the night before USA's last ODI against Scotland on the December tour of the UAE. They lost that match by four wickets after having won the first three ODIs on tour against UAE and Scotland. In the report, Taylor is described by Pamment as turning up "more than half pissed" and that after the team meeting ended, the player headed straight back to the hotel bar.
"His behavior at the meeting was extremely disrespectful and in total contempt to everything that the group had been striving to achieve," Pamment wrote. The report is also critical of Taylor's overall work ethic and approach to training, stating that "his athletic conditioning is something he clearly doesn't value" and that Taylor is "the lowest recorded athlete in the group" when it comes to assessments conducted by the team's strength and conditioning coach.
Monank also came in for a scathing assessment in the report. According to Pamment, he "turned up half pissed for the Scouting and Team meetings, which is hard to understand given his role in the Leadership group and even harder to understand, he decided to return to the bar for an evening session after the meetings had been concluded." Monank was out second ball the following morning, his second duck of the tour. Taylor managed to top score with 56 from No. 3 in the loss, having entered the match with scores of 0, 17 and 16 in the three earlier wins.
Nisarg Patel was another player to come in for criticism, with Pamment writing in the report that "he had little regards for the team's culture by joining others on the piss the day before the game". However, the report does not make any explicit claim that Nisarg went back to the bar in the same manner as Taylor and Monank once team meetings had ended. Nisarg made 38 off 52 balls against Scotland after entering at No. 7.
USA Cricket did not publicly disclose any information about the incident until after the touring squad for the upcoming series in Nepal was named in the third week of January, more than five weeks after the incident occurred. When asked why the vice-captain designation was no longer listed next to Taylor's name in the squad press release, a USA Cricket spokesperson stated that Taylor was reprimanded for "failing to display the high standards of behavior and professionalism that are expected of all USA National Team cricketers on last month's tour of the UAE."
Separately, Monank and Nisarg were not named at all by USA Cricket in their statement. That statement said: Taylor "was not the only player to have acted in a manner which was inconsistent with the team's values and, after a review, was found to have broken team rules. All players involved have acknowledged their error of judgment and apologised to their team-mates and support staff and have committed to responding positively."
Like Taylor, Monank was a member of the team's senior leadership circle, intended to support captain Saurabh Netravalkar. Though Taylor was stripped of the vice-captaincy, it was unclear if Monank continued to hold a role in the leadership group in the wake of the incident in the UAE. Sources have indicated that at least one and possibly two other players were involved in the same incident, though none of them were explicitly implicated in the document obtained by ESPNcricinfo.
This is the second time in Taylor's career that he has fallen afoul of the USA management in an alcohol-related incident. He was stripped of the USA men's captaincy in 2013 before he had even led the team on to the field for that summer's Auty Cup series against Canada after USACA reprimanded him for breaking team rules after going out beyond curfew for a night of drinking with one of his team-mates while he served as USA Under-19 captain in Canada.
USA's squad is currently in the middle of a warm-up tour of India, playing three trial matches in Mumbai against a series of local sides before heading on to Kathmandu. Their first match in the ODI tri-series in Nepal is against Oman on February 6.