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USA's preparation tour to Jamaica cancelled

USA's previously scheduled five-day preparation tour to Jamaica ahead of ICC WCL Division Three in Malaysia has been scrapped

USA skipper Sushil Nadkarni is bowled by Aizaz Khan during the 11th place play-off final at the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier played at the ICC Global Cricket Academy on 23rd March 2012

Vice-captain Sushil Nadkarni is a doubtful starter for USA's opening WCL Division Three due to visa issues  •  Travis Pittman/HKCA

USA's previously scheduled five-day preparation tour to Jamaica ahead of ICC WCL Division Three in Malaysia has been scrapped. Instead, the team will depart straight from New York on Sunday with a planned arrival in Malaysia on Monday night, giving the team just two full days of acclimatisation ahead of the start of the six-team tournament on Thursday. USA's squad was supposed to leave for Jamaica on October 15 for a five-day camp including two warm-up matches prior to going to Malaysia, but according to USACA board member Krish Prasad, no tickets were ever purchased and the tour was cancelled due to USACA's poor financial situation.
"We didn't have the money to go to Jamaica," Prasad told ESPNcricinfo on Saturday in New York. "Finances were not available and coupled with the fact that the [Hurricane Gonzalo] was coming... We didn't know about the storm until much later, a couple days before, but we did not have the money to go to Jamaica."
According to another USACA official, a lack of communication from the West Indies Cricket Board over venue availability due to the hurricane also contributed to the decision.
USACA was able to fly most of the players in the squad to New York on Saturday, but only half the 14-man squad was present for a hastily arranged training session at Idlewild Park led by assistant coaches Milton Pydanna and Nasir 'Charlie' Javed. Head coach Robin Singh is scheduled to travel straight from India to join the team in Malaysia while USA's manager, New York league president John Wilson, was absent due to a prior engagement in New Jersey with his local cricket club. Five players from Texas, California and Oregon missed the 2.30 pm training session because their flights arrived in the late afternoon or evening. Jermaine Lawson, who lives in New York, was also absent from the training session - a USACA official stated he was excused to attend to a personal matter.
Star batsman and vice-captain Sushil Nadkarni is still sitting at home in Houston, Texas, due to visa issues. According to USACA cricket operations director Owen Grey, Nadkarni still has not received his passport from the Malaysian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Though US citizens can obtain a visa on arrival in Malaysia, Nadkarni currently has permanent-resident status in the US and is still an Indian citizen, which necessitated a Malaysian visa application before departure. The earliest it could be approved is Monday while it would take another day to be couriered back to Texas. It leaves open the possibility that Nadkarni may miss USA's first match of the tournament on Thursday against Bermuda, and potentially more games if the situation is not resolved quickly.
Prasad admits that the whole build-up to the tournament has been far from ideal for USA's players.
However, as USA has often done in the past, he is hoping that the natural talent of the players will make up for any adversity they've had to face due to a lack of preparation and training sessions as a team.
"The only positive we have here is that a lot of cricket was still being played in their leagues, but from the USACA level finances affected our preparation," Prasad said. "We got money from the ICC only on Thursday, so that's when we could buy tickets for the Malaysia tour. Thursday we bought tickets and brought the players here today on Saturday."

Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna