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By Peter Della Penna
This weekend, the USACA Senior Nationals will be played at
Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Fla. The following
includes a profile of each team involved in the event.
– The firm underdogs in this event have a very good bowling lineup.
Jermaine Lawson makes his debut after missing the Eastern Conference in
Atlanta due to a hamstring injury. Captain Neil McGarrell and Lawson
each boast West Indies Test match experience. Fellow bowlers Muhammad
Ghous and Imran Awan have experience playing for USA. Muhammad Nisar
also was impressive in Atlanta and these five will eat up most of the
Pic (Right): The most experienced cricketer in America, Neil Mc Garrell
But the team’s batsmen need to step up if they are going to have
any chance of winning this tournament. Aditya Mishra and Clain Williams
have both played for USA in the last year, but outside of those two,
there is not much depth. Durale Forest scored 126 runs to finish third
overall in Atlanta and will need to produce a similar output if the top
order falters again.
Atlantic squad: Neil McGarrell (captain), George
Adams, Imran Awan, Kunal Baride, Nisarg Chokshi, Durale Forest,
Muhammad Ghous, Jermaine Lawson, Aditya Mishra, Muhammad Nisar, Junaid
Rasheed, Charan Singh, Sean Stanislaus, Clain Williams.
– The defending national champions come back with a team that is
virtually twice as loaded as the team that won it all in 2009. The
bowling attack is hands down the best out of any of the four teams
competing. Adam Sanford, Kevin Darlington, Denison Thomas and Adrian
Gordon form a potent fast bowling unit while Dwayne Smith is one of the
best young leg-spinners in the country.
Pic (Left): Kevin Darlington has been the cornerstone of NY's bowling
Carl Wright, Rashard Marshall and Dennis Evans bolster the batting lineup after not participating in Atlanta.
“With Wright and Marshall coming in, it’s a big plus and also
Evans who has had the opportunity to play at the national level,” said
captain Steve Massiah. “Obviously, I think our chances are very good of
repeating, but at the end of the day it comes down to execution.”
Glen Hall continued his prolific form to be the leading run-scorer
and tournament MVP in Atlanta and will be counted on again for good
starts at the top of the order. In addition to the experience provided
by Steve Massiah, the youth is there with Andy Mohammed and Akeem
New York squad: Steve Massiah (captain), Kevin
Darlington, Akeem Dodson, Dennis Evans, Adrian Gordon, Glen Hall, Andre
Kirton, Rashard Marshall, Stuart Mills, Andy Mohammed, Adam Sanford,
Dwayne Smith, Denison Thomas, Carl Wright.
– A new entry into the Super League this year, North West arrives
hoping to make a splash and will have a perfect opportunity to do so in
their first match when they play New York.
“For the North West Region to really start making a mark on the US
cricket scene, the starting point for that would have to be, to qualify
for the Super League is the first step, but it’s when we beat New
York,” said vice-captain Saurabh Verma. “That’s when people can say the
region has arrived. So I’m super excited about having the opportunity
to bowl against the New York batsmen.”
Pic (Right): Saurabh Verma will be looking to make a comeback to the national side
Verma is part of a spin heavy bowling attack that includes fellow
leg-spinner Saqib Saleem and left-arm spinner Samarth Shah. Joining the
team for nationals along with Saleem is fellow 2010 U-19 World Cup
teammate Naseer Jamali, who will help to ease the fast bowling workload
off Bilal Khan.
The team has some very capable batsmen, including James
Crosthwaite, who lit up Woodley in Los Angeles at the Western
Conference in September to finish as the leading scorer in that
tournament with 247 runs. His lowest score was 73 and if he can
replicate that form in Florida it will take pressure off his teammates
and throw it squarely on the opposition. Captain Nauman Mustafa scored
one of the two centuries posted at Woodley and if he puts on a good
showing in the stadium he may force his way into the USA squad to go to
Hong Kong in January.
North West squad: Nauman Mustafa (captain), Rishi
Bharadwaj, James Crosthwaite, Shantanu Divekar, Naseer Jamali, Bilal
Khan, Saqib Saleem, Srinivasa Santhanam, Samarth Shah, Ashok Singh,
Sunny Singh, Srikanth Sundaragopalan, Arjun Thyagarajan, Saurabh Verma.
The Western Conference champs are looking to bounce back from a
frustrating experience in Florida last November. They went back to the
west coast winless and feeling victimized by poorly prepared pitches
and logistical snafus. This year they come in as the team best suited
to give New York a run for their money.
Pic (Left): Ravi Timbawala was one of the top scorers in SCCA Division 1
The team has a very well balanced bowling attack led by captain
Mehul Dave, the Western Conference MVP. His medium pace keeps things
tight while Elmore Hutchinson and Hammad Shahid will counted upon to
make the breakthroughs at the start of the innings. The team opted to
replace two other pacers from the squad that won in Los Angeles, David
Pieters and Salman Ahmad, in favor of a pair of left arm spinners,
Nadir Malik and Mrunal Patel. It could prove to be a wise move
depending on how many matches they get to play inside the stadium on
the slow turf wicket. Off-spinner Abhemanyu Rajp is also coming off a 7
for 35 performance while leg-spinner Timil Patel had the second most
wickets at the Western Conference with seven in three games. South West
certainly won’t be lacking options to choose from.
Wicketkeeper Ritesh Kadu is returning to the squad after being
unavailable in September and is joined as a new addition by Kanishka
Chaugai, the former captain of Nepal’s 2006 U-19 World Cup Plate
Championship winning side.
“Ritesh and Mrunal Patel are really two talented youngsters who
should be trying to impress the coach and the captain and the selection
committee to make a claim for the US team,” said vice-captain Aditya
Thyagarajan. USA’s Iceman, Thyagarajan is the rudder in the middle
order for South West. Ravi Timbawala, Kadu, Ali Shafi and Theo
Mavrokefalos finished as the top four scorers in SCCA’s Division 1 in
2010. They need to carry that form to Florida if South West wants to
finish the weekend on top.
South West squad: Mehul Dave (captain), Kanishka
Chaugai, Elmore Hutchinson, Ritesh Kadu, Nadir Malik, Theo
Mavrokefalos, Mrunal Patel, Timil Patel, Abhemanyu Rajp, Hammad Shahid,
Ali Shafi, Ricky Singh, Ravi Timbawala, Aditya Thyagarajan.
Tournament Schedule – All games are scheduled for 50 overs
starting at 9 AM at Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Fla.
DreamCricket.com will be providing live updates for all games taking
place inside the stadium.
Friday November 19
Atlantic vs. South West
New York vs. North West
Saturday November 20
Atlantic vs. North West
New York vs. South West
Sunday November 21
Atlantic vs. New York
North West vs. South West