Now, you can get all the USA Cricket updates via Facebook. Also follow us on Twitter via @dreamcricket
By Peter Della Penna
The USA U-19 squad will play four 50-over matches next month in
preparation for their tour to Ireland for the ICC U-19 World Cup
Qualifier. According to USACA General Manager Manaf Mohamed, the matches
will take place July 8, 10, 12 and 14 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The West Indies U-19 squad is scheduled to arrive in Florida on July 6
and leave on July 16. West Indies U-19 notched impressive victories
over Australia U-19 during a series of matches played in Dubai this past
April. West Indies U-19 beat Australia U-19 in two out of three Youth
ODIs before winning a subsequent three-day Youth Test match by four
After the series of four matches against the West Indies U-19 team,
the USA U-19 squad will continue training in Florida before departing
for Ireland on the 19th. Mohamed said USA would likely have two warm-up
games in Dublin before playing their first official match of the
Qualifier on the 28th. From there, USA will play nine matches in 13 days
and must finish in the top six to qualify for next year’s ICC U-19
World Cup in Australia.
The selectors have some interesting decisions to make after this
weekend’s selection camp took place in New York. Greg Sewdial made his
presence felt at the crease during a mini-trial game on Saturday in
which he cracked three fours and a six before walking off unbeaten.
Sewdial and Cameron Mirza were the most impressive of the batsmen on
Saturday while left-arm orthodox spinners Shayan Abdulghani and
Prashanth Nair stood out among the bowlers before the session was cut
short by rain.
It was previously reported that Abhijit Joshi and Mital Patel would
not attend the camp, but Gurpreet Sandhu and Fahad Babar also were not
in attendance. Joshi and Patel were excused to continue with specialized
training programs in India. According to a USACA administrator, Sandhu
was excused in order to travel to India to obtain a visa for Ireland and
the UK to be able to go to the tournament. Games will be split between
Dublin in the south and Derry in Northern Ireland. Babar did not attend
because he has apparently made himself unavailable to tour Ireland due
to personal reasons.
Barring any fitness concerns, Sewdial now appears to be a shoe-in for
the squad that will go to Ireland in a straight swap for Babar. Nair
will have a tougher time forcing his way into the team. It may depend on
the desire to have a third spinner who can turn the ball away from
right-hand batsmen as Gurpreet Sandhu and Shayan Abdulghani both had
strong showings at the ICC Americas U-19 tournament in February. Nair
was invited to the USA U-19 selection camp in January, but was not yet
eligible to play for USA based on residency requirements. However, he is
now eligible according to a USACA source.
Leg spin and
left-arm orthodox spin played a vital role in the success of the USA
U-19 bowling attack during the 2009-10 cycle with Saqib Saleem, Yash
Shah, Ryan Corns and Andy Mohammed making key contributions with the
ball. The key difference is that Shah was the only specialist bowler of
that group while the others doubled as genuine all-round options up the
Image (right) - Prashanth Nair (left) and Shayan Abdulghani
(right) at USA U-19 selection trials in New York. If selected together,
they could form a potent left-arm spin tag team. [Courtesy: Peter Della
The same scenario is not likely to happen in the current USA U-19
lineup. Abdulghani was slotted to come in at number 11 against Canada,
but never batted at the ICC Americas U-19 tournament while Sandhu made
four runs batting once at seven against Canada and was not among the
seven batsmen used in the first game against Argentina. Should he get
selected for the squad and make it into a starting XI, Nair would likely
play as a specialist spinner as well. Because the three aren’t
considered genuine all-round options at the international U-19 level,
the probability of all three featuring in the same XI is slim.
In addition to Nair, the other candidates who appear to have a slight
chance at forcing their way into the team for the first time are
Jasdeep Singh, Amarnauth Persaud and Akash Jagannathan. If the selectors
prefer an extra seamer over another spinner for Irish conditions, Singh
or Persaud would serve that purpose with their medium pace. Persaud is
also considered by many in the New York area to be a handy all-round
option, particularly because he bats left-handed. Right now, Steven
Taylor and Patel are the only players in the squad who bat left-handed.
If the selectors decide they want a reserve wicketkeeper for Taylor, or
to allow Taylor to play as a specialist batsman, then Jagannathan could
come into the frame as well. More than likely, only one out of Nair,
Singh, Persaud and Jagannathan may get selected in the 14-man squad but
all four have a solid chance of being in the initial list of 18.
A squad of 18 players is expected to be named later this week.
According to a USACA source, the selectors will consult with USA U-19
head coach Robin Singh before the list is narrowed to the 14 that will
go to Ireland. All countries must submit their final 14-man squad to the
ICC by June 28.