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By Peter Della Penna (on Twitter)
Batsman Andy Mohammed has been added to the USA squad in place of Rashard Marshall for 2012 ICC WCL Division Four, which begins Monday, September 3 in Malaysia. According to an ICC spokesperson, USACA made a request to add Mohammed as an “injury replacement” for Marshall, which was approved.
However, according to an anonymous source, Marshall is not injured but was removed from the squad after requesting to leave the USA on the evening of August 31 due to a work assignment. USA’s squad is due to leave Los Angeles for Kuala Lumpur in the early morning hours of August 27. Meanwhile, Steven Taylor, Usman Shuja and Aditya Mishra will all be departing from the USA four days later on August 31.
Prior to the official USACA squad announcement on August 3, Shuja, Mishra and Taylor had received permission to join the squad late. Shuja and Mishra made the request due to work commitments while Taylor is currently in Barbados as the captain of the ICC Americas U-19 squad at the West Indies Cricket Board Regional U-19 Tournament. The ICC Americas U-19 squad’s last match is August 29 and they will not depart Barbados until August 30.
Yet, it appears that Marshall’s request to join the squad late for work reasons was denied because he notified the USACA board on August 16 instead of prior to the squad being chosen and submitted to the ICC for the August 3 deadline. If Marshall was replaced by USACA due to work reasons, it would be contradicting their formal request to the ICC to replace Marshall due to injury.
In an email – obtained from an anonymous source – dated August 16, and addressed from USACA selection chairman Selwyn Caesar to USACA General Manager Manaf Mohamed, Caesar wrote the following:
I received a call from Rashard Marshall this morning advising he has an unscheduled work assignment on Friday August 31st and would like arrangements be made for his travel on the evening of August 31st.
I am aware the call should have been directed to you, however I request you arrange to call Rashard this afternoon (he may be sleeping today for work tonight) in order to work out the details and advise accordingly.
Mohamed then sent out an email to numerous USACA administrators which stated:
Regarding e-mail from Selwyn below.. Spoke to Rashard today. He only found out a day or so ago that he has to be at work on Aug 31 to receive his work assignments for the month.
Should I re-schedule his flight out or do I need to replace?? Please advise.
This would not be the first time USACA has attempted to pull off a questionable maneuver with regards to replacing a player for an ICC event. At 2011 ICC WCL Division Three in Hong Kong, Aditya Thyagarajan was lost for the tournament following the second match after dislocating his right knee. USACA then requested to add assistant coach/bowling coach Howard Johnson to the squad as an injury replacement.
According to sources, the ICC agreed to accept Johnson as a replacement player under the premise that Johnson would only be utilized in case three other players also became injured at which point USA would have had no choice but to use him as a substitute fielder or put him in the starting eleven. Johnson’s last appearance for USA before then came as a 40-year-old at the 2005 ICC Trophy in Ireland.
However, 46-year-old Johnson leapfrogged three other healthy players, including then uncapped 28-year-old fast bowler Durale Forrest, to appear in the starting eleven in USA’s next match against Papua New Guinea. Johnson took 2 for 23 in the seven-wicket loss after USA was sent in by PNG and bowled out for 44. Johnson then sat out USA’s final three matches of the tournament.
Six months later, USA named a squad for the 2011 ICC Americas Division One Twenty20 tournament in Florida which included Nauman Mustafa in the 14-man list. However, he was mysteriously removed from the squad just a week before the start of the tournament and replaced by Sushil Nadkarni. When asked to explain how Nadkarni was added to the squad in favor of Mustafa, Manaf Mohamed replied, “The president [Gladstone Dainty] gave me that instruction.”
USA’s first match of 2012 ICC WCL Division Four will be against Malaysia on September 3. DreamCricket.com will have live coverage from Kuala Lumpur for all of USA’s matches beginning at 10:30 a.m. local time, 10:30 p.m. EST and 7:30 p.m. PST the previous night in America.