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Steve Massiah will relinquish the captaincy of the US National Men’s team effective immediately, according to a news release issued by USACA. Massiah (34) has played for the USA since 2000 and has been the captain of Team USA since 2006.
Explaining his decision to step down from captaincy, Massiah said: “In recent months I have found myself thinking that it was time for a change at the top; for a new voice to lead our team."
"As the preparation for the ICC T20 Qualifier begins in earnest over the coming weeks, I wanted to give myself the very best opportunity of being selected and to positively contribute to our campaign. T20 is a very demanding game both physically and mentally and you need to be at your best for every ball," Massiah said.
"If the guys can play well and qualify for the ICC T20 World Cup that would be the pinnacle of my career and I am 100% focused on achieving that goal."
USACA President, Gladstone Dainty, was full of praise for Massiah’s service to US cricket: “Steve has been an excellent servant of US cricket for many years now. He has reached a time in his career and in his life where he understands that he can still contribute to the team, but in a different form. He is transitioning his energies to be a mentor of some of the emerging talent in our team, rather than shouldering all of the responsibility of captaincy at the international level."
"I look forward to his continued positive contribution to the team and to the work that he will do imparting his knowledge and experience to the younger players," Dainty added.
While Massiah must be thanked for his many contributions to the game - he is USA’s leading scorer in 50-over cricket with 2147 runs - he was not very effective in the T20 format and his announcement is generally viewed as a good development.
As Peter Della Penna wrote on DreamCricket in his 'Outlook for the Future' piece in May following the conclusion of 2013 ICC WCL Division Three, "[Massiah] doesn’t command a place in USA’s T20 team, let alone a spot as captain, with a T20 average of 11.00 in 14 games."
Following the 2013 ICC WCL Division Three tournament, Della Penna wrote that it was time for USA to look at appointing a different captain. "[Massiah's] leadership has become stale and captaincy appears to have had some drain on his batting. He has not scored a century in tournament play since 2006," he wrote.
USACA noted in the media release that it will begin to consider leadership of the team to compete in the ICC T20 Qualifier and the final 15 players that will comprise the team. The captaincy decision may be a toss-up between Orlando Baker and Neil McGarrell. Sushil Nadkarni, who captained USA at the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier has opted out of the qualifier tournament due to work-related constraints.