Last year, the Connecticut Patriots had a late surge in the tournament after a sputtering start. This year, they are back with a much bigger catchment area.
In their newest avatar as the New England Pioneers at this year's Radiant Info USA Twenty20, the team now has representatives from the entire USACA North East region including Connecticut and Massachusetts. More significantly, they have roped in two current West Indies cricketers to play for them.
Here is a sneak preview of the New England Pioneers. For more information on schedule and grounds for the tournament that will be held in New Jersey between September 5th and 7th, please visit www.USOpenCricket.com:
Fazal Alam, the captain of the New England Pioneers side, is well known around USA as the captain of Massachusetts State Cricket League as well as the North East Regional side. Playing for the Commonwealth Cricket Club in the Massachusetts State Cricket League, Fazal is consistently among the league's best batsmen and bowlers.
Picture (Right): Sharaz Baksh
Fazal, who played for Hyderabad Under 25, Osmania University, and in the Vizzy Trophy for South Zone Universities in India is a top order batsman and a medium fast bowler. Last year, playing for Argonauts in the DreamCricket.com Twenty20, he scored 34 runs in the crucial game against Challengers but his side lost that match and with that, their hopes of making the Semi-finals were quashed. This year, he hopes to lead his side to the championship.
Brian Murphy (36), who played for Jamaica between 1993 and 2002 is a right handed batsman and a leg-break bowler who has 789 runs and 89 wickets from his 34 first class appearances.
In the second innings of a match between Jamaica and Windward Islands in 1998, Murphy took 7 for 48 from 20.5 overs. This performance helped Jamaica score a 10 wicket victory and earned him a well deserved man of the match award.
Nikolai Charles (22) currently plays for Barbados is already making his mark as a an effective legbreak bowler getting 19 wickets from 7 first class appearances. He has played against many of the American players in this tournament including Dodson and Bartley, when in November 2008, he got 4 for 39 against the Americans in the WICB domestic ODI tournament.
Carlton Baugh (27) is a West Indies and Jamaica player who has 5 tests and 30 ODIs to his credit. A prolific scorer in first class cricket, Baugh has 3621 runs from 67 matches with a highest of 158 not out.
Carlton last played in an ODI in November of 2008 in Abu Dhabi when West Indies played Pakistan and hopes to make his way back into the West Indies side as a regular stumper.
Picture (Left): Carlton Baugh
Sharaz Baksh (29), who played for Guyana U19, has been part of the North East side for two years. In 2008, Sharaz scored a record 708 runs in the Massachusetts State Cricket League including 7 50s and 1 century from just 12 matches. He then followed that up with 104 runs from his 4 appearances in last year's DreamCricket Twenty20 tournament. This year, he is eager to go for the kill. Picture (Right): Sharaz Baksh
The New England side also features Jonathan Bonner (18) and Chad Monroe (19), two extremely promising youngsters from Connecticut.