Middle-order batsman Aaron Jones has been the most dependable player in the USA lineup since making his debut and unsurprisingly finished the year as USA's leading scorer in 50-over cricket.
Picture credit: Peter Della Penna
By Peter Della Penna (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna
After a three-year hiatus, DreamCricket.com is celebrating the return of the New Inning Foundation USA Cricket Awards, which recognize USA’s standout performers at the international level. This edition of the awards will encompass performances in the 12-month span from March 2019 on USA's tour of the UAE through February 2020 during the ODI tri-series in Nepal, USA's final tour before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 2019-20 New Inning Foundation USA Batsman of the Year is middle-order staple Aaron Jones. Since making his debut for USA in October 2018, few players have been more dependable for the national team than the 26-year-old right-handed batsman.
For the time period, Jones finished as USA’s leading scorer in 50-over cricket with 846 runs in 26 innings at an average of 38.45. Nobody else averaged more than 28 for USA in the same timeframe. If Jones reached 50, it was virtually guaranteed a USA victory. He had one century and five half-centuries in his 26 innings, all of them coming in USA wins. Along the way, he also brought up 1,000 career runs in 50-over cricket for USA in just 27 innings, the second-fewest innings taken by a USA player to reach the landmark. Only former USA captain Sushil Nadkarni (22 innings) took less time than Jones to achieve the feat.
Jones’ year got off in red hot fashion as he finished unbeaten in three of his first four innings, each of them match-winning knocks: 81 not out v UAE in Dubai, 84 not v Lancashire in Dubai, and 103 not out v Namibia at World Cricket League Division Two in Windhoek. He claimed a Man of the Match Award after scoring the first ODI half-century on home soil for USA against Papua New Guinea, notching 77 in a rain-affected win in September 2019 at Lauderhill. Though he had a lean run by his own lofty standards on the November 2019 Super50 tour in Trinidad, Jones closed out 2019 in style on the tour of the UAE with back-to-back half-centuries – 95 v UAE and 74 v Scotland – in another pair of USA wins.
In a disappointing tournament teamwise at the ICC Americas T20 World Cup Regional Final in Bermuda, Jones also produced a pair of handy knocks to show his value in the shortest format. He top-scored with 39 off 29 balls in USA’s narrow six-run loss on the opening day to Bermuda. He then followed that up with an unbeaten 16 not out off 17 balls on an infamously dicey wicket to help seal victory via DLS Method against Cayman Islands chasing a low target of 69.
In recognition of his achievement, Jones will receive a plaque as well as a $500 DreamCricket.com Pavilion Shop gift card sponsored by New Inning Foundation.