USA captain Saurabh Netravalkar ended as USA's leading wicket-taker on the year and was exceptionally effective both with the new ball and at the death, creating history during the year as the first player to record an ODI five-wicket haul for USA.
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 Bowler of the Year is USA captain Saurabh Netravalkar. In a year in which the overwhelming majority of USA’s fixture list comprised of 50-over matches on the path to obtaining ODI status, Netravalkar was USA’s leading wicket-taker in limited overs contests for USA, playing a major role in helping USA secure a place in Cricket World Cup League Two for 2019-2023.
The 29-year-old fast bowler claimed 35 wickets in 28 matches for USA in 50-over cricket at an average of 23.69 and an economy rate of 3.90, also the best economy rate for any USA bowler in the timespan. His 33 maidens were more than double the next closest teammate over the year, highlighting his incredible accuracy and stifling line and length. The only two matches in which his economy exceeded a run a ball were a pair of rain-affected contests at the CWI Super50 which were reduced to 30 and 20 overs while nine out of his 28 matches ended with an economy of 3.00 or less.
Netravalkar’s best performances came on the December tour of the UAE. He became the first USA bowler in history to claim a five-wicket haul in ODI cricket courtesy of an exceptional death bowling spell against the UAE to finish with 5 for 32 in a win for USA at Sharjah. Four days later, he turned in a Man of the Match performance against the same opponent at the ICC Academy in Dubai claiming 3 for 11 in nine overs to help USA to another win.
Perhaps his most famous moment on the year was his final over heroics at 2019 WCL Division Two in Namibia. After a momentum shifting old ball spell in the latter stages of the innings that claimed several wickets, Netravalkar ensured Ali Khan’s 5-wicket haul and a century from Aaron Jones didn’t go to waste by completing a runout off his own bowling for the game clinching wicket in the final over, securing a two-run win.
In recognition of his achievement, Netravalkar will receive a plaque as well as a $500 DreamCricket.com Pavilion Shop gift card sponsored by New Inning Foundation.