Record-breaker Raj Vyas becomes the latest recipient of the New Inning Foundation USA Junior Cricketer of the Year for 2019-20. The Arizona native made history with his 7 for 10 on junior international debut for USA U-19 on his way to becoming USA's leading wicket-taker at the 2019 U-19 World Cup Qualifier Americas Regional Final in Canada.
Picture credit: ICC/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 recipient of the 2019-20 New Inning Foundation USA Junior Cricketer of the Year is Arizona’s Raj Vyas. The left-arm swing bowler produced a stunning performance at the 2019 ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifier Americas Regional Final in Canada, taking a team best 11 wickets which were also second best among all bowlers at the tournament.
On his junior national team debut against Cayman Islands in the tournament opener at King City, Vyas became the first USA bowler at any level – men’s, women’s or junior cricket – to take seven wickets in an innings in a limited overs match. It wasn’t just about the movement that Vyas demonstrated but his accuracy in continuously attacking the stumps that stood out on this day as six of his seven victims were out bowled or lbw. His seventh and final victim allowed him to eclipse the previous junior record-holder in American cricket, Mital Patel who took 6 for 46 against Afghanistan U-19 at the 2011 U-19 World Cup Qualifier in Ireland.
Vyas followed up that 7 for 10 performance with sustained economical output the rest of the tournament. He went for less than two per over in three of his four matches while his final performance against Canada was also a very respectable 1 for 18 in 5.1 overs attempting in vain to help USA defend a very low first innings total of 112 that was eventually chased down in just 22.1 overs. Vyas took at least one wicket in every match and ended with 11 scalps at an average of 4.81 and an economy of 1.88.
Vyas is currently enrolled at Arizona State University in the class of 2023 with an intention to major in electrical engineering. In recognition of his achievement, Vyas will receive a plaque as well as a $500 DreamCricket.com Pavilion Shop gift card sponsored by New Inning Foundation.