USA Cricket News

USA Cricket: 2018 WCL Division 3 Tour Report Card Part 2 – Player Grades

2018 Nov 23 by DreamCricket USA

In part two of DreamCricket's traditional tour report card, an in-depth analysis is given of each player's performances at WCL Division Three in Oman

Photo credit: Copyright by Peter Della Penna

By Peter Della Penna (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna)
 
For those unfamiliar with how individual players have been graded in the past as part of DreamCricket’s post-tournament report cards, each player is evaluated with regards to their specific role in the team on a match-by-match basis and not based on their overall aggregate stats.
 
For example, Steven Taylor was given a C after 2013 WCL Division Three in Bermuda. At first glance, this might be surprising considering the fact that Taylor was the tournament’s leading scorer with 274 runs. However, he achieved that feat by scoring 162 in the opening match followed by scores of 6, 0, 0, and 9 through the remainder of round-robin play, then another 97 in the inconsequential 3rd place playoff match. In essence, he had an A+ score in the opening match followed by four failures, then another good score that came in a match with nothing riding on it in terms of promotion or relegation. As such, his aggregate total as the tournament’s leading scorer was misleading compared to his match-by-match output.
 
Similarly, a middle-order batsman might score half as many runs as an opening batsman but will get a higher grade because the scoring opportunities for players down the order are narrower than those at the top of the order and as such, a quick 25 at No. 6 after entering with less than 10 overs remaining is graded differently than a 25 made by an opener or a No. 3 entering early in the innings. Scoring in pressure situations or against higher class bowling is also reflected in grades compared to weaker bowling or in situations where the pressure is off.
 
On the bowling side, the same grading standards apply. Bowlers who excel under pressure and against higher quality opposition are graded more favorably. Overall chances created by a bowler are taken consideration, regardless of whether or not those chances were converted or dropped. Likewise, fielding and fitness contributions are also taken into consideration, with bonus marks for top catching and fielding contributions and deductions for drops or missed chances. In order to receive a grade, a player has to appear in a minimum of 50% of USA’s matches.
 
With those guidelines laid out, here are DreamCricket’s player grades for 2018 WCL Division Three in Oman:
 
Monank Patel: C+
 
USA’s new star at the top of the order confidently boasted in an unsolicited comment while making a visit to one of the video/photography media tents during the Uganda v Denmark match on day one of the tournament that, “I’m going to score a double-hundred here” in Oman. According to Monank, the pitches in Oman were a flat batting paradise.
 
It was a bold statement to make considering the fact that most entire teams struggle to get past 200 in the WCL. The highest score in the history of the World Cricket League was 196 made by Namibia’s Gerrie Snyman more than a decade ago. That means that 200 could not be accomplished by great players who have appeared in the competition in years past such as Ryan ten Doeschate, Eoin Morgan and Khurram Khan.
 
Monank scored a century the next day against Uganda before proudly pointing to his bat and making a mouth gesture with his hands in order to show the assembled media present that he lets his bat do the talking. Unfortunately, Monank’s bat struggled to find words through the rest of the event with a combined 82 runs in USA’s final four matches. He fell 11 runs short of reaching 200 runs for the entire tournament, let alone accomplishing it in one match.
 
Fitness was a key issue that held back Monank from scoring more. His century against Uganda appeared to have taken quite a physical toll on him because he spent considerable time off the field during USA’s fielding innings in the same match against Uganda as well as at various points in the rest of USA’s other matches, most notably against Denmark when he was cramping up early in Denmark’s chase in spite of USA coming off two straight rest days. Even on the last day against Singapore, the USA physio had to come out onto the field after a wicket had fallen but not at a scheduled drinks break to give Monank extensive treatment for what is rumored to be a chronic back issue, never a good sign for a 25-year-old.
 
Beyond his century, the next best score Monank made was 26 against Kenya and his best partnership contribution outside the Uganda match was making 22 in a 61-run stand with Jaskaran Malhotra against Denmark. He also benefited more than any other player from fielding lapses by the opposition. The cricket gods were smiling on Monank and the USA squad as a whole when Uganda captain Roger Mukasa’s clear shot from 15 yards at midwicket three balls into the tournament missed the stumps with Monank on 2 before he went on to make 107. He was also dropped on 9 against Kenya and 9 against Oman, meaning 127 of his 189 runs came after a second life. It’s highly unlikely that teams in Division Two will be as forgiving especially when Namibia, Papua New Guinea and Canada in particular have reputations as top quality, ruthless fielding units.
 
As for his fielding, Monank took two good catches, including a sharp one coming off the boundary against Denmark, but also wound up dropping three more chances that cost USA a total of 34 runs. These included two crucial ones in the last ten overs against Oman that had a major impact on the final losing margin and resulted in minus marks against his overall grade.
 
Monank is one of USA’s brightest young batting talents. But improving his fitness and sharpening his fielding are crucial to USA’s chances of success at WCL Division Two.
 
Jaskaran Malhotra: C
 
USA’s wicketkeeper had a very mediocre tournament with the bat, but compensated with mostly strong contributions behind the stumps.
 
After failing to cross fifty during the CWI Super50 Cup in October, Malhotra’s lean scoring run continued in Oman as he notched scores of 7 against Uganda, a brisk 28 against Kenya, 39 vs Denmark and 0 against Oman, the last of which came in a seriously ill-advised charge to new ball medium pacer Kaleemullah. The 39 against Denmark also came after he had been dropped on a straightforward chance at mid-off on 27 before later running himself out. However, the 61-run partnership with Monank in that same Denmark match was significant in the context of the top and middle-order collapse that followed.
 
His best score was made against Singapore with 66 not out, though it was achieved in what was an almost entirely pressure-free situation when USA needed just 97 runs to clinch promotion. True credit for that win should go to the bowlers who held firm in the face of a top-order assault from Singapore, as was reflected by Saurabh Netravalkar being named Man of the Match for his three wickets. Malhotra was also at fault for the runout of Aaron Jones in that same innings. But against higher class and disciplined bowling, Malhotra was frequently bogged down and struggled to rotate the strike, regularly putting pressure on his batting partners.
 
Malhotra’s wicketkeeping was generally of a high standard. His first catch in the Kenya match was a spectacular one-handed effort and spurred Ali Khan to a Man of the Match performance. His dismissal of Chetan Suryawanshi in the Singapore match was also way more impactful than his batting performance later in the day, with a sharp collection off a short-hopped late cut before breaking the stumps after Suryawanshi had wandered off for a run thinking the ball had gotten by Malhotra.
 
However, he was a major culprit in the loss to Oman on what was a nightmarish day overall. Following his poor shot in the first innings, he made a series of miscues in the field: conceding four byes while standing back to Netravalkar after Aqib Ilyas missed a scoop shot in the 33rd over, an off-balance and badly rushed throw in the 47th over which should have had Zeeshan Maqsood runout for 26, and a fumbled take on a relay by Ali Khan from the midwicket boundary which should have had Sufyan Mehmood runout by several yards in the 49th over. In a match with fine margins that was decided in the final over, these were costly errors. He had two other drops, one each against Uganda and Singapore, but both were to tailenders and cost just 23 runs, a negligible impact on either match.
 
Overall, Malhotra completed 11 dismissals, second in the tournament. If he can maintain his generally solid keeping standards while improving his ability to rotate the strike with the bat, especially against spinners, he is primed for better success in Namibia.
 
Steven Taylor: C-
 
The former USA captain had one of his least productive tournaments with the bat for the national team, ending with 106 runs in five innings. His sharp fielding, with some exceptional catches in the slips and a crucial runout, saved him from getting an even lower grade. 
 
Taylor began with 27 against Uganda before getting out in typically loose fashion with a lofted drive to the cover sweeper. He made 41 against Kenya the next match, though was reprieved on 12 after a mixup with Aaron Jones only to be saved when Shem Ngoche’s throw from 15 yards at midwicket missed by a whisker and then proceeded to make Ngoche pay in a brief flurry of sixes attacking the left-arm spinner. He was out prodding for 8 and 7 against Denmark and Oman respectively, limp contributions from what is meant to be a prime spot in the batting order. He rounded off the tournament with 23 against Singapore before swatting a catch to mid-on.
 
It was in the field where Taylor made key contributions to compensate for repeated batting failures. It started with a sharp tumbling catch at slip to get Uganda captain Roger Mukasa for USA’s first wicket of the tournament. Later in the same match, Taylor had a momentum-shifting direct hit charging in from backward point to runout Arnold Otwani for 52.
 
Another brilliant diving catch at slip off Timil Patel resulted in a golden duck for famous USA arch-nemesis Freddie Klokker of Denmark and Taylor also bowled a key spell of offspin late in that match that resulted in the wicket of Saif Ahmad missing a reverse sweep. He also should have had Zeeshan Maqsood for 15 in the Oman chase, but Monank Patel dropped a key chance at backward point.
 
The glass half-empty view of Taylor’s performance at Division Three is that he didn’t contribute much, especially with the bat. The glass half-full view is that USA managed to go 4-1 and gain promotion in Oman when Taylor didn’t contribute much with the bat so imagine how USA might fare in Namibia if he can actually make a few 50+ scores that everyone following USA expects of him.
 
Aaron Jones: B+
 
One of the two Barbados-contracted players making their WCL debuts for USA in Oman, Jones stepped up in a big way to lead the team with 200 runs which placed him fourth overall in the tournament.
 
After a low score against Uganda, Jones made 69 against Kenya in an innings of two halves. He survived two chances on 14 and 19, then played out an exorbitant amount of dot balls, reaching 34 off 99 balls at one stage, before his first six sparked a surge of 35 runs off his final 19 balls. An even better and far more impactful innings came against Denmark when he made 78 off 99 balls as part of a 131-run sixth-wicket partnership with Hayden Walsh, a record sixth-wicket stand for USA, to dig them out from 87 for 5 in a Man of the Match effort.
 
He got a start against Oman with 27 that was wasted when he charged Zeeshan Maqsood and was stumped, though that dismissal was a consequence of tremendous dot ball pressure on Timil Patel at the opposite end. He also got a start of 22 against Singapore in the final match before he was sold out by Malhotra, who was ball-watching when an easy single was called for by Jones to extra cover, but by that stage Jones had struck the Division Two promotion clinching boundary for USA.
 
In the field, Jones was steady though not flashy, fielding in the ring or on the boundary usually at long-on or long-off. His only gaffe came when he dropped Rakep Patel on 0 at second slip off Ali Khan for what would’ve been a fourth wicket in Ali’s hostile new-ball spell vs Kenya, though to be fair Taylor dove across him from first slip to disrupt his field of vision and may have even got fingertips to change the ball’s direction.
 
WCL Division Three was a strong tournament for Jones and at age 24, he may become a fixture in the USA middle order for a long time to come.
 
Timil Patel: A-
 
The legspinning allrounder was one of USA’s most pivotal contributors in Oman, ending as USA’s leading wicket-taker with 11 scalps. Given a bit more responsibility with the bat slotting in at No. 5 in most matches, he struggled more than he had a month earlier in the Super50 Cup but that should not deter from what he did with the ball.
 
Timil began the tournament with 3 for 28 against Uganda, sparking a slide from 82 for 1 to 104 for 5 that killed off their chances of chasing USA’s 252. Against Kenya, he was hardly needed bowling just one over to claim the last wicket. Denmark had made a strong start chasing USA’s 230 and looked very confident after ending the Powerplay unscathed before Timil struck on consecutive balls in the 11th to get both captain Hamid Shah and Freddie Klokker. That sequence looks even bigger on reflection considering the Danish pair achieved the biggest partnership of the tournament making an unbeaten 196 together against Kenya.
 
His weakest performance came against Oman. Though he top-scored with 54 off 104 balls, his slow batting in the middle overs, including a stretch of 21 consecutive dot balls, hurt USA badly in the end and the pressure he put on Jones resulted in Jones charging Maqsood to be stumped. With the ball, he claimed 1 for 33, though could have had better figures had he been supported with a slip from the start of his spell. The absence of a slip resulted in two missed chances, including Aqib Ilyas on 57 well before he ended with 100. Against Singapore, he triggered their collapse when they were flying at 74 for 1 in 16 by trapping Aritra Dutta lbw for 30 and eventually finished with 2 for 28.
 
Among bowlers who bowled at least one over per team innings, only Irfan Afridi and Frank Nsubuga of Uganda finished with a better economy rate than Timil’s 2.95 and his 11 wickets were tied for second overall behind Man of the Tournament Bilal Khan from Oman. In the field, Timil is an underrated asset and took two catches during the tournament. What prevented Timil from getting an A+ were his low scores with the bat after he had been slotted into a key middle-order role. Otherwise, he was phenomenal for USA in Oman.
 
Hayden Walsh: A
 
Quite simply, the 26-year-old Walsh is the best all-round talent USA has had since the departure of Timroy Allen. With the bat, ball and in the field, nobody had a bigger impact on USA’s promotion into Division Two than Walsh.
 
In his debut innings for USA, he entered against Uganda with the match evenly poised at 134 for 4 in the 31st over and dominated a 75-run stand with Monank Patel by making 47 off 55 balls to put USA firmly in command, then took two late wickets in Uganda’s chase. Against Kenya, he entered at 121 for 4 and scored 48 in an 83-run stand with Jones to take the match back USA’s way. Then came his maiden fifty in the sixth-wicket record 131-run stand with Jones against Denmark after entering at 87 for 5. Three times Walsh entered to bat in 50/50 match situations and three times Walsh swung momentum decidedly toward USA.
 
Against Oman, he made a quick 15 off 13 balls entering with less than seven overs left, and was a menace in the field and with the ball. He arguably should have produced four wickets for the team in the 49th over – two runouts and two wickets – beginning with a brilliant runout off his own bowling as he nearly spun USA to victory in dramatic fashion. But two of those chances could not be converted by Malhotra and Monank Patel. He still ended with figures of 2 for 24 in six overs.
 
In the finale against Singapore, he came through again with 2 for 37 in a full 10-over spell. His only failure with the bat came later that day when he was out second ball, but it was completely inconsequential as USA had already clinched promotion crossing the nominal target of 97 by the time he came to the crease at 103 for 3. Only 7 of his 167 runs came after a missed chance, making his batting the most crisp and clinical of anyone in the squad.
 
In the field, he was exceptional at backward point and at extra cover where he patrolled the majority of the time, saving countless runs for USA and created indecision among opposition batting partnerships. He made two sharp catches at extra cover against Singapore as well off Netravalkar, both diving forward to claim the ball inches from the ground.
 
When USA’s tournament action doesn’t conflict with his Barbados commitments, he is the player with the biggest match-winning capabilities in the USA XI.
 
Jannisar Khan: B-
 
One of the biggest question marks coming into the tournament was how Jannisar would respond after an underwhelming series of performances in both the World T20 Subregional Qualifier and at the CWI Super50 Cup. However, Jannisar turned in a respectable performance with the bat after being slotted into a finishing role in the lower-middle order.
 
Against Uganda, he came in with two overs to go and made an efficient 14 not out off 8 balls. Coming in with less than five overs to go against Kenya, he tried to hit out with USA already past 200 and was caught on the long-off boundary for 3. He had a clear failure against Denmark, coming in at 79 for 4 in the 24th over and lasted just eight balls before edging behind for 6.
 
Jannisar very nearly batted USA to a defendable total against Oman though. Had USA pulled out victory in the last two overs of Oman’s chase, he most likely would have been named Man of the Match. Jannisar made 53 off 55 balls including seven boundaries after entering at 70 for 4 in the 29th over. The innings was especially impressive for the way Jannisar manipulated the field with his use of the crease to disrupt bowlers’ lines, finding boundaries behind square on both sides of the wicket with sweeps and reverse sweeps. When fine leg and third man were pushed back and mid-off brought up in the ring to deny the various swept boundaries behind square, Jannisar came down the pitch to drive wide of mid-off for more boundaries.
 
The only blemish on his innings against Oman was how it ended, which was in identical circumstances to his embarrassing runout in his first innings at the CWI Super50 Cup against Barbados. Jannisar glided a delivery behind point and began a slow jog to the non-striker’s end, totally unprepared for Aqib Ilyas to throw at the bowler’s end. Only after the throw was on its way did Jannisar start running and his panicked dive was not enough to save him in the end. It meant he was dismissed with 28 balls to go when he realistically should have carried on to make 75 or 80. He ended the tournament with another sharp 24 off 13 balls against Singapore in pressure-free circumstances before getting out with scores level trying to finish off the match with a crack through the off side.
 
Even though he was arguably USA's worst fielder at the Super50 Cup, Jannisar didn’t drop any chances in the field in Oman and took key the catch of Taranjit Bharaj at mid-off in the Denmark match which was the wicket that finally put USA in front during Denmark’s tense chase. His only major miscue was a rushed throw in the Denmark match in which he chased down a ball at square leg and whipped around to throw to the bowler’s end where both batsmen were. A basic throw to Malhotra at the striker’s end would have had Abdul Hashmi runout by 10 yards for 4. Instead, Hashmi made it safely back to his crease and went on to make 48.
 
Aside from that, Jannisar’s fitness needs to improve dramatically before the start of WCL Division Two, evidenced by his absence for the entire fielding innings against Oman, which seemed to be a strategic move by USA management more than anything else since Jannisar played without issue two days later against Singapore. Otherwise, his spot in the team seems guaranteed for the tour of Namibia based on his solid batting contributions in Oman.
 
Elmore Hutchinson: C
 
The veteran left-arm seamer performed in his usual understated manner in Oman with five wickets in three matches but his apparent weak effort in the field against Denmark, in which his fitness seemed to be an issue, landed him on the bench for the last two matches of the tournament and resulted in a downgrade overall.
 
Hutchinson’s tournament began with a sharp burst at the death with the bat against Uganda, making 16 not out off 10 balls to help Jannisar Khan propel USA past 250. He then returned figures of 0 for 14 in six overs, though his pressure resulted in wickets for others.
 
Against Kenya, he struck a six, four and then was out third ball with the bat coming in during the final five overs as USA sailed past 250 again. He followed up Ali Khan’s blistering new ball spell by claiming 3 for 17, including Kenya’s last two recognized bats in Rakep Patel and Nelson Odhiambo. In the Denmark match, he was runout for 5 coming back for a second run on the final ball of the USA innings. In the chase, he took two wickets in consecutive overs in the 43rd and 45th to keep whittling away at the Denmark middle order after Timil’s match-changing spell.
 
But Hutchinson looked lethargic running after balls in the field. One sequence in particular in which Denmark stole a two inside the circle when he gave a half-hearted chase off his own bowling made coach Pubudu Dassanayake uncharacteristically irate with a rare verbal scolding from the USA bench. That seemed to put Hutchinson in the coach’s doghouse as he was left out of the lineup for USA’s final two matches.
 
At 36, the pressure will be on him to lift his fitness standards to prove he is still worthy of being a first-choice selection in the starting XI when Division Two begins in Namibia.
 
Saurabh Netravalkar: B+
 
The USA captain was efficient with the ball all tournament long, making his presence felt in various scenarios. In three of the matches – Uganda, Kenya and Oman – he made key breakthroughs with the new ball. In the other two matches – Denmark and Singapore – he bounced back from quiet opening spells to make a major impact with the old ball.
 
Six of Netravalkar’s nine wickets on the week were either bowled or caught behind the wicket, demonstrating his consistently attacking lines that resulted in a slew of edges caught by the wicketkeeper or in the slips. The other three of his nine wickets were caught at mid-off or extra cover.
 
He began with USA’s first wicket of the tournament, Uganda captain Roger Mukasa caught at slip by Taylor and ended the day with figures of 2 for 33. Against Kenya, he claimed 2 for 10 in a six-over new ball spell that was just as effective at building pressure for Ali Khan to strike at the opposite end. In the Denmark match, he claimed the vital wicket of Taranjit Bharaj with a leading edge to mid-off for 69 on the last ball before the final drinks break when it looked like Bharaj was on course for a match-winning ton.
 
He took the first wicket against Oman, but struggled to have an impact thereafter, ending with 1 for 34 in seven overs. Netravalkar rounded off his tournament with the ball by striking three times in an old ball spell to bowl out Singapore for 161 when they had been on course for 250+ at one stage and was deservedly named Man of the Match for his 3 for 19 in 8.1 overs. Overall, he bowled the most overs for USA in Oman with 41.1 overs and ended with a very strong economy rate of 3.59 to go with a bowling average of 16.44. He missed out on a possible 10th wicket when Deus Muhumuza was spilled on 20 by Malhotra and went on to finish 43 not out in the opening match against Uganda.
 
With the bat, Netravalkar scored 19 runs in three innings without being dismissed in a series of very brief but handy lower-order cameos. As for his fielding, he ended with three catches and no drops, including two straightforward but pressure-packed takes at short fine leg off Walsh in the late-overs drama against Oman.
 
As for his captaincy, Netravalkar didn’t have too many tough decisions to make but at times came across as overly conservative. Rather than bringing back Ali Khan for a final spell to blast out Uganda’s tail, he let the game drift in the last 10 overs as Uganda made 30-40 more runs than they probably should have, ending on 198 for 9.
 
Similarly against Denmark, Ali Khan was peculiarly kept out of the attack after his new ball spell until the 50th over, and that was after a lengthy discussion in the middle to decide who should bowl the final six balls. Netravalkar seemed to overthink the situation when it should have been a straightforward call to hand the ball to not just USA’s best death bowler but one of the best in the world. Like the Uganda ending, Denmark probably made another 20-30 more runs than they should have as a result of Ali having five overs left unused. At the WCL where every run matters on the net run rate tiebreaker, his inexperience in a few situations showed.
 
Against Oman, his conservative tactics cost USA in a tight loss when Timil Patel, who had been USA’s most threatening bowler all tournament, was not given a slip at the start of his spell and the result became two edges that went through vacant slip. Only for the final 2.3 overs of Timil’s spell, after the second edge off Aqib Ilyas went begging, did Monank magically appear at slip but by then it was too late.
 
All things considered, some of these things are nitpicky criticisms with regards to his overall captaincy. At the end of the day, he is the first captain to succeed at taking USA into WCL Division Two and deserves to be commended for it. Netravalkar was also noteworthy for his full-fledged engagement from the USA bench while the team was batting, constantly exhorting the batting pair in the middle. It was a stark change from the mannerisms demonstrated by USA captains of the past and the rest of the squad followed his lead, which was encouraging to see.
 
Ali Khan: B
 
USA’s most high-profile player was being used primarily as a strategic shock weapon, seeing how team management didn’t bowl out his 10 overs in any single match, and that seemed to be based in part on the fact that he hadn’t played in the Super50 Cup and therefore hadn’t worked up his stamina to bowl a full 10-over quota after a summer’s diet of T20 cricket.
 
The plan worked against Kenya, when he was in tremendous rhythm with the new ball in a hostile spell that claimed three wickets and ended with Man of the Match honors. Yet, the overwhelming feeling was that Ali Khan was severely underutilized on a match-by-match basis. USA could have locked down a spot in Division Two in much less stressful circumstances heading into the final day against Singapore had Ali Khan been given more overs than the 30 he ended up bowling in five matches.
 
Aside from his Kenya spell of 3 for 36, he took figures of 1 for 35 against Uganda, 1 for 26 against Denmark and 1 for 39 against Oman. The one wicket against Denmark was vital as it ended the match after he was brought on with Denmark needing 17 to win off the last over. That came after he made an equally dramatic contribution in the field the previous over, with a direct hit runout at the non-striker’s end from 35 yards away at long-off with a slingshot throw. He conceded 20 off three overs against Singapore with the new ball and wasn’t needed afterward thanks to contributions from Timil, Walsh, Nosthush Kenjige and then Netravalkar. He also took two boundary catches in the Uganda match and was very sharp at denying a second run while patrolling the boundary throughout the tournament.
 
In the context of USA’s other bowlers, Ali Khan fared okay, but not great in Oman. He’ll need to make greater contributions with the ball when USA comes up against higher-class batting units at WCL Division Two in Namibia in order for USA to contend for a top-four finish that would give them ODI status through 2021.
 
Nosthush Kenjige: C-
 
This was a very strange tournament for Kenjige. He entered it as the premier bowler in USA’s spin attack and by the end of the fourth match it looked like there was a chance he might be dropped in favor of Nisarg Patel for the finale against Singapore.
 
Despite a solid economy rate of 3.45, which was ninth overall amongst anyone who bowled at least one over per team match, Kenjige never bowled a wicket-taking ball during the first four matches and never really looked close to taking a wicket either. His bowling was generally a yard or two slow through the air and batsmen never seemed like they were challenged. It was only when he quickened up his pace to beat a pair of charging batsmen against Singapore that he struck with a pair of stumpings. They were his only two wickets in 37 overs at the tournament, taken at an average of 64.
 
In the field, Kenjige had been USA’s best all-round fielder prior to the tour of Oman and was usually entrusted with the key run-saving and catching position at backward point. But with the arrival of Walsh, who took over the majority of USA’s backward point fielding duties in Oman, Kenjige spent the majority of his time grazing on the boundary as a sweeper.
 
The left-arm spinner consequently looked disengaged and lacking in intensity at times, almost as if he was a wild animal who had been defanged and declawed. It was hard not to wonder if his new fielding assignment had affected him mentally and carried over into his bowling. Kenjige had been one of USA’s most aggressive and confident performers over the last 18 months, someone who took a hat-trick against Canada in September 2017, but he suddenly looked very timid in Oman.
 
The bottom line is that it was a very underwhelming performance for Kenjige in Oman, particularly when considering he had claimed Man of the Match honors against Leeward Islands a month earlier with 3 for 22 in USA’s first win at the CWI Super50 Cup and tied for USA’s overall team lead in Barbados with nine wickets in a team-high 59 overs. Kenjige needs to work on getting his rhythm and swagger back over the next five months before USA’s first match gets underway in Namibia.
 
Roy Silva: Incomplete
 
Silva came in for the last two matches against Oman and Singapore in place of Elmore Hutchinson. He batted twice and scored 20 runs, making 19 before being run out off the final ball against Oman and striking the winning single against Singapore. With the ball, he bowled eight overs and took 1 for 43 overall, including the first wicket against Singapore.
 
In the field, Silva dropped a catch at deep midwicket off Walsh’s bowling while on as a substitute fielder against Kenya and arguably missed another chance against Singapore when he was slow reacting to a drive at extra cover. After a poor performance in the Super50 Cup, followed by middling contributions in Oman, he’ll face competition to keep his spot in USA’s squad for WCL Division Two in Namibia. 
 
Nisarg Patel: Incomplete
 
Did not start in any of USA’s matches, though he fielded all 50 overs in the loss to Oman as a substitute for Jannisar Khan. Nisarg was sharp in the field with his speed to the ball and sharp relays. It appeared he has lost 10-15 pounds since USA’s squad camp in Texas last June and it showed in significantly improved fielding and fitness in Oman. He will face competition to keep his spot in USA’s squad for WCL Division Two in Namibia.
 
Alex Amsterdam: Incomplete
 
Did not start in any of USA’s matches, appearing sporadically as a substitute fielder. After failing to convert a series of starts during the CWI Super50 Cup, he will face competition to keep his spot in USA’s squad for WCL Division Two in Namibia.
 
Coming up in Part 3 – USA’s outlook for WCL Division Two in Namibia

Click here to read Part 1 - Team Grades
 
[Views expressed in this article are those of the author who was present at all of the team's matches. If you have differing views or opinions, we respect those views and urge you to provide your feedback - both positive and negative – feel free to respond to the author via Twitter @PeterDellaPenna.]