Photo credit: Peter Della Penna
In part two of Dreamcricket's tour report card of the CWI Super50 Cup in Trinidad, each of the 16 players who took the field for USA are graded on their performances.
By Peter Della Penna (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna)
ICYMI - Check out Part 1: Team Grades
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 solely based on aggregate stats.
Players who excel under pressure and against higher quality opposition are graded more favorably. Overall chances given by a batsman, as well as overall chances created by a bowler, are taken into consideration regardless of total runs scored or wickets taken. Bonus marks are given for good fielding while a player can also be downgraded for weak fielding including dropped chances.
With those guidelines laid out, here are DreamCricket’s player grades for the 2019 Super50 tour of Trinidad, where USA finished 2-6 with wins over the eventual champion West Indies Emerging team and Guyana.
Xavier Marshall: C-
The X-Man finished as USA’s second-highest scorer on tour with 189 runs in seven innings at an average of 27. He had two half-centuries on tour, most of any USA batsmen, making 53 off 58 balls against Trinidad & Tobago and then 79 off 94 balls against Windward Islands. He struck the most sixes on tour for USA with seven of USA’s 36 maximums.
However, Marshall is often times more memorable for his failures. When he gets out for a low score, it’s rarely a freak first-ball cracker-jack delivery from a bowler. More often his low scores are painstaking grinds for survival. The stodgy starts in those instances often set a poor tone for the team during the Powerplay and make it difficult to establish any sort of momentum to build off. His best innings against Windwards unfortunately ended due to a poor shot – the ball was nearly off the pitch and would have been easily called a wide by the umpire – that was slapped off the toe of the bat to long-off. USA was well ahead of the game at that stage but shouldered with responsibility to see USA home, Marshall cracked.
The bigger issue for Marshall is that for as many runs as he scores, he nearly gives away just as many in the field. He has the worst footspeed to the ball of any fielder in USA’s lineup. His frequent presence at slip – in the Powerplay to pace bowlers and outside of the Powerplay to spinners – has less to do with sure-handed catching ability (the reality is that his catching is not reliable) and more to due with his inability to cut off singles anywhere else because his first step and overall speed to the ball are so poor. Any ball hit in his direction in the ring is virtually an automatic single, and when it is in his direction on the boundary it is almost always an automatic two. He reacted poorly to a chance at slip that he never got a hand to against Trinidad & Tobago at Queen’s Park Oval, then spilled a sitter at deep midwicket off Cameron Stevenson’s bowling in the second loss to Windward Islands to Keron Cottoy, who was on 7 and went on to make 36 in a Man of the Match effort. Marshall ended with no catches on tour.
Marshall’s poor fielding puts him under extra pressure to score runs in order to compensate for it. In a different setup, he would be under heavy pressure to keep his spot but Sagar Patel’s woeful tour ensured Marshall’s spot is safe for the foreseeable future.
Sagar Patel: D
The second-youngest player on tour, 22-year-old Sagar looked completely out of his depth. He finished with 34 runs off 89 balls in three innings before being dropped for the last portion of the tour. Each innings looked like a battle for survival rather than a batsman looking to take a positive, fearless approach.
Sagar has regularly been touted by those close to him as an excellent player of spin. The problem is that few people get to witness it because he rarely lasts long enough against the new ball medium pacers to be able to face any spin bowling. Though Sagar may have been a top-order player at USA U-15 and USA U-19 level, selectors may have to deliver a message that the only way for him to re-enter the team is if he can force his way into the middle order where there is a need for a skilled player of spin. But with a surplus of opening options, he does not appear to be cut out for that role at senior level.
Monank Patel: B-
The 26-year-old ended as USA’s leading scorer on tour for the second year in a row at the Super50, finishing with 230 runs at 28.75. He saved his best for last, making 85 off 105 balls in the eight-run win over Guyana. However, he was dropped in that innings on 1 on a straightforward chance at slip. Monank got a very good start in all but two games, but he was only ever able to capitalize on it against Guyana. After his vulnerability to the short ball was exposed early in the tournament, Monank shelved his hook shot for the rest of the event but he still showed some creativity to be able to churn out runs.
This was Monank’s first tour splitting wicketkeeping duties with Akshay Homraj and on that front the results were quite mixed, mainly because Monank couldn’t stay on the field. In the first match against Guyana, the second match against Windwards and second match against Trinidad & Tobago, Monank was unable to keep wicket for the entire innings as Homraj had to take over at some stage either due to injury or other fitness related issues. Monank also never took the field after his 85 against Windwards, again due to fitness/exhaustion. It is not a good look for someone who is supposed to be a leading player in the team. The obvious physical/fitness limitations make it completely impractical for him to be considered a first-choice wicketkeeper in any starting XI going forward unless he puts in serious work on his fitness. If anything, fitness also appears to be what has prevented him from kicking on to bigger scores after his numerous starts as opposed to any technical faults.
The other area of improvement for Monank is his alertness and awareness at the non-striker’s end. Few batsmen in the USA team run harder for a second run off their own bat to keep the strike than Monank, yet he is perhaps the most disinterested in running sharp singles and twos when he is starting at the non-striker’s end. Again, that points to fitness issues. Monank has all the technical skills and the talent to be one of USA’s finest ever batsmen, but he will be selling himself and the team short if he doesn’t commit to improving his own fitness standards during the winter.
Steven Taylor: C-
The USA vice-captain scored 166 runs at an average of 20.75 with one half-century against Windward Islands. Taylor got starts in all but two games, but never carried on to a significant score. His 62 off 99 balls against Windwards came after he was dropped on 0. At a stage when he should have kicked on, he was clearly struggling from fitness/exhaustion and fell just moments after the physio came out to give him some electrolytes. It is a bad look for someone who has been exposed to as much professional cricket as Taylor has through the CPL and his two years in the Jamaica system as a contracted pro.
Taylor’s strike rate of 65.61 was the third-lowest on tour of recognized batsmen. Only Aaron Jones and Sagar Patel scored at a lower rate. Of his 19 fours and three sixes, 12 of those shots came during the Powerplay. Outside of the opening period of play, Taylor hasn’t shown a consistent ability to rotate the strike. In one sequence during his 62 against Windwards, he scored off just 3 of his first 33 deliveries at the crease, including a stretch of 18 straight dot balls. It makes him one of the most difficult players to bat in partnership with because he does not allow his partners to easily get in rhythm, both for his propensity to soak up dot balls as well as his lackluster appearance at the non-striker’s end where he rarely looks interested in running sharp runs for his partners.
Taylor’s saving grace in recent times has been his bowling and fielding. His bowling on this tour was okay, but not great. He finished with six wickets in eight matches, good enough for fourth on tour, at an average of 37.16 and an economy of 4.64. He also took a team-high six catches for any outfielder and was also involved in a runout. Taylor’s overall energy in the field has also improved dramatically in the last several years. Not only is he much sharper with his footspeed to the ball than he was in his early years in the USA team, but he has become far more vocal in support of his bowlers and works hard to lift the energy levels in the ring.
Overall, Taylor’s fielding and bowling continue to make him an undroppable all-round asset. But his batting woes – at least for a player of his caliber – merit further detailed discussion in Part 3 of the tour report card because history has shown that it is best for himself and the team if he is opening the batting instead of coming in at No. 3.
Aaron Jones: D
USA’s best batsman of the last year had his worst tour to date. With the exception of Taylor, few batsmen did less with more opportunities than Jones. He finished with a paltry 111 runs in seven innings at an average of 15.85 with a best of 37, scored in each of his last two innings whereas he had 37 total in his first five knocks.
Nobody suffered more than Jones for his partners’ disinterest at the non-striker’s end. Part of Jones’ success over his first 10 months in a USA uniform was that he frequently batted in partnership with Hayden Walsh Jr. The two would ransack singles and twos at will because Walsh Jr. was a hyper-aggressive runner from the non-striker’s end whereas the only person in the current squad who shows any interest in being alert and running hard from the non-striker’s end for Jones is Karima Gore. It makes sense that Gore would serve that role for Jones because both he and Jones have built their games around rotating the strike, running sharply and efficiently between the wickets as opposed to peppering the boundary. Without that support from the non-striker’s end, pressure regularly built up on Jones at the striker’s end. The warning signs are there that unless there is a reshuffle in the batting order, he may continue to struggle going forward without that support from his partners.
One striking piece of evidence to show how strong a runner Jones is from the non-striker’s end (compared to the lack of support he gets from his own partners) is that Jones was a part of USA’s two highest partnerships of the tournament: 79 with Monank Patel in the win over Guyana, and 82 with Xavier Marshall in a loss to Windwards. On both occasions, he finished with fewer runs than his partner but he deserves to be credited for his unsung role in both stands. If only his partners worked as hard for him when he is at the striker’s end.
For someone who is as quick between the wickets as Jones, he is a surprisingly anonymous figure in the field. Fielding in the circle, he is rarely in a position as a fielder who is cutting off singles and he does not have a particularly good first step coming off the boundary either. He took two catches on tour, but also dropped a fairly straightforward skied chance in the final match against Guyana when he was sweeping on the boundary.
The key to success for Jones going forward is ensuring he has someone around him who will run hard for him and the team when he is at the crease. More on that point will come in Part 3 of the tour report card.
Ian Holland: C
The debutant from Victoria via Hampshire was having a miserable tour until his final innings when he belted an unbeaten 59 off 37 balls against Guyana. It was hands down USA’s best innings of the tournament and if the adjudicators were using their brains instead of just looking at the raw volume of runs, he would have received the Man of the Match award ahead of Monank. That knock also doubled his scoring output on tour as he ended with 118 runs at an average of 23.60 in six innings.
With the ball, Holland was used sparingly but often effectively. He ended with three wickets in 27 overs at an average of 54.00 and an economy of 6.00. Those numbers might look poor but they are severely inflated by a bad death spell he bowled while struggling to get a grip on a wet/dewy ball against Trinidad & Tobago when he was in the firing line against Jason Mohammed, who scored a 62-ball century. Holland was also guilty of dropping Mohammed on 14 off his own bowling in that innings. However, Holland was generally quite cagey with his slower balls and yorkers and his spell of 2 for 35 in 10 overs against Guyana at Queen’s Park Oval seemed to be a much fairer reflection of his skills.
Though he had a couple of drops off his own bowling in the tournament, including the Mohammed gaffe, Holland was generally above average in the field. He took a magnificent catch at gully early in the tournament against Guyana and was fairly alert with his first step to the ball.
Although he has opened at Hampshire (and also opened with a half-century in an unofficial tour match against a Trinidad & Tobago Academy XI on December 1), Holland’s best role for USA may be as a finisher akin to how he blitzed Guyana on the last day, something USA has been missing more or less since Timroy Allen disappeared from the scene. If he can replicate that on a regular basis, he will quickly become a core asset for USA.
Akshay Homraj: C-
One of the most difficult players to grade, Homraj only batted three times on tour. His best innings of 32 came after he was dropped twice on a pair of fairly simple chances at deep fine leg. In a squad that has grown timid in recent times, Homraj showed flashes of the aggression he is known for in trial settings but overall had a hard time replicating it in Trinidad.
With the gloves, Homraj officially took six catches along with a stumping. He also filled in on multiple occasions for Monank Patel behind the stumps in matches where Homraj was not initially in the XI. However, Homraj himself was also injured and needed Monank to take over. Aside from that, his glovework was a bit sloppy at times, though he only dropped one leg side chance off Karima Gore when Darren Bravo was on 0 and went on to make 20.
Homraj still has time on his side to prove his worth. But the early signs did not do anything to fix USA’s longstanding first-choice wicketkeeper conundrum.
Nisarg Patel: C
One of USA’s most aggressive players on tour, Nisarg finished with the third highest average on tour after scoring 119 runs at 29.75 in five innings. He was the only one to show genuinely positive intent on the opening night against eventual champions West Indies Emerging by top-scoring for USA with 32 off 27 balls in a match reduced to 20 overs. He also scored a brisk 31 not out off 24 balls with some very elegant shots over the off side against Trinidad & Tobago.
But in what has been a recurring theme in Nisarg’s career, he regularly lost his wicket trying low-percentage/high-risk shots. Twice, against Windwards and West Indies Emerging, he was out trying to slog to the deepest part of the ground instead of using that side to pick singles and twos while chancing his hand to clear the short boundary. Batting him at No. 5 seems too high for several reasons. First, because he hasn’t shown a capacity to bat long enough to stretch the innings in that position. Second, because he would be better utilized one or two spots lower in the order as a finisher during a stage of the match where USA needs quick runs and he is willing to hit.
As for his bowling, Nisarg was bizarrely underutilized in Trinidad. After being USA’s second-highest wicket-taker during the ODI tri-series in Florida this past September against Namibia and PNG, Nisarg bowled just 10 overs in six matches in Trinidad, going wicketless.
Nisarg has all the tools to be a match-winning allrounder for USA, but needs to be more consistent on both sides of the ball. However, he is primed to play a bigger role with the ball in favorable conditions in the UAE later in December for the ODI tri-series against UAE and Scotland.
Karima Gore: B+
Once again, Gore is the highest graded player on tour for USA as he continues to produce excellent results with the ball, bat and in the field. He ended as USA’s leading wicket-taker on tour with 10 in six matches and would have certainly had more if he had not been rested from two matches.
Gore’s penchant for striking quickly was on display again in Trinidad as he took wickets on the first ball of his spell twice in the six matches he played. His best statistical performance of 3 for 38 came in USA’s second match of the tournament against Guyana on a night where he curiously did not bowl out his 10-over quota. However, arguably his best pure performance came in a very unsung role in the win over Guyana when he produced a spell of 1 for 25 in eight overs in which he did not allow a single boundary during a chase when Guyana’s batsmen were attacking virtually every other USA bowler. The pressure he built up off his bowling also produced the vital runout of Anthony Bramble, who was clobbering the ball up until a bit of hesitation opened the door for Taylor to relay to Gore. He also had three chances dropped off his bowling, more than any other bowler on tour, and could have had even better figures with better support around him.
In the field, Gore is generally USA’s best asset now that Hayden Walsh Jr. has moved on to the West Indies. He only took one catch, but he is generally a menace at backward point and is extremely difficult to steal a second run against when he is patrolling the boundary. Barring one shockingly poor fielding performance in the rematch against Windwards when he appeared to struggle after injuring his left hand early on the night, he was outstanding at saving runs and creating havoc.
With the bat, Gore is a massively underutilized asset. He finished with 110 runs in five innings at an average of 22. His best was 40 off 70 balls at No. 7 against Trinidad & Tobago at Queen’s Park Oval, a night in which he top-scored despite not striking a single boundary. It highlighted his general efficiency at running between the wickets, something that was on display again in a subsequent tour match against a T& T Academy XI on December 1 when he scored an unbeaten 42 off 46 balls despite once again not scoring a boundary. He needs to be in a more prominent role on the batting side, something that will be delved into further in Part 3 of the tour report card.
At age 21, Gore is a cornerstone player for USA. The only concern is whether or not he may become too good and at some point catch the attention of T20 franchises and/or the West Indies to lure him away.
Cameron Stevenson: B+
Along with Gore, USA’s highest rated player on tour. In virtually every situation he was asked, Stevenson performed. He was Man of the Match in USA’s win over West Indies Emerging side for top-scoring with 33* off 23 balls at No. 10 before taking 2 for 27 in eight overs with the ball, an all-round show that got better with age after West Indies Emerging won the Super50 Cup.
Stevenson topped the tour batting averages for USA by scoring 89 runs in five innings at an average of 44.50. It highlighted both his own sharp lower-order contributions as well as the regular failure of the top order to make meaningful contributions. Stevenson’s strike rate of 112.65 was not so much a function of any extraordinary brute power-hitting but more so that he was batting with extreme intelligence, often demonstrating the sharpest tactical awareness with the bat from anyone in USA's lineup. He was one of the few players who consistently targeted the short boundaries for fours and sixes, then used the deepest boundaries to pinch twos. If the top seven batted with the same level of intelligence as Stevenson, USA might have won at least two more matches.
With the ball, Stevenson was USA’s quickest bowler on tour, consistently clocking above 80 mph. His fastest delivery at Queen's Park Oval was clocked at 85 mph. He took seven wickets in 41 overs across five matches, good enough to be third on the team on tour, at an average of 29.00 and an economy rate of 4.95. Those numbers could have been even better had he gotten some better support from his fielders, specifically Marshall who dropped a sitter off his bowling vs. Keron Cottoy before Cottoy went on to add another 29 runs in what turned into a Man of the Match performance.
Perhaps most impressive from Stevenson was his on-field positivity and attitude. In contrast to Cameron Gannon, who wore out his welcome halfway through his first (and likely last) tour with USA in August, Stevenson was USA’s most vocal and supportive player on the field. He was also consistently USA’s first choice as a sub fielder. Theoretically there are better fielders on USA’s bench, but Stevenson just genuinely seems way more eager than anyone else to be on the field to support his teammates by any means necessary. He had one very difficult drop as a sub fielder, a chance that most fielders wouldn’t have even gotten to by running 30 yards back from mid-off to the edge of the boundary for a skied chance, and took one catch on the week but was an underrated presence at cutting off singles in the ring and denying a second run from the boundary with his strong arm.
At age 27, Stevenson looks like someone who still has quite a bit left in the tank to contribute to USA after his brief first-class career with Tasmania came to an end.
Elmore Hutchinson: C+
The 37-year-old took four wickets in five matches at an average of 27.00 and an economy of 4.69. He also scored 56 runs in five innings at an average of 11.20. On paper, those numbers look very underwhelming, but in context, Hutchinson balanced out a few failures with some very crucial nuggets. His strike rate of 133.33 was tops for the team on tour as he clubbed five sixes among the 42 balls he faced.
In the win over West Indies Emerging, he bowled an exceptional new ball spell to claim both Kimani Melius and Gidron Pope to set the table for Stevenson to continue making breakthroughs. Against Guyana, he came in at the end and clubbed 12 off 5 balls, which again doesn’t sound flashy but he was playing for the team instead of his average and provided key support to Holland during the late surge before a very handy opening spell of 0 for 19 in four overs that helped contain and build early pressure.
The biggest blemish on Hutchinson was his role in the loss to Trinidad & Tobago in a match reduced to 30 overs. Brought on in the 20th over, he bowled a dud of an over to concede 14 runs and wasn’t used again.
In the field, Hutchinson was generally solid, taking two catches without putting any chances down. One of those was a catch under pressure on the boundary late in the win over Guyana when Christopher Barnwell was caught at cow corner for 54 for the fourth wicket, a moment that swung the chase USA’s way.
It should not be lost on anyone that he was in the lineup for both of USA’s wins on tour. Hutchinson’s role keeps shifting in USA’s squads, but he rarely lets the side down and there is no reason to push him into retirement as long as he is contributing.
Saurabh Netravalkar: B
The USA captain blew hot and cold with the ball at times, but when he was hot, he was nearly untouchable. In the first match against Guyana at Queen’s Park Oval, he started off with figures of 5-4-1-1 on a night where he ended with figures of 2 for 20 in 10 overs. On the tour, he ended with nine wickets, second behind Gore, at an average of 24.11 and an economy of 5.06.
The only negative about Netravalkar’s bowling is that he sometimes doesn’t trust himself enough. After one bad over at the death in the first match against Trinidad & Tobago in which he conceded 17 runs, he took himself off and gave the ball to Nisarg Patel, which led to even worse results in a 20-run over. Netravalkar and Rusty Theron are USA’s best death bowlers in the current squad but that lack of faith in himself was costly. He proved later in the tournament why he needed to bowl himself out in that situation. In the final two days of the tournament against Windwards and Guyana, Netravalkar was excellent at the death and finished with three wickets on both occasions.
Netravalkar was also very handy with the bat down the order. He finished second on the tour batting averages with 40 runs at an average of 40.00 in four innings, dismissed only once coming in for some late hitting. He was within two swings of taking USA to victory against Windward Islands in a gritty fight to the final over.
Netravalkar’s biggest red marks come from his fielding, which is always an adventure. One cannot fault him for the effort he puts in as he is generally someone with energy but he has his limitations and is frequently hidden at short fine leg. However, he was not nearly as much of a liability in the field as Marshall.
As for his strategic moves, this writer will give Netravalkar the benefit of the doubt for his bowling rotations because the stated intent at the start of the tour was to give as many opportunities to as many players as possible and to trial different combinations and scenarios before settling on things for the ODI tri-series in the UAE. But under ordinary circumstances it would look foolish to leave Gore with overs remaining, as happened against Guyana on the first TV match at Queen’s Park Oval and several other tactical changes were headscratchers.
On the whole, Netravalkar continues to be a key asset with the ball in 50-over cricket and should be a major contributor in the UAE.
Rusty Theron: B
A late arrival on tour, Theron was immense in USA’s two wins. Against West Indies Emerging, his opening spell of 0 for 20 in six overs including a maiden was hugely underrated but he built intense pressure at the start that allowed Hutchinson to strike at the other end. Against Guyana, his death bowling was hugely influential to the result as he finished with 2 for 44 in six overs. He also bowled commendably at the death in the 11-run loss to Windward Islands, taking 3 for 48 in 9.2 overs with two maidens.
On the batting side, Theron was also very influential in a winning and losing effort. In the match against Windward Islands, he scored 29 off 27 balls including two sixes, but he was arguably to blame for Karima Gore losing his wicket with some lazy running that kept Gore on strike and resulted in Gore getting out on the following ball.
In the next match against Guyana, Theron more than made up for his slack running against Windwards. The scorecard will only show that Theron made 3 not out off 3 balls, but what the scorecard does not show is that he ran six twos from the non-striker’s end for Ian Holland, which was massive in not only turning six ones into six twos for six extra runs, but it crucially kept Holland on strike and in rhythm so he could also bash boundaries too in his 59 not out off 37 balls. Theron’s running from the non-striker’s end in that performance highlighted a broader point throughout the tournament of how important it is for non-strikers to support their partners, something that top order regularly fails to do. Theron’s running for Holland in that sequence was arguably as much if not more influential in the final result than his bowling was in USA’s eight-run win.
In the field, Theron shows his age at times as he lumbers to get to the ball, but he doesn’t embarrass himself by any means. He finished with one catch and had no drops.
The experience Theron has brought to the table has been huge. The only question mark hanging over him will be durability on tours like the upcoming trip to the UAE when USA has matches on back-to-back days.
Timil Patel: D
After a string of tours in which Timil was consistently among USA’s highest rated players, he came back to earth in Trinidad. As has happened several times in the past when Timil has traveled to the Super50, he did not adjust well to the step up in class against batsmen who do not struggle against his style of legspin. Quite simply, Timil is too slow through the air to challenge first-class standard batsmen on a regular basis and it showed in Trinidad as he ended with three wickets in five matches at an average of 39.00 and an economy of 5.48.
With the bat, Timil scored 63 runs at an average of 12.60 in five innings with a best of 35 in the win over West Indies Emerging, an occasion when he top-scored. However, that innings and others are a bit cloudy as Timil was the most treacherous batting partner on tour. On numerous occasions, he was at fault for either running himself or his partner out and nearly succeeded to do it several other times. The worst instance was his slack running at Queen’s Park Oval against Trinidad & Tobago in which he more or less jogged a second run to the cover sweeper only to be defeated by a solid relay from Tion Webster.
Timil did not take any catches on tour, shelling a tough diving return chance off his own bowling against Kevin Sinclair in the win over West Indies Emerging that cost USA 30 runs.
Alarm bells should not be ringing just yet for Timil as he has generally performed well against Associate batsmen. But there might be a few chimes if he does not adjust quickly against UAE and Scotland.
Jessy Singh: D
For someone with aspirations of being considered a genuine allrounder, Singh’s tour was not pretty. On the batting side, he made just nine runs in four innings at an average of three. With the ball, there was nothing much to write home about either. Three wickets in four matches at an average of 36.66 and an economy of 5.32.
Singh’s spell against Trinidad & Tobago at Brian Lara Academy showed why he is someone who is difficult to trust as a captain. He bowled full, short, wide, on the legs… there were six different balls in an over making it impossible to set a field. He ended with 1 for 52 in six overs. Singh’s spell against Trinidad & Tobago six days later at Queen’s Park Oval showed why selectors continue giving him opportunities. He was a touch more disciplined and conceded 0 for 31 in six overs, arguably very unlucky not to win an lbw appeal in the second over of his spell when Kyle Hope was on 25. However, the fact that he went wicketless despite a decent effort shows the main problem with him. He does not challenge the outside edge or bowl any sort of wicket-taking deliveries on a consistent basis in the same manner as a Cameron Stevenson.
Singh is generally an alert fielder, far from a liability. He had no catches, but no drops either on tour.
Singh needs to focus on being more disciplined in his bowling accuracy if he has any chance to break back into the USA squad for February’s tour of Nepal.
Nosthush Kenjige: C
It was a mixed bag for Kenjige overall as he continues trying to rebuild his confidence. His first two appearances were very timid, going wicketless on both occasions as he lacked any sort of bite in his bowling.
But Kenjige bounced back against West Indies Emerging to take 3 for 34, including the key scalp of Joshua Da Silva, and could very easily been Man of the Match were it not for Stevenson’s heroics. He finished his tour with 1 for 34 in 10 overs against Windwards, a tidy but again mostly non-threatening spell.
Kenjige is approaching a record number of not outs for USA with the bat. He registered another three in four innings on this tour. Though he’s not a fearsome ball-striker, he can be relied upon to not let his partner down at the other end and will always fight to ensure the innings stretches to the final ball.
In the field, Kenjige was near his best. He took two official catches and claimed a vital third as a sub fielder on the boundary in the waning moments of the win over Guyana.
At the moment, Kenjige is clearly in a reserve role behind Gore as USA’s first-choice left-arm spinner. But he offers a solid backup choice as well as an alternative/extra option when conditions suit.
[Views expressed in this article are those of the author, who was present at all of the team's matches on tour in Trinidad, and do not necessarily represent the views of DreamCricket management. If you have different 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.]