USA will be making their home ODI debut on Friday without two of their most high profile stars with Ali Khan and Hayden Walsh Jr. absent from the 14-man squad for the Cricket World Cup League Two tri-series against Papua New Guinea and Namibia starting September 13 in Lauderhill, Florida.
Both of them had already rejected central contracts offered by USA Cricket and are now choosing to stay on at the CPL which clashes with the dates of the tri-series. Khan is in his second year with Trinbago Knight Riders while Walsh Jr. switched from St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots to Barbados Tridents for the 2019 tournament.
They are two of five players who have been switched out of the USA squad that played the recent T20 World Cup Qualifier Americas regional final in Bermuda. USA finished in third place behind Bermuda and Canada after losing twice to both sides in the double round-robin event. Their only wins were over Cayman Islands as they fell short of reaching the global T20 Qualifier in the UAE next month.
Also, according to sources, fast bowling coach David Saker has abruptly gone back to Australia rather than serve out the remainder of his three-month contract as part of USA’s coaching staff in Florida. Saker had been one of USA’s assistant coaches in Bermuda but decided to cut his term short after the team’s poor results at the T20 qualifier.
Among the players, fast bowler Cameron Gannon also went back to Queensland at the end of the Bermuda tour for the start of the Australian domestic summer and was unavailable for selection. Batsman Sunny Sohal has been dropped while allrounder Timroy Allen has been relegated to a reserve member despite being part of the main 14-man squad in Bermuda.
As expected, former South African international Rusty Theron has been named in USA’s ODI squad after meeting the three-year residency threshold under the ICC’s eligibility requirements. Theron moved to Florida in 2015 and was part of a USA squad camp in July. He was recently given a three-month retainer contract but was unable to be part of USA’s touring squad last month in Bermuda because he had to submit his passport along with other documents as part of his application for permanent residency.
The others to come into the team are left-arm spinner Nosthush Kenjige, left-arm seamer Elmore Hutchinson and opening batsman Sagar Patel. Kenjige and Hutchinson were part of USA’s squad to Namibia in April where they played the WCL Division Two and the team won ODI status, but both men were dropped for the tour of Bermuda. Sagar has not played for USA since a bilateral tour of Oman in December 2017.
Three other players in USA’s roster besides Khan and Walsh Jr. were also taken in the CPL draft this spring: Aaron Jones, Xavier Marshall and captain Saurabh Netravalkar. But Jones and Marshall accepted central contract offers from USA Cricket over the summer and were not given NOCs to skip the tour. Netravalkar has opted to miss the early part of the CPL to fulfill his role as USA captain.
USA are scheduled to play four ODIs as part of the tri-series. The first match against PNG takes place on September 13 at the Central Broward Regional Park. They play three more matches on September 17, 19 and 20 before PNG and Namibia go head to head in the final two matches of the series on September 22 and 23.