Thirty-seven year old is part of an extended squad picked to train for a series in Oman in March
Narsingh Deonarine, the 37-year-old former West Indies international remembered as the man who claimed Sachin Tendulkar’s wicket in his final Test innings, is on the cusp of making his USA debut after being named in a 44-man squad invited to Texas for a selection camp next month. All of them will be preparing for of USA’s next ODI tri-series scheduled for March in Oman, their first ODIs in over a year. Fast bowler Ali Khan, who has not played for USA since the country’s maiden ODI at WCL Division Two in April 2019, has also been included as administrators hope to convince him to come back into the national team fold following 18 months on the franchise cricket circuit.
Deonarine made his Test debut in 2005 but only played sporadically for West Indies across the next decade. The last of his 18 Tests came a month after dismissing Tendulkar in Mumbai, making 15 runs in two innings against New Zealand in December 2013. His final ODI for West Indies came against South Africa in January 2015 while his first-class career dwindled out in November 2016. He subsequently migrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he has spent the last several years playing club cricket. He was hired to coach at Willow Academy as one of the earliest targets in the American Cricket Enterprises (ACE) recruitment initiative and is now qualified to play for USA via the three-year residency guideline laid out by the ICC.
Along with Deonarine are several other notable names with international links. Left-arm spinning allrounder Shaker Ahmed has been picked after impressing through performances in Detroit, Michigan as well as T20 club tournaments around the country. The 28-year-old played for Bangladesh at the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand and played 17 first-class matches, the last of which came in 2014 before he relocated to the USA. Cameron Gannon, who made his USA debut at the 2019 T20 World Cup Regional Qualifier in Bermuda but has not played for them since, has also been included. The 32-year-old dual-passport holder has played 34-first-class matches for Queensland and Western Australia.
A first-time inclusion in a USA extended squad is batsman Karan Viradiya. The 26-year-old had represented Gujarat at multiple age-group levels and was initially picked to represent India Under-19 in 2013 but was subsequently removed from the squad before he had played a game after it was discovered there was a discrepancy between the birthdate submitted in initial documents and that on his passport. He last played for Gujarat Under-23s in 2017 before relocating to California. He was the second-leading scorer in the prestigious Southern California Cricket Association Division One competition in 2019, though there was no SCCA tournament in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Former Pakistan Under-19 batsman Shayan Jahangir has also been named in the USA training squad. The 26-year-old played his last first-class game for PIA in December 2016 before relocating to Texas. He was playing club cricket locally in Houston and Dallas where he was discovered by the Texas-based owner of the Barbados Tridents franchise, leading to his selection in the CPL draft in 2020. He played one game for the Tridents this past season, but did not bat. Another former CPL representative, Gajanand Singh, has been included as well. The 33-year-old batsman was a regular for Guyana Amazon Warriors in 2017, playing 11 matches, but has not appeared in the CPL since and proceeded to migrate to New York.
The youngest player in the squad is 17-year-old Sanjay Krishnamurthi. The batsman was born in Arizona but moved to Bangalore before the age of 10 and has played most of his junior cricket in the Karnataka system. Following the appointment of former Karnataka captain J Arunkumar as USA head coach last year, Krishnamurthi was invited to fly from Bangalore to take part in a USA training camp in Texas last March. He subsequently played for the East Bay Blazers in the Minor League Cricket T20 exhibitions during the summer of 2020, and was named by USA Cricket as the tournament MVP after scoring 264 runs in seven innings at an average of 88. He has since returned to Bangalore to play club cricket due to activities being prohibited in California during Covid-19 lockdown.
Though the squad is dominated by players who have developed their cricket overseas, the New Jersey batting pair of Vivek Narayan and Raymond Ramrattan have been included. They are the only players in the squad who represented USA at the 2017 Under-19 World Cup Qualifier in Toronto. Neither has been picked for the senior team.
USA training camp squad: Shaker Ahmed, Sachin Asokan, Fahad Babar, Rishi Bhardwaj, Adil Bhatti, Trinson Carmichael, Sahil Charania, Josh Dascombe, Narsingh Deonarine, Gayan Fernando, Cameron Gannon, Karima Gore, Shaheer Hassan, Ian Holland, Akshay Homraj, Elmore Hutchinson, Najam Iqbal, Shayan Jahangir, Karthikeya Jagadish, Aaron Jones, Nosthush Kenjige, Ali Khan, Sanjay Krishnamurthi, Jaskaran Malhotra, Xavier Marshall, Sushant Modani, Vivek Narayan, Saurabh Netravalkar, Monank Patel, Nisarg Patel, Sagar Patel, Timil Patel, Kyle Philip, Usman Rafiq, Raymond Ramrattan, Dominique Rikhi, Luke Schofield, Gajanand Singh, Jessy Singh, Sunny Sohal, Cameron Stevenson, Steven Taylor, Rusty Theron, Karan Viradiya.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo’s USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna