USA Cricket’s Men’s National Team arrived back home to the USA after a historic week of cricket at ICC World Cricket League Division 2 in Namibia. By finishing in the top 4 places of the league with wins over Namibia, Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea, Team USA assured themselves of One Day International status in what is being hailed as a new dawn for the sport in the United States.
ICC World Cricket League Division 2 (WCL2) featured six countries fighting it out for the crucial four places, with USA and Oman becoming the first two sides to assure themselves of two of the ODI places after four of the five rounds of the group round-robin stages. Hosts Namibia and finally Papua New Guinea took the third and fourth places on the final day of the group stages in thrilling circumstances.
What are the main outcomes from WCL2 for USA Cricket?
- Team USA gain full One Day International (ODI) Status for the first time after their maiden two ODIs at the ICC Champions Trophy back in 2004.
- Team USA progress to ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 that commences in July 2019 and includes the four qualifiers from WCL2 as well as Nepal, Scotland and UAE.
- That league features 36 One Day International matches for each country over 2.5 years.
- The top 3 finishers in that league automatically progress to the 2022 ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, which would leave Team USA just one step away from the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) 2023 World Cup.
- Increased funding from the ICC in each of the next three years which will assist the growth and development of cricket in the United States.
- USA gain an official World Ranking of 20th in 50 Overs Cricket.
- USA now able to schedule official One Day Internationals against any of the other 19 teams with ODI status including the 12 Full Members of the ICC.
Assessing the impact of the new ODI status, USA Cricket Chairman, Paraag Marathe, said, “Coming so quickly after our recent admission to the ICC as the 105th Member of the sport, the achievement of One Day International Status for USA Cricket is quite simply game-changing for the landscape of cricket in America. It allows Team USA to be seen as equals with the leading cricketing nations in the world and we are looking forward to not just our upcoming 36 One Day Internationals as part of ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 but also to more challenging fixtures against the top nations in the coming years.”
USA Cricket Project Manager, Eric Parthen feels the legacy of One Day International status will be felt far beyond just the National Team, he said, “The achievement of Team USA Head Coach Pubudu Dassanayake and his side in Namibia is monumental for cricket here in the United States. We now have a clear pathway, with fixtures of a significant quality, to allow us to plan for long-term sustainable growth of the sport all across the U.S. What is most significant I believe though is the ability for children growing up in America to now see cricket as a realistic option for their sporting future. We had heroic American performances on the pitch in Namibia throughout the squad, and the next generation of young cricketers can aspire to be the next Saurabh Netravalkar, Steven Taylor or Ali Khan in the future.”
USA Head Coach, Pubudu Dassanayake, was delighted that the squad’s hard-work has paid dividends. “This is the culmination of a long-journey for USA Cricket over the past 2+ years but in many ways, it’s also only the beginning. We have come a long way as a side and I am incredibly proud of everyone involved, but we know we still have a long way to go. I know the talent we have both in the squad of 14 that represented USA Cricket so well this past week, and also in the quality of cricketers we have throughout the United States. With the number of guaranteed ODI fixtures we have coming up, coupled with the opportunity of qualifying for a Twenty20 World Cup later in the year, there has never been a more exciting time to be a cricketer in the United States.”
While Team USA’s play was historic, what was also noticeable was the manner in which this team played as one unit. Where Team USA’s diversity has usually been seen as a weakness that left the squad fractured, this team turned them into a clear strength. The 14-man squad made up of U.S. citizens, passport holders and residents included players with backgrounds from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Barbados, Jamaica, and Antigua and this team embraced those differences and used them to accomplish a common goal.
Team USA’s first round of matches in the new ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 will take place in September after the ICC announced the initial rounds of fixtures for the new league this week, see below for full details. After that the focus switches to Twenty20 action for the squad. First is the ICC Americas T20 World Cup Regional Qualifier between USA, Canada, Cayman Islands and hosts Bermuda which will send two qualifiers to the ICC T20 World Cup Global Qualifier to be held in the UAE in October 2019. 14 countries will gather for that event that will send six qualifiers to the main ICC Twenty20 World Cup in Australia, 2020. Should Team USA qualify, it would be a first appearance at a T20 World Cup and a first appearance back at a global event since USA’s solitary appearance at the ICC Champions Trophy in 2004.
|USA, PNG, Namibia||7 – 14 September, 2019||USA|
|UAE, Scotland, USA||8 – 15 December, 2019||Sharjah and Dubai, UAE|
|Nepal, USA, Oman||5 – 12 February, 2020||Tribhuvan University Ground, Kathmandu, Nepal|
|USA, Scotland, UAE||March 2020||TBC|
|Namibia, PNG, USA||September 2020||TBC|
|Oman, USA, Nepal||January 2021||TBC|
|Scotland, UAE, USA||June 2021||TBC|
|USA, Nepal, Oman||August 2021||TBC|
|PNG, USA, Namibia||September 2021||TBC|