Promising all-rounder Nikhil Dutta has been added to the second phase of the International Cricket Council (ICC) combine in the United States later this month.
He was originally excluded from the list of 21 players fast-tracked into this phase.
Last July, Dutta’s “No Objection Certificate” to play in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty/20 tournament was revoked by Cricket Canada after his third game for the new St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots franchise.
The CPL clashed with the ICC Twenty/20 World Cup qualifier in which Dutta was selected to represent Canada.
After initially expressing a desire to stay with the Patriots, Dutta changed his mind following a meeting with Cricket Canada’s general manager, Ingleton Liburd, who was in St. Kitts at the time for his daughter’s graduation.
Despite the change of heart, Dutta was replaced by Hiral Patel for the Twenty/20 qualifier.
“We sent an e-mail to the ICC recommending that Nikhil join the squad for the combine and they have approved it,” said Liburd. “That was done after we had a meeting with the player to clear the air on some outstanding issues and he has since made it clear that he’s fully committed to Canadian cricket.”
A total of 15 Canadians are among 83 players from five countries, including the United States, Bermuda, Argentina and the Cayman Islands, that will participate in the first phase of the trial from September 18-21 in Indianapolis.
They are Ammar Khalid, Arman Usman, Hardik Patel, Harsh Thaker, Mohammad Akhtar, Parth Desai, Rayyankhan Pathan, Salman Nazar, Shaheed Keshvani, Sharaz Baksh, Hiral Patel, Jeremy Gordon, Khan Saqib, Srimantha Wijeyeratne and Trevor Manoosingh.
Based on performance, about five to 10 members of this group will be invited for phase two in the same American city from September 24-27.
In addition to Dutta, the other Canadians in the second phase are Cecil Pervez, Farhan Malik, Hamza Tariq, Junaid Siddiqui, Navneet Dhaliwal, Nitish Kumar, Ruvindu Gunasekera, Saad Bin Zafar and Satsimranjit Singh Dhindsa.
At the end of the combine, an ICC Americas regional team will be chosen to take part in the West Indies Nagico Super50 tournament in January.
National youth coach Errol Barrow, Jamaican-born Oakville Cricket Academy coach Rupert Stephenson and Derek Perera, who started the Ontario Cricket Academy & Club 13 years ago, are among six Americas coaches who will join former West Indies fast bowler Courtney Walsh, ex-India left-arm spinner Venkatapathy Raju and fielding coach Mike Young at the two combines.
“We are looking forward to an exciting week in Indianapolis,” said Walsh, who took 519 wickets which is the fifth most in Test cricket behind Muttiah Muralitharan’s 800, Shane Warne’s 708, Anil Kumble’s 619 and Glen McGrath’s 563. “It should be a great experience for everyone involved.”