Two former West Indies players with a combined aged of 79 years will lead the United States of America’s charge in the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) Twenty/20 World Cup qualifier in the United Arab Emirates next month.
The Americans are counting on the experience of left-arm spinner Neil McGarrell, who played four Tests and 17 One-Day Internationals from 1998-2001 and medium-pacer Adam Sanford who represented the Caribbean in 11 Tests between 2002 and 2004, as they head into the 16-team tournament.
McGarrell takes over the captaincy from fellow Guyanese Steve Massiah who is in the 15-member squad named. Ruled ineligible to represent the USA in the World Cricket League Division Three competition in Hong Kong in early 2011, he made his American debut last year against Canada in Florida.
The first indigenous Carib to play for the West Indies, Dominican-born Sanford lived and worked as a police officer in Antigua before migrating. He is set to make his American debut against Canada on November 15.
The American squad also includes Jamaican-born Timroy Allen, who is the vice-captain, Elmore Hutchinson, Orlando Baker and Barrington Bartley; Guyanese-born off-spinner Karan Ganesh and American-born wicketkeeper/batsman Akeem Dodson who spent a decade in Guyana before moving to Pennsylvania at age 12 with his father.
The USA is in the same group with Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Namibia and host country the United Arab Emirates.
The Americans are not the only team counting on veteran leadership to qualify for the World Cup in Bangladesh next year.
Middle-order batsman Steve Tikolo, the first player from a non-Test playing country to appear in 100 One Day Internationals, has come out of retirement to represent Kenya. He last represented the East African country in the 2011 World Cup.
Tikolo, 42, established himself as a solid player in his first season of international cricket in 1996, registering 65 in Kenya’s first World Cup game against India at Cuttack, a game-high 29 in an upset win over the West Indies and 96 against Sri Lanka at Kandy.
He compiled quality half-centuries against England and India in the 1999 World Cup and was at the helm of the side that reached the semi-finals of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. The 1000-1 outsiders at the start of the tournament disposed of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe before losing to India by 91 runs in Durban.
Kenya, led by 32-year-old all-rounder Collins Obuya, is in the group with Afghanistan, The Netherlands, Scotland, Bermuda, Denmark, Papua New Guinea and Nepal.
While the Canadians are in the UAE seeking one of the six spots available to advance to the Twenty/20 World Cup, an Ontario Cricket Association (OCA) side will be in Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago. The tour runs from November 15 to 24.
The provincial side will play two one-day matches and a Twenty/20 contest against Demerara and club teams Albion and Georgetown Cricket Club before heading to the twin-island republic for one-day games against Queens Park Cricket Club and Alescon Comets.
“This tour, which is part of the OCA’s high performance program, will afford these very special players from our member leagues a chance to play against some of the best players coming out of Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago,” said OCA president Mohan “Mike” Kendall. “We strongly feel that the invaluable experience gained by our players competing against some of the best club teams in these countries, which have produced many past and present West Indies cricketers, will go a long way towards raising their own level of performance.”
And, former Pakistan and Bangladesh coach Richard Pybus has been appointed director of West Indies cricket. The English-born coach, who was raised in Australia, will be based in Antigua.
“I am particularly looking forward to working with the West Indies teams, the first-class sides, the High Performance program and the educational structures to ensure a rigorous and competitive system that feeds through elite players to the international level,” Pybus said.