Just like Afghanistan and Nepal, the USA cricket team has been on the move at the international stage in the last few years. The relaxation of their cricketing policies has seen renowned cricketers like Dane Piedt, Juan Theron, Corey Anderson and Sami Aslam leave their home countries and play for the blossoming USA side. Their presence has naturally attracted a chunk of cricket followers towards the tournaments played in the country and also helped the local aspiring cricketers to make it big at the international stage.
The launch of USA’s own franchise league is another step forward in the same direction and given the current progress, that day is not too far when USA will compete with the likes of India, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa as the new powerhouse in world cricket. On that note, let’s have a look at 5 Indian cricketers, who are currently plying their trade for the USA cricket team:
1. Sunny Sohal
A hard-hitting right-handed batsman from Punjab, who dominated the proceedings at the top of the order, Sohal was part of the Indian domestic circuit for quite some time before he finally left for the USA.
As a batsman, he possessed the gift of timing and had supreme power in his forearms, capable of sending the ball screaming to the boundary rope. This batting talent saw him represent three teams at the IPL, the first being the Punjab Kings, followed by Deccan Chargers and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Given the increasing age and chances of him playing for India being bleak, Sohal decided to pursue his cricketing career in USA and has even played 3 T20Is for them until now. The valuable experience playing in the Indian domestic circuit and IPL shall come of great help to the USA, building a strong batting core for them.
2. Timil Patel
A right-handed batsman, who bowls right-arm leg break and hails from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Timil represented the Gujarat side in the Indian domestic circuit for a decade or so. He didn’t get bountiful opportunities but was around with the side.
Timil shifted to USA in 2010 and just 2 years later made his debut for the nation. Given the augmented demand for wrist-spinners in the limited-overs formats, Timil very soon became the ‘Mr. Dependable’ for the side in quest of wickets.
His experience and astute leadership qualities also saw the spinner lead the side on a few occasions in the absence of regular ones. With USA receiving the ODI status, the role of Timil has become more prominent than before, who can spin a vicious web around known international batters.
In the 7 ODIs that he has played for USA, Timil has scored 72 runs at an average of 18 and picked 6 wickets at an average of 24.83 and an economy rate of 3.82.
3. Nisarg Patel
Another cricketer coming from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Nisarg is a right-handed batsman, who bowls left-arm orthodox spin. He did play some domestic cricket for Gujarat before going onto represent the USA cricket team at the international stage.
Nisarg made his T20I debut against Bermuda in August 2019 and a month later also made his ODI debut against Papua New Guinea. However, in November 2020, he was reported by the ICC for an illegal bowling action and began bowling only recently, having cleared of it in February 2021.
Just like Timil, Nisarg’s all-around abilities will do a world of good to the chances of USA dominating at the highest level and giving the top-rated teams a run for their money. In 8 ODIs for USA, Nisarg has scored 142 runs at an average of 20.29 and picked 7 wickets at an average of 19.71 and an economy rate of 4.76.
4. Karan Viradiya
A right-handed batsman and a right-arm off-spinner, who too represented Gujarat in the domestic circuit, Karan played U-19 cricket for India before his stint with the USA team.
He was however found guilty of age fraud in 2013 and also lost his place in the U-19 team, which would have further bolstered his chances of playing for India. With the probability of that happening put to rest, Karan took the right decision of moving to the USA and continuing his cricketing journey there.
Having displayed some remarkable performances in the local leagues in the last few years, Karan has finally earned a place for himself in the 44-man squad which will travel to Texas for a selection camp before the Oman Tri-series. If his rich vein of form persists, there is nothing that can stop him from making a dream debut and enjoying proceedings at the international stage.
5. Saurabh Netravalkar
A left-arm medium-fast bowler and current skipper of the USA cricket team, Saurabh represented the illustrious Mumbai side in the first-class and List A games.
The bowler made his T20 debut in March 2019 against the UAE team and later also played his maiden ODI game in April 2019 against Papua New Guinea. It was under his captaincy that the USA finished in the top 4 places in the 2019 ICC World Cricket League Division Two tournament in Namibia and earned ODI status.
Saurabh also became the 1st bowler from the USA to snare a fifer in ODI cricket, having picked 5-32 in the opening game against the UAE during the UAE Tri-nation series. Witnessing all these achievements, it seems India missed out on the services of a talented cricketer from Mumbai, who could have very well won laurels for his home country.
Saurabh has scalped 19 wickets from 13 ODIs at an average of 16.68 and 4 wickets from 8 T20Is at an average of 40.25, playing for the USA.