Shiva Vashishat last represented the USA at the Under-19 level in 2010 in New Zealand. This month he makes a return to the USA national team, this time as a member of the country’s senior men’s squad.
USCricketers.com caught up with the 25 year old Vashishat and discussed academics, cricket and the loss of a long-time cricket mentor and coach Owen Graham.
Congrats on your selection to the USA senior team. What have you been up to after captaining the USA Under-19 team back in 2010?
I graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Managerial Economics, did some training in Punjab and Chennai. Participated in all major 20/20 tournaments around the country, and have performed with the bat in a majority of those tournaments. I am currently working with a software company.
What was the driving force behind you getting into the senior team?
It was a passion for the game, and it was always a dream to represent my country with pride.
What have you learned from participating in the 2010 ICC Under-19 tournament in which you led the USA?
I learned that we did not lack talent, skill, or cricket IQ. We lacked proper preparation before the Qualifiers/World Cup, and our results showed. If we fail to prepare, then we should prepare to fail.
What do you realistically think are the USA’s chances at the upcoming ICC tournament in Ireland?
We lack proper team preparation, and that puts us on the back-foot. With that being said, we are a young, smart, agile team, and that will be a critical factor in the 20/20 format. If the management/captain can figure out the right combination early in the tournament I believe we can qualify for the World Cup.
Tell us about the obvious hard work you have put in, your commitment, any sacrifices made, and your dedication to the sport of cricket?
First of all, it was a balancing act, between school and my commitment to cricket, now it’s a balancing act between work and my commitment to cricket.
Commitment = Practice, cricket games, gym, and staying at the top of my fitness level (I fly to southern California over the weekends for cricket games as well – Just to get a chance to play on turf wickets)
Sacrifices = Sacrifices made constantly to miss time with family, friends, and other events. Since time was spent in the gym, track, or the cricket field.
Dedication = I was dedicated to be in the best shape, and be on top of my game, if at any moment I was called for National Duty. So I was ready for this moment.
What was your relationship with the late coach Owen Graham? Did you know him well and was he one of your coaches?
My relationship with OG was more than a coach. He was an advisor, mentor, father, friend, and my greatest coach. He groomed my cricketing abilities from when I was 14. He worked with me on my batting, bowling, fielding, taught me the art of captaincy, and taught us to play like ‘warriors’ on the cricket field. He groomed other young talents like Saqib Saleem, Saami Siddiqui, and Saad Khan as well. He was my biggest influence, and many others in the Northern California region, with regard to cricket.
It has been almost five years since you donned the USA colors as skipper of the US Under-19 team, and now you have been called up to the senior team. What do you attribute to the selectors putting you on the senior squad having not represented the US for such a long time?
First of all, I would like to thank the selectors for believing in me. I would say I was called up because of my consistency with the bat in the recent years in major 20/20 tournaments. Also, because I had good knocks in the 20/20 Nationals last year in Florida. My fielding and fitness was another factor.
What do you think of the composition of the US squad selected for the ICC Qualifiers Ireland?
As I mentioned, we are a young, smart, and an agile team, and that will be a critical factor in the 20/20 format. If the management/captain can figure out the right combination early in the tournament I believe we can qualify for the World Cup.
What are you looking forward to the most in Ireland?
Getting an opportunity to play against the best associate cricketers in the world, and proving that USA can play ball just as good as any other associate country