USA Cricket Announces Zonal Trials For Men And Youth Cricketers In October

USA Cricket is pleased to announce the confirmation of Zonal Trials for both Men’s Senior and Men’s Youth in 14 locations across the country throughout the month of October, 2020. The Zonal Trials will act as a precursor to the National One-Day Championships, which may be run later in the year if it is safe and practical to do so, and once the Zonal Trials are successfully completed.

After the USA Cricket Board Meeting in February of this year, USA Cricket had initially announced plans to stage a series of Zonal Trials followed by National Domestic One-Day Tournaments in 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic then led to all domestic and international cricket being postponed. The USA Cricket Committee has been monitoring the situation closely over recent weeks and months, and, having obtained independent expert medical advice, now supports the staging of Zonal Trials for Men’s Senior and Men’s Youth cricket at 14 different hubs in October, 2020.

As a first step in this process, USA Cricket has already reached out to Leagues and Academies across the country to nominate their best players for consideration to attend the Zonal Trials.

A maximum of 30 players will then be invited to attend each of the Men’s Youth Trials and Men’s Senior Trials that are arranged in each of the 14 hubs. The trials will be managed by USA Cricket Staff and coordinated in conjunction with USA Cricket appointed Zonal selectors, local coaches, administrators and volunteers. Each trial will consist of a one-day program which will include assessment of both cricket skills and fitness levels.

Following the trials, Zonal Selection Panels (shortly to be appointed by USA Cricket) will name extended Zonal squads for ongoing monitoring, training and coaching with USA Cricket Coaches and Strength & Conditioning staff. Around mid-October, the USA Cricket Board will once again reassess the latest operational plans and health risks across the country and, where it believes that it is possible for the National Championships to go ahead safely in 2020, then Zonal Teams will be picked from these extended squads.

USA Cricket also remains optimistic about its ability to stage a Senior Women’s National Championship in 2020 once the ongoing Women & Girls Talent IDs have been successfully concluded.

youth cricket trials
A youth and senior (top photo) trials which was held in 2016. Photos by Shem Rodney

In 2021 USA Cricket plans to expand this competition structure further, so that the Zonal component also includes competitive intra-Zonal opportunities. Unfortunately, there is not enough time in the remaining calendar to introduce that expansion this year.

Chair of the Cricket Committee and USA Cricket Board Member, Sushil Nadkarni, said, “USA Cricket is committed to improving the player pathway and enhancing the opportunities for domestic cricketers to play in Zonal and National competitions and represent USA in global events. The Zonal Trials are an important first step in identifying and supporting the most talented players in the country as we begin to prepare for an important international playing calendar in 2021. Having gone without them in recent years, the Cricket Committee has always considered them to be an absolute priority in 2020, and we are excited about the opportunity to stage them in so many locations across the country and with the full support of the cricket community.”

Richard Done, USA Cricket Operations Director, elaborated on the process so far, “We have been absolutely thrilled with the response and engagement from all parts of the US cricket community so far, with player nominations coming in from Leagues and Academies all across the country. We understand though that there may be those who may have missed out our recent invitation to nominate players for the Zonal Trials. We want this process to be as inclusive as possible and so we would ask any such Leagues and Academies to please contact USA Cricket immediately to get further information on how to register relevant players.”

“In the event that the National Championships are not possible this year for safety reasons, the process of gathering and assessing League and Academy nominations will nevertheless be an extremely important part of the process of identifying the nation’s top players and enabling USA Cricket to start working with them over the winter period and extending our player pathways.”

USA Cricket Chief Executive, Iain Higgins concluded, “2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for all sporting organizations, but the announcement today is a further positive step in the return of some of our previously planned domestic cricket activities. Having taken independent medical advice and assessed the COVID protocols that we have been able to develop, the USA Cricket Board is committed to ensuring we minimize as far as possible all of the potential health risks and run all Zonal Trials in as safe as possible an environment for all concerned. We are working with local authorities to ensure compliance with local requirements and I would like to thank everyone in the community for their enthusiasm, engagement, support and understanding as we take this next step on the journey towards a return to more regular competitive cricket.”

The dates and venues for the Zonal trials are still being confirmed and will be announced next week but the areas for the 14 Zonal trial hubs will be as follows;

USA Cricket Zonal Trial Hubs 2020:
• Bay Area, CA
• Southern California, CA
• Hartford, CT
• Tampa, FL
• Atlanta, GA
• Chicago, IL
• Adelphi, MD
• St Louis, MO
• Raleigh, NC
• Somerset, NJ
• New York, NY
• Dallas, TX
• Houston, TX
• Seattle, WA

For any remaining Leagues or Academies who wish to nominate players, please contact us directly via cricket@usacricket.org for further details, with the subject line ‘Zonal Trials’.