Phase One of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Americas Cricket Combine concluded this evening in Indianapolis. Top amateur cricket talent from Argentina, Bermuda, Canada, the Cayman Islands, and the United States participated in the three-day showcase, held at the Indianapolis World Sports Park, along with regional and international coaches.
Close to 70 players were evaluated with eight players selected to participate in Phase Two of the Combine, which will take place September 25-27. An additional four players were provisionally selected to participate in Phase Two.
ICC Cricket Hall of Famer Courtney Walsh coached fast-bowlers and led one side in Monday’s Twenty20 intra-squad match. “It has been very competitive,” said Walsh. “The way they are playing over the past three days, you’d think they had played together before…the intensity they have shown has been tremendous.”
The Combine began Saturday morning, when prospects participated in athletics testing with staff from St. Vincent Sports Performance in Indianapolis. St. Vincent Sports Performance has been involved with the National Football League Combine since 2001. Following testing, players received coaching and evaluation on their bowling, batting, and fielding at the World Sports Park.
“This is a great opportunity. There’s a lot of talent here,” said Timroy Allen, one of the players selected to participate in Phase Two.
Opposite Courtney Walsh was former Indian international Venkatapathy Raju who worked largely with the spinners over the previous two days. “These men, they’ve got the skills and the ability to play cricket at a high level. They just need the fine tuning,” said Raju. “This Combine is the right direction to go, for the players and for cricket in the Americas.”
“Over the last couple of days, with all the coach’s involvement and the involvement of the ICC and WICB, the Combine effort is going to be a huge success. I think it’s a step in the right direction. Everyone involved has gone above and beyond the call of duty.”
The ICC Americas Cricket Combine is the second international cricket event hosted at the World Sports Park this year.
“I was overwhelmed when I saw the facilities. I’ve never seen anything like this in the U.S. before. I’ve been blown away by what I’ve seen,” said Walsh. “Obviously the people of Indianapolis are very sports oriented and very sports crazy.”
Players moving on to Phase 2:
Muhammad Ahsan Ali Khan-USA
Anirrudh Reddy Saddi-USA
Provisional players include:
Phase Two will commence Friday, September 25 at the World Sports Park, when a pre-selected group of the best cricketers in the Western Hemisphere will join the eight players advancing from Phase One. Players selected will participate in the West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) Nagico Super 50 tournament in January 2016.
The schedule for Phase Two is as follows:
* Thursday, Sept. 24: Media event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 4 p.m.
* Friday, Sept. 25: ICC Fan Event with select players and coaches at the Marriott East in Indianapolis at 6:30 p.m. Public is welcome.
* Friday, Sept. 25 and Sunday, Sept. 27: Twenty20 and 50 over cricket matches from 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily.