ICC Americas U/19 Division 1
The ICC Americas U/19 Division Tournament concluded on Saturday with Canada winning the ICC Under 19 Division One tournament and advancing directly to the ICC U/19 World Cup to be held in Dubai next year.  Canada defeated USA and Bermuda to be the reigning champion of the ICC Americas U/19 Tournament.

USA under-19 skipper Steven Taylor. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

Right from the outset of the tournament, Toronto’s thunderstorms and heavy flooding negatively impacted almost half the scheduled matches, dramatically shortening the tournament reducing it to a ‘sudden death’ format.  The continuous rain, flash floods and inclement weather conditions wreaked havoc at The Maple Leaf Cricket Club. During the opening match played between USA and Bermuda, the weather had an upper hand and the match was abandoned within the early stages of the second innings.  The next set of matches, on July 9th and July 10th respectively, were called off prior to play due to the wet weather conditions.  Finally, after format modifications from a double round-robin to a single round-robin, the weather became cooperative and the remaining matches successfully concluded.

Whilst the USA U/19 team has been eliminated from the U-19 World Cup next year, the young lads honed their skills and exhibited promising cricketing form during their time in Canada. In their first match, Shakeel Ahmed scored 71 runs against Bermuda, his highest total at international level. Patrick Palmer also made more than 60 runs in the two matches he batted.  Captain Steven Taylor contributed with consistent scores throughout the tournament as well as winning the Man of Match award against Bermuda. The bowlers were no less competitive, with Arsh Buch, Ryan Persaud, Roshan Varadarajan and vice-captain Krish Goel collecting crucial wickets during the tournament. Both Buch and Varadarajan captured 3 wickets each against Bermuda.

US National Coach Robin Singh spoke after the T20 practice match in King City; “I have mixed emotions after this tournament. Whilst I think that several of our players really improved over the course of the week, I can’t help but wonder what might have been. We arrived several days early to ensure that we were well prepared physically and mentally, yet when our moment came against Canada were weren’t able to execute. Not batting out our 50 overs that game was very costly in the overall scheme of things.
The positives are that we found some talent and that is the foundation on which US cricket can build a future on. I am looking forward to working with the guys in the months ahead to ensure that they keep developing”.

After the tournament, the three teams continued to put their cricketing skills to test by playing one another in T20 matches. Team USA beat Canada in the practice T20 match, avenging the previous defeat in the 50 over format.  Captain Steven Taylor and vice-captain Krish Goel snatched 8 wickets between them with Taylor taking 5 big wickets. The team won comfortably against Canada prior to their departure back to the United States.

USACA is developing an ongoing development plan for the players in the USA U/19 squad as part of the current Strategic Plan that is due for release in last August. That plan will establish a programme to maintain the skill levels of the group as they move through the 2013 cricket season.

USACA would like to thank Robin Singh, Basil Butcher and Wesley King for their support of the tour to Toronto.

Report courtesy of www.usaca.org