Just over a year after creating history as the fourth man to hit six sixes in an over in international cricket, batter Jaskaran Malhotra has been dropped from USA’s 14-member ODI squad for the four-match tour of Namibia later this month.
Malhotra set numerous records with his 173 not out against Papua New Guinea in Oman in September 2021. But he has struggled to replicate those exploits since then, scoring just one half-century in 11 ODIs. That came in September against PNG when he made 53 off 44 balls as the match ended in a tie. His last significant contribution came against Scotland at Aberdeen in August when he made 36 not out off 25 balls, including 15 runs off the final over bowled by Safyaan Sharif, to help USA chase down a target of 250 in a dramatic two-wicket win.
Called up in his place as one of five changes in the squad is former Pakistan U-19 batter Shayan Jahangir, who played as part of a representative side captained by Sami Aslam on a tour of England in 2013. Jahangir migrated to Texas in 2017 and was spotted in the club cricket scene by the then-owner of the Barbados Tridents (now Royals) franchise, leading to him being drafted in the CPL. He appeared in one match in 2020. He has since been playing for the Lone Star Athletics in the Minor League Cricket T20 competition. Jahangir finished 10th overall – but first among USA-eligible players – in 2022 with 507 runs at an average of 42.25 and a strike rate of 134.48 with four half-centuries.
Among the other changes, the teenage batting duo of Rahul Jariwala and Saiteja Mukkamalla have been dropped along with fast bowler Kyle Philip and legspinner Yasir Mohammad. Sushant Modani, who missed the September tour to PNG due to visa issues, has been recalled along with Ian Holland who was unavailable in September due to his county commitments at Hampshire.
Along with Jahangir, the other player who could possibly debut for USA is batter Saideep Ganesh. The 21-year-old had represented the Karnataka U-16 side in the Vijay Merchant Trophy in December 2016. Ganesh scored 402 runs at an average of 30.92 and a strike rate of 136.27 with three half-centuries and a best of 56 for the East Bay Blazers in the 2022 MiLC.
Offspinner Usman Rafiq, who last represented USA in February 2018, has also been recalled. Rafiq finished sixth overall with 23 wickets as captain of Houston Hurricanes in the 2022 MiLC.
USA’s first ODI on the tour is on November 20 against the hosts. They play two games against PNG before finishing the last ODI against Namibia on November 26. The tour completes USA’s full 36-match slate as part of Cricket World Cup League Two, the Associate qualifying competition on the pathway to the 2023 ODI World Cup.
USA is currently third on the seven-team table with 29 points from 32 matches. The top three teams automatically advance to the 10-team World Cup Qualifier.
USA squad: Monank Patel (capt & wk), Ian Holland, Saideep Ganesh, Shayan Jahangir, Aaron Jones, Nosthush Kenjige, Sushant Modani, Saurabh Netravalkar, Nisarg Patel, Usman Rafiq, Gajanand Singh, Jessy Singh, Cameron Stevenson, Steven Taylor.