Rusty Theron, who played for Kings XI Punjab, Deccan Chargers and Rajasthan Royals between 2010 and 2015 in the IPL, has been named in a 30-man USA squad traveling to Los Angeles this weekend for a selection camp. Theron, who also represented South Africa in four ODIs and nine T20Is between 2010 and 2012, will be looking to make the USA squad for the next round of 2020 World T20 Qualifiers, in Bermuda this August.
Theron had retired from South African first-class cricket in 2015 before moving to Florida where he was pursuing a teaching degree at a local college. He has now qualified to represent USA under the ICC’s three-year residency rule. According to multiple sources, USA Cricket had been aggressively pursuing Theron to join their squad for WCL Division Three in Oman last November but he made himself unavailable due to the tournament clashing with his own wedding.
Theron has been a regular fixture at T20 club tournaments around the USA in the last several years, most prominently at the annual US Open T20 Cricket tournament in Florida. It’s the same tournament used by USA’s Ali Khan to gain attention on the T20 franchise radar. Theron appeared there most recently in December for Somerset (New Jersey) Cavaliers where he was team-mates with Andre Russell and helped bowl Cavaliers into the final, where they eventually lost to California Bears.
Also in the USA squad are a pair of English County players with USA passports aiming to force their way into the national team for the first time. Durham’s Cameron Steel and Hampshire’s Ian Holland have both been included in the weekend camp.
The 23-year-old Steel, born in California, made a career-best 224 against Leicestershire at age 21 two seasons ago but has struggled to keep his place in the Durham first XI this season. The 28-year-old Wisconsin-born, Australian-raised Holland similarly has struggled to keep a place in the Hampshire first XI – he was loaned to Northants for the Royal London One-Day Cup – since relocating to England after a solitary first-class appearance for Victoria in 2016.
Another big name to emerge from the list for different reasons is allrounder Timroy Allen, one of USA’s biggest match-winners of the last decade. Allen was a key role player for Jamaica Tallawahs in 2016, playing six matches during their run to the CPL title, but has not played for USA since May 2017 due to work commitments.
Vikash Mohan, former captain of Combined Campuses Colleges, has also been included in the 30-man list. The US passport holder from Trinidad Tobago took part in a USA fitness camp at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and was also part of a USA selection camp held in Antigua in February ahead of WCL Division Two in Namibia but was not selected for that tour.
Five other uncapped players are in the 30-man list besides Theron, Holland, Steel and Mohan. The most prominent of the bunch is Akshay Homraj, a former Guyana Under-19 wicketkeeper-batsman who has since migrated to New York and been part of multiple USA squad camps. The others are Dallas batsman Ali Samad, Chicago area wicketkeeper Shaheer Hassan, Los Angeles fast bowler Sahaj Patel and Los Angeles left-arm spinning allrounder Srinivas Raghavan.
Players will participate in six T20 intra-squad trial matches during the camp before a squad is expected to be announced next month ahead of the ICC Americas Regional T20 Qualifier Final in Bermuda to be held from August 18-25. USA will take on Bermuda, Canada and Cayman Islands in a double-round robin event with the top two teams advancing to the Global T20 World Cup Qualifier in the UAE in October.
USA squad: Timroy Allen, Usman Ashraf, Karima Gore, Shaheer Hassan, Ian Holland, Akshay Homraj, Elmore Hutchinson, Aaron Jones, Nosthush Kenjige, Ali Khan, Jaskaran Malhotra, Xavier Marshall, Vikash Mohan, Saurabh Netravalkar, Monank Patel, Nisarg Patel, Sagar Patel, Sahaj Patel, Timil Patel, Kyle Phillip, Srinivas Raghavan, Srini Salver, Ali Samad, Roy Silva, Jessy Singh, Cameron Steel, Abdullah Syed, Steven Taylor, Rusty Theron, Hayden Walsh Jr.