The USA Men’s cricket tour of the UAE and Oman is a fantastic opportunity for the team to continue the momentum from their successful Auty Cup campaign in September of 2017. The first leg of the tour sees them playing a couple of back-to-back 50 over fixtures in Abu Dhabi against Nepal and Kenya, before they move on to Oman for a series of three matches against the host nation.
Nepal and Kenya will be using these matches as preparation for their upcoming World Cricket League matches against UAE and Scotland respectively. For the US it will be a chance to prove they’re capable of competing at that higher level.
The matches against Oman should be particularly interesting given the history between the two sides in recent years. USA beat Oman in the final of ICC World Cricket League 4 in Los Angeles in 2016, but Oman exacted revenge earlier this year in Uganda at ICC WCL Division 4. Oman ended up winning that tournament, securing promotion to division 2 in the process. USA on the other hand finished 4th, meaning they will spend another year at Division three level. Both squads feature a number of familiar faces to those that were in Uganda, but with a squad of 20 Oman have three new players who will potentially make their debut for the side.
Conditions will be hot and dry in both locations, with the mercury expected to touch 83 degrees in Abu Dhabi for the first match. Historically the pitches at both venues have tended to favor spin bowlers, and therefore it is perhaps unsurprising that the US squad is spin heavy. Although an injury to regular pacemen Jessy Singh, and the unavailability of Ali Khan may have had a bearing on the squad makeup. Fast bowling allrounder Adil Bhatti comes into the side, and along with regular opening quick Elmore Hutchinson, will provide the team’s pace battery, whilst Japen Patel and Roy Silva will add able support with their medium pace swingers and cutters.
With Fahad Babar also unavailable to injury it would be no surprise to see Sagar Patel and Syed Abdullah given the task of opening the innings as they did in Canada. The makeup of the lower-middle order will be the most fascinating aspect of team selection, with a number of players old and new pressing their claims for a spot in the starting XI.
Wonderful training and prep in super facilities here in UAE so far. Team USA all set for Game 1 of Middle East tour tomorrow!— USA Cricket (@usacricket) November 30, 2017
?️: Friday December 1st
⏲️: 9am local time
?: USA v Nepal
☀️: Abu Dhabi
?: 50 Overs
?: https://t.co/pCLJnVJJxS#WeAreUSACricket pic.twitter.com/29FKl2jWtO