World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015
Under fire USA look to ignore administrative strife
It's been the case for most of the last 10 years since the halcyon days of playing in the Champions Trophy and being the second best associate in the world rankings, but it's safe to say that cricket in the USA at the moment is a bit of a mess. Under suspension from the ICC, mired in debt and facing a challenge as official governing body from the American Cricket Federation, there's a lot to distract the USA team in this tournament.
Added to that was the late withdrawal of Steven Taylor, probably the best player to be produced in the USA since the pre-first world war days of the world beating Philadelphian side, in order to play for the Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League. A preparation camp was - as is now sadly predictable for the USA - cancelled.
It doesn't bode well for the USA side, who finished 15th in 2013. At least they can say that whatever happens, they'll have improved on that performance, but only because the qualifier has been reduced to 14 teams.
The USA qualified for the tournament after finishing as runners-up to old rivals Canada in the Americas Championship in Indianapolis two months ago. Whilst they easily beat Bermuda and Suriname during that tournament, they were very much second best to the Canadians.
The side does have some talented players, but they play together so infrequently that they often find it hard to gel as a team. A lot will depend on how they do in their opening matches. They have a tricky start, coming up against Nepal and Ireland in their first two matches, but if they can perform well against those opponents, it's likely to give them the confidence they need to go on and perform creditably in the rest of the tournament. Conversely, if they perform badly then they could well slump and struggle through their remaining matches.
Star Man: Fahad Babar. The real star man of course is busy warming the bench in Barbados, but in Taylor's absence Fahad Babar is capable of stepping up to the plate - if you excuse the use of a cliche from that US-based other major bat and ball sport. He was the top run scorer in the qualifier in Indianapolis, and the US will need his runs.
Players to watch: Apart from Fahad Babar, keep your eyes on Timil Patel. The leading bowler during qualification in Indianapolis, taking 15 wickets at just 7.66, he previously played played for India Under-19s and played first-class cricket for Gujarat. He brings some experience to the US bowling attack and is a talented leg spinner.
CricketEurope verdict: Mired by controversy at home, the USA should beat Jersey but will likely struggle in the other matches. Sixth in their group.
USA: Muhammad Ghous (captain), Alex Amsterdam, Fahad Babar, Adil Bhatti, Akeem Dodson, Karan Ganesh, Naseer Jamali, Japen Patel, Mrunal Patel, Timil Patel, Hammad Shahid, Jasdeep Singh, Nicholas Stanford, Timothy Surujbally, Shiva VashishatUSA Fixtures: