USA Cricket Announces Men’s Under 19 National Championship to Start 2021 Season
USA Cricket is excited to announce that the first ever USA Cricket Men’s Under 19 National Championships will be played at the Prairie View Cricket Complex in Houston, Texas.
The tournament will be played from April 4th - 11th and will bring together the best young male cricketers in the country. This tournament marks the beginning of the journey of our young cricketers in the wider campaign to qualify for the 2022 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies.
There will be 8 squads of 14 players each selected by the National & Zonal Men’s Youth Selection Panels in the coming weeks, with the 8 teams confirmed as the following:
- East Zone
- Mid-Atlantic Zone
- South Zone
- Midwest Zone
- South West Zone
- West Zone - Blues
- West Zone - Reds
Five of the six USA Cricket Zones will be represented by one team each, with the USA Cricket Committee recently resolving that the West Zone be represented by two teams based on the geographic size and current depth of playing talent in that Zone. This means the West Zone ‘Blues’ & the West Zone ‘Reds’ will be selected featuring the best 28 cricketers from the West Zone, and then allocated as determined by the West Zone Selectors across the two squads.
The eighth squad will be a ‘Colts’ team made up of the best remaining eligible USA cricketers, with no geographical barriers upon selection.
The two additional sides are being added to the 6 Zones to provide as much opportunity to those who have missed out on much cricket in recent times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to attempt to give as broad an opportunity as possible to the best young players eligible to represent the USA, wherever they come from.
The eight teams will be separated into two groups of 4 where they will play 3 group matches each, with the group winners progressing to the Under 19 National Championship Finals Stage to decide the first ever USA Cricket Under 19 National Champion. The other six teams will also complete cross-over classification matches for 3rd, 5th and 7th positions.
In keeping with the preparation for the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier, all matches will be played in the 50 Overs format.
As with recent USA Cricket zonal trials and talent IDs, independent medical advice has been taken and protocols developed to protect as far as is reasonably possible against the transmission of COVID-19 during the National Championships. All participants will be expected to comply with the protocols at all times, as USA Cricket puts the safety and well-being of the participants ahead of all other considerations.
USA Cricket Committee Chair, Sushil Nadkarni said, “The commencement of National Championships is a key priority for the growth of our youth pathway and a strategic focus area in 2021. This is something we indicated within the USA Cricket Foundational Plan. We are delighted to confirm the first tournament, in what is going to be a busy cricketing year in 2021, with the Under 19 National Championship marking the start of our campaign to qualify for the U19 World Cup in the West Indies in 2022. We will bring the best 100+ young cricketers together for a competitive week of cricket in fantastic facilities in Houston, and we have a team of individuals already working very hard to ensure that we have everything in place to give the best opportunities to all the players that will make up the 8 teams. I would like to extend my best wishes to all the participants in the tournament.”
The Chair of the USA Men’s National Youth Selection Panel Amer Afzaluddin said, “We are pleased to be able to select 8 squads for the first ever USA Cricket Under 19 National Championships in April. With the dearth of cricket over recent months, it is important to give as many talented young cricketers the opportunity to shine at the National Championships. The Championships in Houston will not only provide crucial game time and development, but will also allow us to start assessing who is likely to make the long list of the best 30 young cricketers that we will bring together again ahead of the crucial World Cup Qualifiers later in the year.”
Men’s Youth Internationals in 2021
After the conclusion of the USA Cricket Under 19 National Championship in April, there will be a U19 Selection Trials series, likely in June 2021, for the top 30 players with a view to finalizing the Team USA Under 19 Squad that will seek to qualify for the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup in 2022.
As previously announced by the International Cricket Council (ICC), USA will play host to the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Americas Qualifier, as four countries – Argentina, Bermuda, Canada, USA – will battle it out to take the one qualification spot from the Americas region to the 2022 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup, that will be played in the West Indies. Full details here.