The Minor League Cricket (MiLC) round one draft, concluded August 22, went onto attract 36 first class players including 21 international players. American Cricket Enterprises (ACE) announced 15 city-based 18 men squads after the culmination of the first round of the MiLC draft. The list is expected to further propel after the conclusion of the second round of the draft which is set to be contested individually among the teams from Florida and the Midwest(Chicago and Michigan). The second round of the draft is expected to be held in the first week of September.
The tournament that has been established as a pathway to the US national team and the much fanfared Major League T20, saw over 2000 players signing up in what will essentially be USA's first-ever city-based national T20 competition.
The squad announcement revealed players with previous international experience with teams such as the West Indies, Pakistan, South Africa, Canada and UAE. The more prominent names of the list include Narsingh Deonarine (WI), Chanderpaul Hemraj (WI), Shaun Findlay (WI), Najaf Shah (Pakistan), Nikhil Dutta (Canada) and Saad Zafar (Canada). Current USA internationals Xavier Marshall and Rusty Theron who have represented the West Indies and South Africa respectively in the past have also been drafted in.
Also headlining the draft were USA internationals Steven Taylor, Ali Khan, captain Saurabh Netravalkar, Nisarg Patel, Monank Patel, Aaron Jones, Timil Patel, Elmore Hutchinson, Nosthush Kenjige, Karima Gore and Akshay Homraj.
These internationals along with the presence of some other first-class players including the likes of former Mumbai Indians batsman Amitoze Singh and Shadley Van Schalkwyk (97 first class games in South Africa) is expected to considerably raise the standard of the domestic game in the US. With 3 reserved spots for U-21s in each squad and 2 in the final playing 11, the MiLC is set to play an imperative role in bridging the gap between age group and top-quality senior cricket.
"Today was a really positive step forward for the league and a milestone in the journey of MiLC. Teams prepared really well and had to make some tough decisions, even more so given the current challenges in regard to travel and scouting. What this exercise has reinforced is the number of players eager to be involved and the opportunities that exist to grow the game" said an ACE official to Cricbuzz
"While there is still a lot of work to be done for cricket to be played this season. We are hopeful that with the support of teams and the wider cricket community we can safely get some matches played. Our aim and focus remains to be building a platform for the talent that exists right across the country" added the ACE official.
The inaugural edition of MiLC is now scheduled for the spring of 2021 but ACE is hopeful to get a few intra-conference exhibition games scheduled starting September 12 nationwide considering COVID-19 impacts.
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