Thursday 18th January, 2018
17.8
18 ℃ | 20 ℃Abu Dhabi
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A fourth debutant in the squad is wicketkeeper-batsman Jaskaran Malhotra. The 28-year-old played age group cricket in India representing Himachal Pradesh from Under-15 level through Under-22s. He played his last representative match for their Under-22 side in October 2011 in the CK Nayudu Trophy. Malhotra made his unofficial debut for USA last August in a pair of 12-a-side exhibitions against Caribbean Premier League sides Jamaica Tallawahs and St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in Florida.

USA's ability to select so many debutants who are not citizens and have only been residents in the country for a relatively brief period of time was made possible due to a change in the ICC's player eligibility regulations that was approved by the ICC board late last year. The previous guidelines stated that eligible players must be passport holders or seven-year residents of a country in order to represent a given national team, with an exemption for a maximum of two players in any starting XI who have been resident for a minimum of four years but not yet seven - classified as "deemed national" players - prior to the start of a competition.

However, the ICC revised those eligibility guidelines to lower the residency threshold. The new guidelines state that a player becomes eligible to represent a new country after three years of residency. Also, the "deemed national" stipulation -that a maximum of two such players can be selected in any starting XI who have been resident for a minimum of three or four years but not yet seven years - has been eliminated.

In order to make room for the new arrivals, batsmen Sagar Patel, Ravi Timbawala, Abdullah Syed and Camilus Alexander plus seam bowling allrounder Japen Patel have all been left out from the 15-man squad that toured the Middle East last month. The batting revamp is a consequence of USA being bowled out for under 110 in three of their five matches on tour. Only two players scored half-centuries on tour - Roy Silva and Timil Patel - with both coming in the final match against Oman.

Medium pacer Jessy Singh was not considered despite training with the USA squad through the winter because he has still not been declared fully fit while rehabbing his right knee following reconstructive surgery in August. Fellow fast bowler Ali Khan, who has been contracted with Guyana Amazon Warriors for the past two seasons of CPL, was unavailable due to work commitments at home in Ohio.

The squad will depart for Antigua on January 27 ahead of their first match on January 31 against Leeward Islands. USA's other group stage opponents in the double round-robin tournament are Guyana, Jamaica and English County side Kent.

Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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