CPL T20 breakthrough for Associate players from USA, Canada
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
USA wicketkeeper Steven Taylor and Canada offspinner Nikhil Dutta will play in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) following successful tryouts with Barbados Tridents and St Kitts & Nevis Patriots.
Taylor and Dutta have become the first associate players from the Americas Region to be awarded contracts with a CPL squad.
They were two of six players shortlisted for a chance to compete in a trial with West Indies U-19 cricketers for a final roster spot in their nominated CPL franchise after participating in an ICC Americas squad camp last December in Barbados.
"Competition for a place in the CPL squads has been fierce," declared Tom Moody, CPL director of cricket.
"The coaches have been very impressed with the quality of young players on show, so it was hard to narrow it down to one player per squad."
Taylor was the first US player to score a T20 century and was USA's leading scorer at the 2013 World T20 Qualifier in the UAE with 271 runs at an average of 38.71.
Dutta was Canada's leading wicket-taker at the recently concluded ICC Americas Division One Twenty20 tournament in Indianapolis, taking 12 at an average of 9.41.
Taylor and Dutta are among six up-and-coming young cricketers with CPL contracts this year.
The others are West Indies Under-19 Player of the Year Shimron Hetmeyer (Guyana Amazon Warriors) and former West Indies Under-19 captain Ramaal Lewis (Jamaica Tallawahs), Gidron Pope (St Lucia Zouks) and Mark Deyal (Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel).
"These six guys have a fantastic opportunity to make a name for themselves on the big stage and we wish them all the best for CPL 2015," said Moody.
Both Taylor and Dutta may not be fully available for the CPL, having being named to represent their countries at the ICC World T20 Qualifier in Ireland and Scotland starting early next month.