While every professional cricketer wants to represent his/her own country, sometimes players might have to take a different route to play at the highest level. Especially in countries like India where there is a cut-throat competition to break into a domestic team, leave aside the national cricket team, players are beginning to look out for opportunities to take the next step in their career in another country.
The United States of America, in this context, has emerged as a great destination. This is because while there are a lot of cricket lovers in that market, the sport is only taking its initial steps to stitch itself to the country's culture and landscape. Thus, USA is not only looking for cricketers to make use of a great market for the sport but also providing lucrative contracts to the best cricketers.
Moreover, there is no use warming the benches for a top domestic side when there is an opportunity to go out there and play in franchise leagues, to begin with, in USA. Consequently, several cricketers have moved to USA in recent years. Here is an attempt at making the best, balanced XI from these players.
Top-order: Sunny Sohal, Xavier Marshall, Unmukt Chand
At the top of the order of this XI will be Sunny Sohal along with Xavier Marshall. Both of them have enough experience behind them and can easily destroy the plan of opposition bowlers with their batting. Sunny is a former Royal Challengers Bangalore cricketer, having represented Punjab in the domestic cricket circuit. Along with him would be Jamaica's Xavier Marshall. The Caribbean can not only play the big shots early on the innings but can even contribute with his part-time off-break bowling. He has been part of the Jamaica Tallawahs in the past.
Unmukt Chand is also likely to feature in this top-order and can either be one of the openers or bat at number 3. The former Indian U-19 world cup winning captain is a class act when in full flow and was even part of Mumbai Indians' championship-winning dressing room. Chand recently moved to the States and has already scored his maiden fifty in the Minor League cricket.
Middle Order: Sami Aslam, Smit Patel (wk), Shehan Jayasuriya, Corey Anderson
Number 4 position could go to Pakistan's Sami Aslam. The biggest advantage for Aslam is that he is just 24 and has a good number of years ahead of him. He has been a prolific run-getter for the Men In Green at the U-19 and domestic level but opted to leave Pakistan Cricket post a disagreement with his South Punjab coach. The place of the wicketkeeper batter in this team goes to Smit Patel. The 28-year-old was Unmukt's teammate at the U-19 India World Cup-winning campaign in 2012. The former Baroda keeper has a healthy average in both first-class and T20 cricket and is also a safe bet behind the stumps.
Number 6 and 7 happen to be all-rounders and can even bat as floaters in the side. They are Shehan Jayasuriya and Corey Anderson. Jayasuriya is a left-handed batter who bowls off-spin and quit Sri Lankan cricket after featuring in 12 ODIs and 18 T20Is. In January this year, he opted to relocate to USA and could be a huge asset for them in coming years. Of course, Corey Anderson needs little introduction. The Kiwi all-rounder even held the record of being the fastest ODI centurion for a brief period which goes on to suggest that he can even bat up the order if needed. He is also a superb bowler when it comes to his slower balls and other variations. Anderson played 13 Tests, 49 ODIs and 31 T20Is in an international career that spanned from 2012 to 2018 but injuries and more all-round options in the country led to him falling off the selectors' radar.
Bowling options: Ian Holland, Dane Piedt, Siddharth Trivedi, Juan Theron
Dane Piedt, the former South Africa off-spinner, will definitely lead the spin department of this side. Not only has he a great first-class record but even has a century against his name. It could be interesting to see how he copes up in the T20 format. Ian Holland once played domestic cricket in Australia as he represented Victoria but the right-arm medium bowler now plays for USA and would be eager to leave a mark here at 30 years of age. Meanwhile, former Rajasthan Royals' pacer Siddharth Trivedi is likely to make this XI with Juan "Rusty" Theron, the former Proteas fast bowler, who has also been part of the Rajasthan Royals camp, to complete the lineup.