Upbeat USA face litmus test against India

Several stars of the co-hosts will have extra motivation to step up on Wednesday
If the US will be out to prove that the Pakistan result was no shock, India have a pretty full in-tray too.
If the US will be out to prove that the Pakistan result was no shock, India have a pretty full in-tray too.

CHENNAI: It’s tempting to classify this as a contest between players who had to put their original dreams on hold vs players who got to experience the dream at the first time of asking.

There are multiple players in the US side who have extensive Indian links. There is Saurabh Netravalkar, the Oracle engineer who coded that Super Over against Pakistan with nerveless ease. Nostush Kenjige, born in the Deep South (Alabama), came to India before going back. Harmeet Singh. Monank Patel. Jasdeep Singh... run your fingers through their roster and it’s hard to escape the attention of what these players have managed to do.

They moved to a different country in a different continent, convinced families they could be on to something before kick-starting a long forgotten dream. Now, they are oh so close to taking more than their extended family on a ride not many thought was possible when the World Cup was allotted to the US. Having beaten Canada on opening night before that bum-squelching win over Pakistan, they can smell the second stage of the competition.

The New York Times is reporting their games. Former NBA All-Star, John Starks, met Jasprit Bumrah and Virat Kohli before the Pakistan game. The Citi Field, home to the NY Mets, an MLB side, had a sold out part of the Stadium when they threw open their doors for a watchalong party for the India-Pakistan game... sure, when an Indian team is in town, they grab eyeballs. But at least some of this is due to the US side’s own performance at their home World Cup.

For a team that didn’t have much of a buy-in, they have come in as a breath of fresh air. The spin-hitting Aaron Jones will probably walk into a team of the tournament at No. 4 right now. Andries Gous has been assured at No. 3. Netravalkar has led the bowling attack with aplomb. All of them will again be centre-stage against India. On the up and down surfaces at Nassau County Cricket Stadium, you never know. However, India have the added advantage of playing at the same venue for the third time while US are in virgin territory; both of their wins came at Dallas.

If the US will be out to prove that the Pakistan result was no shock, India have a pretty full in-tray too. They would like for Virat Kohli to get among the runs. There is also some clamour to drop Shivam Dube but they will keep him in the side. In fact, considering the nature of the pitches in the US, one can argue Dube’s role will get prominence in the West Indies (if they qualify). Whoever wins can virtually assure themselves of a place. India, of course, will start the favourites but the US have already shown that counts for little.

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