India-born USA spinner Nisarg can’t wait to play against Kohli and Co in T20 WC

New Delhi, May 6 (PTI) Ahmedabad-born USA left-arm spinner Nisarg Patel can’t wait to pick brains of his much experienced India counterpart Ravindra Jadeja and “run machine” Virat Kohli on the sidelines of their T20 World Cup fixture in New York on June 12.

Nisarg, who did his schooling in India before migrating to USA in 2003, is among a bunch of semi-professional cricketers picked in the co-hosts’ squad for the ICC event beginning June 1.

The 36-year-old has a done a masters in pharmaceutical sciences and works full-time with a medical research company.

The USA will be making their T20 World Cup debut with the game against Canada on June 1. However, it is the game against his country of birth that Nisarg is most excited about.

“Being born in India, having lived here and having roots here, playing against our heroes we have watched over the years. We can’t wait to be honest,” Nisarg, who also bats lower down the order, told PTI. He is currently training for the mega event in Ahmedabad.

India have two left-arm spinners in the squad in Jadeja and Axar Patel and Nisarg hopes to spend some valuable time with the more experienced all-rounder before they face-off in New York.

“I would love spend time with Kohli, Rohit and Jadeja who plays the same role that I do for my team, Obviously he is much more experienced.

“I would ask Virat the run machine, how do you do it? Especially when it comes to chasing and Jadeja simple stuff like how he prepares for batting, bowling and fielding.

“What sort of thought process he has when he bowls to an attacking batsman, does he try to punch his wickets or he just tries to control and buy wickets that way, so just trying to pick small little things,” said Nisarg, who has featured in 41 ODIs and 20 T20s.

Cricket will only grow in USA if American kids see a career in our sport

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It will be the first time a major cricketing event is taking place in USA and considering the sport is part of Los Angeles Olympics in 2028, it will be interesting to how the locals respond to the sport they know very little about.

It is mainly the South Asian and Caribbean community that is driving the game in the country. Major League Cricket last year was another major event in the sport’s journey in the region.

“A lot of good things are happening, major league and minor league cricket but that needs to change a little bit. It has only been a year for the major league. I would personally like to see U19 or U21 cricketers get a mandatory spot in the playing eleven.

“I would also like to see USA contract players in the playing eleven which gives those players the opportunity to play with and against the bigger names.

“If they don’t get that opportunity it doesn’t help anybody. How much can you learn while sitting in the dugout?

What is the best way to grow the game in USA?

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“It has to be a mixture of both. If the South Asian and Caribbean population doesn’t play then the American community doesn’t get a chance to experience the game.

“Ultimately what needs to change in USA is that an American kid in a high school needs to see a future in the game. There are so many sports in America, the country is built on Olympic medals. For cricket to succeed, we need to show them there is a career out of playing cricket.

Our first goal is to reach super 8

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Nisarg said his team is confident of pulling off a few upsets in the tournament.

“The first goal being an underdog is to qualify for the Super 8. In our group we have Canada, and we are confident of beating them, we have beaten Ireland before, and India and Pakistan. We all know Pakistan is a very good team but it is also team that other sides can upset.

“India come in with a lot of experience but they are coming to play in conditions they are not used to. As you said anyone can beat anyone in a T20 game.”

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