Former Karnataka batsman J Arunkumar’s tenure as USA’s head coach has come to an end after serving for three years. On Wednesday, The USA Cricket board gave out a statement that decided not to renew his contract following a series of highs and lows throughout his term.
Arunkumar was hired in early 2020 amidst Covid-19 where he aimed for America to become a test-playing nation. He last coached the team for a tour of Namibia in November as the team played the last of their 36 ODIs in ICC Cricket World Cup League Two before his contract ended. In his tenure of three years, the team produced a variety of results ranging from losses to ties to wins.
The biggest win under him came when the USA beat Ireland on home ground in a T20I as the series ended in a tie (1-1). This was the first T20I win for the USA. But the team failed to qualify for the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 which is a major reason for the non-renewal of his contract. The board couldn’t remove him as a coach following a poor budget as they would have to pay him and the newly appointed coach at the same time.
In 2022, the team won against Scotland both home and away which was followed by a catastrophic tour of Papua New Guinea where the matches ended either in a tie or a loss. By the looks of it, Team USA is on the edge of qualification for the 2023 ICC World Cup Qualifier. For qualifying, the team will have to enter a six-team tournament early next year and end up in the top two positions to advance further.
Under Arunkumar, multiple youngsters debuted and played a couple of games. USA Cricket has already started the recruitment process where they will be aiming for Corey Anderson of New Zealand.
Arunkumar said, “I am very thankful for my time as head coach of the USA Men’s National Team and will leave with plenty of fond memories from nearly three years in charge,” he said in a statement that the board issued. “I am pleased with the individual and collective progress of the team throughout my time but also disappointed that we couldn’t quite take our opportunities to qualify for a World Cup for the first time or perform more consistently in Cricket World Cup League 2.”
“Jak’s time at the helm began just as the world was going through the huge difficulties of the Covid pandemic and it wasn’t easy throughout the initial stages of his time in the USA,” said Atul Rai, USA Cricket interim board chairman.
“However, he always carried himself professionally and put the best interests of the team first and we would like to wish him well for the future as [he] moves on to new coaching opportunities.”