USA Cricket and American Cricket Enterprise (ACE) announces the opening of an online portal for player registrations for the inaugural edition of the 24-city-based Minor League T20. The registration process opened up earlier this week and the last date of registration is July 31.
The registration process will lay the groundwork for player selection for Minor League T20, which is tentatively set for the first week of August.
“It is exciting to know that we have received over 1000 player registrations on our website at majorleaguecricket.com in mere two days of the opening of the registration process. Minor League Cricket is confirmed for this year starting August 22 obviously keeping Covid (impacts) in mind. It is thrilling to introduce an official top level domestic T20 cricket tournament in the US that will feature players of international repute and quality,” said William Swann, Director of Corporate Development at ACE.
There are multiple moving pieces of the first edition of Minor League. All the four conferences (Western, Central, Southern, and Eastern) will further be divided to have their own ‘draft zones’ if there is more than one team from the same vicinity. The whole purpose behind this is to have a draft in each draft zone rather than having a common draft on the whole.
For example, the Eastern Conference consists of a draft zone that encompasses New Jersey and New York City. This draft zone is set to field 3 teams and these 3 teams will then partake in a draft that will consist of players registered specifically in these draft zones.
On the draft day, a franchise owner will be able to choose 3 ‘professional players’, 3 ‘domestic players’ and 3 U21 players in their 18 men roster. A franchise owner can directly recruit these players outside of the draft provided the player had selected that franchise owner’s team as the ‘preferred team’ during the registration process.
There are rules for who will be considered professional and who falls in other categories. A player who has played any game at the international, FC, List A or ‘T20’ level will be considered a ‘professional’. The professional players are further classified into ‘domestic professionals’, who are players domiciled in the US and ‘Wildcard professionals’ who are players not domiciled in the US.
However, there will be a cap of only 1 wildcard professional per team. Players will be considered in the domestic and U21 categories if they are US citizens or are already domiciled in the US and do not fall in the ‘professional’ category.
Despite ACE being the promoters and owners of the franchise, USA Cricket CEO Iain Higgins hinted that the Minor League Cricket will be one of the essential pathways towards national selection and the board intends to work closely with ACE on matters regarding selection policies among a few others.
“We want to be as transparent with the governance and selection matters as possible. We have set up a Minor League Governing Council that will be comprised of members from ACE, USA Cricket office bearers and a few representatives from the independent local leagues” said Sameer Mehta of ACE.
“We have also put selection mechanisms in place. Each team will have a 3-member selection committee to oversee squad selection. The chairman of the selection committee will be appointed by the franchise owner with strong ties in the local cricketing fraternity. The other 2 selectors will be appointed by ACE in consultation with the Governing Council and the franchise owner respectively.”
US is a home to an incredibly large number of expats from the commonwealth and the Indian subcontinent especially. With more than 400 players set to be drafted into these teams to play official domestic cricket for the very first time in their lives, Minor League Cricket is set to galvanize the US cricketing community like never before.
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