Despite the extremely wet weather in the Fort Lauderdale area, some of the most talented Under 19 players in the nation have arrived in South Florida ready to participate in the most recent exciting development in the USACA High Performance Programme. With an eye to the future, USACA has focused a great deal of attention and resources on its talented youth, in particular the Under 19’s.

The Combine promises to be an outstanding extension to the USACA High Performance Programme and will assist in ‘raising the bar’ or the next generation of US cricketers.

By attending the USACA Combine, players will be included in USACA Talented Player database and targeted for future skills development. Performance at the local level will be monitored on an on-going basis by USACA.

The format of the Combine will include speed, endurance and strength tests and cricketing skills testing along with a series of matches of varying lengths.

This is the first time a US national squad will be selected this way and provides the National Selectors the opportunity to assess technical, tactical, physical and mental strengths. All tests will be measurable which will allow US National Selectors can make direct comparisons between players.

The USACA Combine will be coordinated by ICC America’s High Performance Manager Mr. Andy Pick, with support from USACA staff. Specialist staff have been recruited to assist with the various phases of the Combine, together with local coaching, medical and support staff.

Mr. John Abrahams flew in yesterday from London to add his expertise to the Combine. Abrahams is the current England Cricket Board (ECB) Elite Player Development Manager. A former first class player and captain of Lancashire, Abrahams will bring as level of cricket expertise and objectivity to the Combine that the local players will greatly benefit from.

The objectives of the USACA Combine are;
• An introduction to the USACA Talented Player Pathway
• Technique refinement and assistance with skill execution
• Cricket education including nutrition and physiological preparation
• Selection of the initial USA Under 19 Squad to compete in the ICC Under 19 Tournament in Toronto in July this year.

The USACA Combine will involve a full battery of testing encompassing all elements of cricket. The testing regime will involve speed and agility, strength and conditioning, skills and game knowledge over the first day. Night time sessions will also contribute to the players’ knowledge and understanding of game related tactics, nutrition and mental preparation and performance under pressure.

Games of varying lengths will also be held in this intensive initiative.