Top cricketer from Argentina, Bermuda Canada, the Cayman Islands and the United States showcased their talent on Saturday in Indianapolis at the first-ever International Cricket Council's (ICC) Americas Cricket Combine.
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard was on hand to observe the early sessions. While talking to the coaches, he said: "In Indianapolis, sports is more than just a pastime, it is an economic driver and part of our global identity."
Players spent the morning participating in fitness tests, led by staff from St Vincent Sports Performance. The Indianapolis-based organisation has been involved in the NFL Combines since 2001 and has worked with national governing bodies, including the USA Track & Field and, USA gymnastics.
At the conclusion of the session, Ralph Reiff, Executive Director of St Vincent Sports Performance, said: "The cricket athlete is someone we're getting very accustomed to seeing and we're gaining a quick affinity to the sport
"Cricket belongs in Indianapolis. This is a sports city. You have a city of Indianapolis that embraces sport at every level. We're thrilled that cricket is here in Indianapolis. This is an ideal location because this city speaks the common of language of sport.
"This inaugural Combine has been a great experience so far with the level of enthusiasm and talent," said Mike Young, internationally renowned American fielding coach. "I've been all over the world in international cricket and am incredibly impressed by the facilities here in Indianapolis."
In the afternoon, players went through cricket skills assessments in the areas of batting, bowling and fielding at the World Sports Park. Players also participated in exercises to assess character and leadership ability. This is the second international cricket event the facility has hosted this year.
More than 80 invited players to Phase One of the Combine are competing for an invitation to Phase Two next weekend where they will then attempt to earn a spot on the ICC Americas team to compete in the West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) Nagico Super 50 tournament in January. Phase One of the Combine will continue through September 21 with Phase Two taking place September 25-27 at the World Sports Park.
At the conclusion of Phase Two, Combine officials, including ICC Hall of Fame inductee and former West Indies captain Courtney Walsh, former Indian international Venkatapathy Raju and former Cricket Australia fielding coach Mike Young will select a roster to play in the Nagico Super 50 tournament in January 2016. Following the tournament, the best players may have an opportunity to try out for teams in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
For a full roster of Phase One participants visit the ICC Americas website.
The schedule for Phase One and Phase Two is as follows; all events will take place at World Sports Park at 1313 S. Post Road, Indianapolis, IN, unless otherwise noted:
All times in Eastern Daylight Time (UTC -4:00)
* Sunday, Sept. 20: Twenty20 matches 9 a.m. – Noon and 1-4 p.m.
* Monday, Sept. 21: Twenty20 match including top 24 players
* Thursday, Sept. 24: Media event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 4 p.m.
* Friday, Sept. 25: ICC Fan Event with select players and coaches at the Marriott East in Indianapolis at 6:30 p.m. Public is welcome.
* Friday, Sept. 25 – Sunday, Sept. 27: Twenty20 and 50 over cricket matches from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily.
For updates from the ICC Americas Combine, please follow: @iccamericas
on Twitter and @iccamericas on Instagram.
For media inquiries, contact Lauren Schregardus (Lauren@barcommunications.com or +1-317-416-7246) or Brad Rateike (Brad@barcommunications.com or +1-317-508-8419).