Steven Taylor drives over cover for a boundary to move past 1,000 career one-day runs for USA
USA opening batsman Steven Taylor has been axed as captain after less than a year in the role. Multiple sources confirmed Taylor’s removal as captain, describing it as a “mutual decision” between him and team management after he made playing first-class cricket for Jamaica a priority in his pursuit of a West Indies cap. The Florida native is now living full-time in Jamaica after he was recently awarded a full contract with the Jamaica Scorpions franchise.
Consequently, Taylor has been left out altogether from the USA squad for the Auty Cup series against Canada, multiple sources confirmed to ESPNcricinfo. The squad is yet to be officially announced by the ICC Americas caretaker administration – which is running cricket operations until a new governing body is formed in the wake of USACA’s expulsion – despite the first match starting in two days in Toronto, but Taylor was not at early team training sessions in Toronto.
Taylor’s omission is the first part of a major revamp described by one team source as an effort “to change the team culture and reward players who show commitment to want to play for USA”. He is also expected to be unavailable for a tour to the UAE being planned for late 2017 due to his commitments with Jamaica.
Taylor has allegedly communicated to ICC Americas staff that he is still interested in playing for USA at key tournaments such as the World T20 Qualifier, if it does not conflict with his Jamaica commitments. However, team management is understood to have wanted to a full-time captain that they can build around through the rest of this year leading into WCL Division Three and T20 World Cup Qualifying in 2018, and as a result a call was made for Taylor to step down, which he agreed to.
Taylor, 23, took over the role last October ahead of the previous Auty Cup series in Los Angeles, which Canada won 2-1. He led USA to victory at home a month later at WCL Division Four, highlighted by an unbeaten 124 off 95 balls in an eight-wicket win over Oman that featured 15 fours and seven sixes.
However, he enjoyed less success personally and as captain at WCL Division Three in Uganda this May. He passed 50 just once and finished with 126 runs in six games as USA failed to gain promotion, though his five-wicket haul bowling offspin in the final round-robin match against Uganda helped USA stave off relegation.
He was the highest paid American player of the five who were in CPL squads for the 2017 season, fetching a $30,000 deal after being taken in the eighth round by Guyana Amazon Warriors though he played just two games. His attractiveness was enhanced after he represented Jamaica’s one-day side in this year’s Regional Super50 competition, including a knock of 88 off 71 balls against Trinidad & Tobago in the tournament semi-final.
Taylor’s commitment to USA had come under scrutiny in the past after he chose to join Barbados Tridents in the summer of 2015 over playing with USA at the World T20 Qualifier in Ireland. That came not long after he gave an interview to a Jamaican news outlet in which he declared his intentions to pursue a spot with the West Indies side.
Source: ESPN Crickinfo