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USA's Steven Taylor: 'I'm representing my parents, my Jamaican heritage'

"I know most of his tricks so for sure I'll be hunting him, first ball," Taylor says of taking on his friend Akeal Hosein

Steven Taylor made an enterprising 24 off 14 balls, USA vs South Africa, T20 World Cup 2024, North Sound, June 19, 2024

"At the end of the day I'm representing my real country, where I was born and grown"  •  Getty Images

USA opener Steven Taylor will be singing David Rudder's Rally Round The West Indies when he lines up against the team he grew up supporting in Barbados on Friday night in the T20 World Cup 2024. Taylor, born in Florida to Jamaican parents, has also laid down a marker for his friend Akeal Hosein, whom he said he would be "hunting, first ball" at Kensington Oval.
Taylor was brought up on America's south-east coast but was a West Indies fan on account of his family heritage. He said it will be "a wonderful feeling" to play against West Indies on Friday: "I'm representing my parents, my Jamaican heritage," he said. "At the end of the day, I might be born American, but I speak more Jamaican than I speak American sometimes."
While defeat will not mathematically eliminate USA, they realistically need to win both remaining games to qualify for the semi-finals.
"[I remember] growing up, watching [Brian] Lara, Chris Gayle," Taylor said. "To have the chance of playing against [West Indies] now and on a World Cup stage, on the highest stage of lifeā€¦ I might beat them. It might be a great feeling.
Taylor was part of the USA side which lost by 39 runs to West Indies in the 50-over World Cup qualifier in Zimbabwe last year, and said the margin of defeat showed they were capable of beating the opposition. "We gave them a fight at the end of the day and we know that we have a chance of beating them once we play good cricket on the day."
Speaking about playing West Indies, he said, "I used to sing the song 'rally' growing up as a kid, but at the end of the day, I'm representing my real country, where I was born and grown, and I just hope that we can come over the line against West Indies." Asked if he would be singing the anthem on Friday, he said with a grin, "I did last time, but in my head."
Taylor has been on the books of three different CPL franchises and has also played regional cricket for Jamaica, and is relishing the chance to take on some familiar faces - and Hosein, his former Barbados Tridents team-mate, in particular. "He's a good friend of mine," Taylor said. "I know most of his tricks so for sure I'll be hunting him, first ball."
"We know that we're going to be the underdogs for all teams that we play against in the Super Eights. So, we're just here to play good cricket and if we go in, we win; if we lose, we lose"
Steven Taylor
He is also looking forward to coming up against Andre Russell, another former team-mate: "I played with him most days," Taylor said. "I wouldn't say I look up to him, but he's more of a big brother to me as well."
USA fell to an 18-run defeat in their opening Super Eight fixture against South Africa in Antigua, but took confidence from Andries Gous' innings of 80 not out and a good comeback with the ball after an expensive start.
"I would say we're playing good cricket and the team is gelling well together," Taylor said. "At the end of the day, we know that we're going to be the underdogs for all teams that we play against in the Super Eights. So, we're just here to play good cricket and if we go in, we win; if we lose, we lose."

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