The All-Star Cricket League of Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne was a trial of cricket in the USA which proved that cricket has the potential to enjoy success because of a large portion of Asian American and Caribbean people in the USA. So banking on the popularity a few matches of Caribbean Premier League hosted in Florida which received a good response. Now T20I between West Indies and India is the real test.
The two-time T20 champion West Indies and 2007 World T20 champion India will confront each other in the land of Miami Heat at Central Broward Regional Park, Lauderhill, Florida.
The first T20 international of the two-match series will take place on Saturday (August 27) and the second on the day after. The Indian cricket may not be as well known as the Miami Heat in Florida, but there is a sheer presence of excitement among the Indian diaspora from New Jersey to California.
Nothing is at stake other than minor changes in the International Cricket Council ranking table. But that didn’t bother them to book hotels and flights costing in the thousands have been booked; match ticket prices cost US$250 were sold out within the first few hours.
The international cricket board ICC and BCCI have said that this series will help expand the game in America, in the broader scheme of things, this series most likely a commercial enterprise-launching the shortest format of the game in a new market woo fans.
The broadcasting right for the match sold for US$5.2 million to Star Sports and the start times have been adjusted to 10 am local time to cater the prime time Indian TV audience.
The ground- Central Broward Regional Park, where the match will be held has decent facilities with lots of room for improvement. There is no proper media box and if you are on the wrong side of the stands, the scorching Florida sun can give you a nice tan. Especially for those who decide to sit in the bleachers, they will really feel the heat over the weekend.
However, this is not the first T20I match here. In 2010 New Zealand and Sri Lanka played two matches T20I series here which was the first international series played in the USA and that was a flop.
The quality of the pitch was poor and only 3000 spectators attended the games. But, in 2012 when West Indie took on New Zealand, the matches wee a huge hit with the presence of stars like Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy, and Kieron Pollard attracting fans. The Stadium was filled to capacity on both days and people actually scrambled for tickets. The poor pitches had also improved and there was no lack of entertainment from the West Indians, who won both games by big margins.
This current is expected to provide some good entertainment as suggested by members of both the teams in the countdown to the weekend. India has flown in MS Dhoni , their superstar limited overs captain, while much of the team that toured West Indies for the Test series has been retained. Jasprit Bumrah is the only other player drafted in specifically for this series.
The boundaries are rather short and that alone should give West Indies batsmen like Carlos Brathwaite, Marlon Samuels a huge boost.
The crowd will be overwhelmingly Indian, but watch out for the Guyanese and Jamaican expatriates, who are likely to come in numbers as well.
However, there is a threat of some of the scattered thundershowers over the weekend and there is a tropical disturbance in the Atlantic.
In Florida, there will be a flavor of Carribean cricket. The loud music will be blaring, the drinks will be flowing and the cricket ball will be flying all over the Central Broward Regional Park.