Big time cricket to visit US shores this month

 

India's Virat Kohli at the nets
India’s Virat Kohli at the nets

It’s time for globalisation of cricket as big time competitive cricket is set to hit the American coast late this month. The Indian cricket team for the first time will be playing international matches in the United Stated of America when it will take on reigning World Twenty20 champions West Indies in a two-match T20 International series in Florida.

Both the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) cleared the series after a meeting during the ongoing Test series between the two sides in West Indies.

MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli during a practice session
MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli during a practice session

The series got the green light from the International Cricket Council (ICC) too. The all-clear from the game’s governing body was important in light of American cricket governing body USACA’s current suspension from membership of the ICC.

But ICC chief executive David Richardson said: “The ICC has approved these matches because we believe they can play a significant role in the long term development of cricket in the USA and our ongoing efforts to unify the USA cricket community.

Virat Kohli speaks with his teammate Ravichandran Ashwin during a practice session
Virat Kohli speaks with his teammate Ravichandran Ashwin during a practice session

“Having the ICC World T20 Champions playing India in Florida will undoubtedly inspire both existing and new fans and players, but perhaps more importantly, the sanction fees will be invested into the ICC’s ongoing work to lay a sustainable foundation for the development of cricket in America.”

The two matches will be held in Central Broward Regional Park at Fort Lauderdale on August 27 and 28. It is the same venue where the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) matches had been held.

Keeping in mind the Indian TV audience back home, the matches will start at 7:30 pm Indian Standard Time (IST). With Mahendra Singh Dhonis and Virat Kohlis on one side and the Chris Gayles and Dwayne Bravos at the opposite end, the series is expected to draw the big Indian and Asian diaspora to the ground.

West Indies meet India in the US later this month
West Indies meet India in the US later this month

The great success as per as spectators’ presence on the grounds are concerned during last year’s Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne led Cricket All-Stars series, an exhibition T20 matches, might have pushed the BCCI to plan a competitive series there this time. The three-match series in 2015 were held at Citi Field, Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York City, Minute Maid Park, Houston and Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles.

BCCI president Anurag Thakur said, “As part of our continuous efforts to reach out to new markets and audiences, I am very happy to announce that Team India will play two T20Is against the current world champions West Indies in the United States.”

BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke added that “This initiative is path breaking in terms of the expansion of our great sport. It is our endeavour to make every possible effort to connect with fans in different parts of the world.”

Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli share a light moment
Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli share a light moment

WICB president Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron also backed the plan. “This will be a great initiative in our continued efforts to develop cricket in the Americas (North and South America) a very important market,” he stated.

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