India-West Indies could play a T20 series in the US
According to a report in the Indian Express, India is likely to play a short T20 series against the West Indies in America during the last few weeks of August. The BCCI declared that they are keen to play three T20 games in Florida at Central Broward Regional Park at Lauderhill. The stadium, reportedly a $70 million facility, is currently scheduled to host the final group-games of the ongoing Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
While the BCCI President Anurag Thakur was unavailable for his comment, Indian Express reported that other official sources have confirmed that they are on their way to make this series happen. Meetings to finalise the schedule are set to take place at Lauderhill during the course of the week. That said, it is still unclear if this Indo-West Indies T20 series will be a bilateral series alone as an alternative tri-series involving Bangladesh is also being considered.
“West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) officials will be meeting in Florida to sort it out. We are just waiting for the green signal. It’s amber already, you can say. The matches will likely be played over the last weekend of August. It will be peak summer in Florida, and it will be a spectacle. However, there is a slight chance of Bangladesh being invited as the third team for a tri-series,” said the source.
If all goes per plan, MS Dhoni and co are all set to play international cricket for the first time on American soil. Considering the fact that the Indian team currently touring the West Indies was picked with the test series in mind, a different team would be fielded in. The Test team would then return home per schedule and the BCCI will fly out a specialist T20 team on receipt of the confirmation.
BCCI had a plan to organize a mini-IPL overseas which they had to call off due to lack of time and decided to focus instead on this short T20 series in Lauderhill. Sources added that, “since the BCCI had to call off the mini-IPL, it’s understandable that they are keen on taking cricket to the USA, and this is a great chance to sell this series as a contest between heavyweights India and world champions West Indies, who only a few months ago met in a dramatic World T20 semifinal. Considering that Florida houses a huge number of Indian and West Indian expats, if this series does happen, we could well be looking at this becoming an annual fixture”.
Last year, cricket fans in the US packed baseball arenas in New York, Los Angeles and Houston to witness legends like Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne in an All Stars series to promote the game in the region. The Central Broward Regional Park has previously hosted international teams. The Kiwis played Sri Lanka in a two-match here series in 2010 and the games drew capacity crowds.