USA hosts its first Twenty20 internationals
New Zealand will play three Twenty20s against Sri Lanka in the USA next month in an effort to spread the game into a new market. The series will be the first time full ICC members have played in the country and New Zealand are hoping to make annual visits following a partnership between New Zealand Cricket and USA Cricket.
The matches will occur in Lauderhill, Florida, which is about 30 miles from Miami, from May 20-23. There is an estimated 15 million cricket fans in the USA and Don Lockerbie, the USA Cricket chief executive, said the best teams in the world needed to play in the country for the game to grow.
"We want to demonstrate to the American public just how exciting the T20 format is," he said. "Cricket is already popular here but has lacked major media coverage. This inaugural series is the first step to reverse this situation."
Justin Vaughan, New Zealand Cricket's chief executive, said New Zealand wanted to develop the sport in the USA. "We are looking at ways of helping USA Cricket grow the game both professionally and at the grassroots," he said. "This T20 series is the first of many initiatives between our two cricket boards and we envisage the Black Caps playing in the USA on an annual basis."
Sri Lanka, who have promised to send their best team, and New Zealand will head to the USA following the World Twenty20, which starts next week in the Caribbean. The games are scheduled for May 20, 22 and 23 at the Central Broward County Regional Park Cricket Stadium. It has a capacity of 20,000 and is the only ICC-approved cricket stadium in North America.
"The historic event will provide great exposure for cricket with some of the world's top players on show here," Gladstone Dainty, USA Cricket's president, said. "USA Cricket has worked hard to bring this event about."