New Zealand in West Indies 2012 June 28, 2012

Conditions big challenge for T20 weekend in US

ESPNcricinfo staff
Jacob Oram feels the pitch hasn't changed much from two years ago, which could mean more dull cricket in America

On May 22, 2010, cricket entered a truly foreign territory. Sri Lanka and New Zealand walked out to loud Punjabi music - Punjabi being a language used in India and Pakistan. After New Zealand won the toss, Angelo Mathews bowled the first international delivery in Florida, Kumar Sangakkara stood up to the stumps, and the first ball was short and failed to bounce higher than the knee.

International cricket's debut in America is remembered for the tacky lifeless surface that sucked all juice out of the two Twenty20 Internationals between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in May 2010. The pitch helped neither the batsmen nor the bowlers. "It was a dull and lifeless track which sucked the pace and bounce from the deliveries and made shot-making almost impossible," said ESPNcricinfo's report. "The ball stopped on the batmen, kept low, and was immensely hard to time. And it certainly wasn't the perfect advertisement for cricket in a foreign land."

The two T20Is produced first-innings scores of 120 and 81 by New Zealand. They defended 120 successfully, and comfortably.

Two years later, New Zealand, officially committed to spreading cricket in America, are back again, this time to play two T20Is against West Indies as the first leg of their full tour of the Caribbean. The presence of West Indies as one of the teams certainly promises a much bigger crowd owing to the population of Caribbean origin there, and also tangentially much more suitable choice of music to be played at the ground.

Yet the conditions remain the biggest concern before the weekend that will feature the back-to-back games. By all accounts, it's not the training facilities that are cause for concern at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground. Daniel Vettori, New Zealand's captain in 2010, acknowledged them back then, and in his diary, Andrew Ellis has written in the Dominion Post: "The training facilities at the ground have been improved from the Black Caps' last visit, which should give us an excellent preparation for the first game."

It's the actual pitch that should worry both the players and the fans that will turn up. Jacob Oram has already sounded warning bells. New Zealand Cricket had sent its leading curator Mark Perham to Florida to try to address the issue, and somehow breathe some life into the track. Oram didn't think much came of it. Fairfax News NZ quoted him as saying: "Apparently the pitch has improved, but what we've trained on is similar to the match wicket and still quite similar to when we were here two years ago."

Oram played one of the two T20Is two years ago. Overhead conditions, Oram said, were going to be a bit of a challenge too. "It's warm, very muggy and extremely breezy," he said. "While the West Indies will be able to see that, we've had the experience of playing in these conditions."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Masudur on June 30, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    Both team should start carefully as the pitch is new and condition also new.

  • Deepak on June 30, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    @SNIFFLEATHER - I bet you, who claims to be a big Test cricket fan, have never watched a Test match for 5 days without missing a single ball.

  • Ahmad on June 29, 2012, 21:19 GMT

    Gayle going to Get his Comeback to WI 100runs on this Pitch.

  • Dummy4 on June 29, 2012, 15:39 GMT

    Why not hold INDIAN PAKISTAN 20-20s and One dayers in USA? How many Indians and Pakistanis are there in USA? Common sense demands that we hold India Pakistan games there. But since when has using common sense been a virtue of the Officials? They keep overpriced tickets for World Cups (in West Indies in 2007) throwing out people who would otherwise have made full houses with music, BAN MUSIC and FOOD (which is tolerated by us in India for decades, but not others) keep UNAFFORDABLE 5 day tickets for Ganguly's last Test with no single day daily ticket available, etc. Best way to spread cricket in USA is to hold INDIA PAKISTAN GAMES not New Zealand West Indies or New Zealand Sri Lanka.

  • Mohammed on June 29, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    FIFA just received $1.2 billion from the US TV networks to televise 2 men's and 2 women's world cups. Think about this for a second: $1.2 billion for a low scoring sport that Americans allegedly dislike; a sport that is #5 at best in America's sports popularity ranking. Aside from the world cup rights, soccer makes another $200 mil or so annually in TV rights fees for other leagues and competitions. That's how big and lucrative this market is. If cricket can become half as popular as soccer has (and no reason it can't be if given an honest effort) ICC and every cricketing nations will benefit from the revenues immensely.

  • Anshuman on June 29, 2012, 9:12 GMT

    I was wondering if there is a way to blame IPL, BCCI and India for this :P

  • Dummy4 on June 29, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    I think that the T20 format will do good in the US and may draw a larger crowd for it will take the same time as a 9 innings Baseball game,The time has really arrived for I have always dream of The West Indies Team coming to America to play cricket and I must thank God I have lived to see this happen.

  • Dummy4 on June 29, 2012, 6:01 GMT

    hmmmm sounds like the spin bowlers will play a large role

    Ronnie Hira my bro, lets see you stand up!!

  • Anver on June 29, 2012, 4:34 GMT

    Cricket lovers will surely hate to see low scoring games, specially T20 games... if the pitches behaves like previous games, then something has to be done !!! This will also not benefit both teams before the WT20 !!!!

  • Gopi on June 28, 2012, 19:48 GMT

    @tusharkardile I...I forgot what I was going to say :)

  • No featured comments at the moment.