Agreement for 'aggressive expansion' in North America May 11, 2006

India and West Indies to play in USA

Cricinfo staff

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has announced that it has signed an agreement with the Indian board which will see the two countries work together to exploit the lucrative US market. The USA is home to more than 10 million expats, many from the subcontinent and the Caribbean, of which more than 200,000 are said to be dollar millionaires.

The WICB said that the first major project would be to host three to five one-day internationals in the USA and Canada in August and September. These will be outside the Future Tour Program unveiled earlier this week, and as that shows India are already committed to a tri-series in Sri Lanka in the first half of August, the likelihood is that this will be in Septmeber. That is sure to attract comment as several of India's players have expressed concern over player burnout and September provides some rare time off for them ahead of a chaotic year.

The series comes almost immediately after India complete a four-Test, five-ODI tour of the Caribbean which starts this weekend.

It is also unclear how the USA Cricket Association will react to the news, as officially they should have control over matches played on their soil. Although Ken Gordon, the WICB president, was in Florida last month to meet with USACA officials, it is not thought that anything was agreed, although a spokesman for the USACA stated that it had been "kept fully abreast throughout the negotiating process" and that it was "extremely excited that these two entities have decided to engage each other in North America".

What is beyond doubt is that the WICB, which has massive debts, needs the income these games will generate, and the press release makes that clear. "Because of current financial difficulties, India will fund this project on the understanding that it will be repaid out of the West Indies' share of the profits of the series."

This is, according to the WICB, the first of a number of joint projects, which include "the opening of the multi-complex stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and the aggressive expansion of cricket in North America."