Brian Lara and a host of West Indies players will participate in two limited-overs invitational matches early next month at Brooklyn, New York. The matches are scheduled for July 8 and 9 at the Floyd Bennett Field, just days after West Indies wrap up their home series against India.
The side is expected to feature most of the current Test players including Wavell Hinds, Dwayne Smith and Rawl Lewis, and will face two United States teams which comprise a few former West Indies national and regional players.
For the first match, Steve Massiah will lead a side comprising Richard Staple, an ex-Jamaica national player, along with Lennox Crush and Kevin Darlington, both Guyanese national players and former Windward Islands batsman, Kester Sylvester.
The second will be led by Staple and includes the West Indies opening batsman, Devon Smith, former West Indies B cricketer, Sudesh Dhaniram, and the Guyanese duo of Vishal Nagamootoo & Darlington.
Orin Davidson, editor of Cricket International, a Brooklyn-based newspaper, was hopeful the organisers can set a good precedent for future such events in the United States. West Indies are due to play a three-match ODI series against India in the North America this September, but it is uncertain whether the venues at Florida, New York and New Jersey will be ready in time to host the event. The West Indies board are keen to hold the matches in America as they find the market more lucrative as opposed to playing in Asia, one of the alternatives.
"The success of the two games will set the standard for future visits here of international teams and provide a splendid opportunity for cricket to fast-track its development," Davidson told The Trinidad Guardian. "Apart from igniting an exposition of interest among the fans, the two games should provide a litmus test in our ability to host top-class international teams."