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Central Broward Regional Park, Lauderhill set to host first ODIs on USA soil

Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida is the only ICC ODI accredited venue in the USA Peter Della Penna

USA's first round of ODIs against Namibia and Papua New Guinea, as part of the new Cricket World Cup League Two structure, are set to be hosted at the Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, beginning from September 13. These ODIs had been originally designated to be played in North Carolina. A USA Cricket board member corroborated the match schedule outline including the change of venue to Lauderhill. These games will be the first ODIs ever played on American soil by any team, making USA the 32nd country to host ODI cricket.

ESPNcricinfo had reported last month that the ODI matches had been pulled from Church Street Park in the Raleigh suburb of Morrisville after the ICC had announced in May that the venue would host these games. Woodley Park in Los Angeles and an under-construction venue at Morgan Hill, California in the Silicon Valley became the frontrunners to land the hosting gig for USA's first home ODIs.

However, the new turf venue at Morgan Hill - which is being paid for by American Cricket Enterprises (ACE) - will not be ready in time. Meanwhile, Woodley Park's recent investment upgrades from ACE funding were not enough to have the venue receive ODI ground accreditation from the ICC in time to host matches in September.

The result is that, in spite of September being the height of the south Florida tropical storm season, the Central Broward Regional Park turned into the default host option due to its ODI ground status listing, which it received from the ICC upon opening in 2008. Despite having had ODI status for more than a decade, the ground has never actually hosted an official ODI. Sunday's 2nd T20I between India and West Indies will be the ground's 10th T20I match since the inaugural T20I was played between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in May 2010.

Multiple sources, however, confirmed that USA Cricket has begun moving forward with plans to host the round of six ODIs at the venue. Sources have also stated that the matches were pushed back a week from their originally announced dates of September 7-14.

A request was made by USA Cricket to both Cricket PNG and Cricket Namibia during the ICC Annual Conference in London last month to push the series back a week due to venue availability issues in Lauderhill, with other vendors having rented out the facility in the week prior. According to a USA Cricket source, the series will now start on Friday, September 13 with USA's first home ODI to be played against Papua New Guinea.

Namibia are not scheduled to arrive from a training camp in South Africa until September 15, meaning the next match in the tri-series will not take place until September 17, when USA take on Namibia. The home side are then penciled in to play back-to-back ODIs on September 19 & 20 against both visiting sides to accommodate USA Cricket's original plans for the squad to leave on September 21 for an extended training camp at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, in preparation for the T20 World Cup Qualifier in the UAE beginning on October 11.

Namibia and PNG, meanwhile, will play back-to-back ODIs in Lauderhill after USA's departure to round off the scheduled series. The ODI series dates have been sent to the ICC for confirmation but are expected to be rubber-stamped with all parties in agreement. The two visiting countries also have tentative plans to play one or two T20Is at the Florida venue after the ODI series, as part of their own preparations for the T20 World Cup Qualifier, before flying back home.

USA have played only three ODIs so far. The first two came at the 2004 Champions Trophy in England, where they suffered heavy defeats to Australia and New Zealand. Their third and most recent ODI came this past April in the third place playoff match at ICC World Cricket League Division Two in Namibia. After securing a top-four finish in the league stage, USA's playoff match with Papua New Guinea was given ODI status. Despite having beaten PNG by 10 wickets in a non-ODI in the league stage, USA lost the playoff by five wickets.