West Indies Planning To Host India In Florida For T20s To Expand Sport In America
In July 2019 West Indies are planning to host India for 2 twenty20 cricket matches in Florida
Cricket is one of the most popular sports around the globe, especially in Asian countries. England invented the game and major non-Asian countries like New Zealand, Australia, West Indies and others play cricket. ICC has been keen to expand the game around the world and West Indies Cricket Board is making all possible efforts to do so.
In July 2019, just after ICC world cup, West Indies are planning to host India for two twenty20 cricket matches in Florida. Both countries played 2 T20Is at Lauderhill before in 2016. As a part of playing at least two matches in North America, WICB plans to host Men in Blue next year.
West Indies cricket CEO Jonny Grave told ESPNCRICINFO that board is keen to grow sport not only in America but also in Canada and other territories.
“There's full board support as part of our strategic plan over the next five years to bring regular games into the Americas. So not always talking about USA, we're talking about Canada and other parts to try to grow the sport. The whole ICC strategic plan is around growing the game and we're huge advocates of Associate cricket,” Grave told ESPNcricinfo.
Last time when Windies hosted India in Florida, the matches kicked off at 10:30 AM to match up Indian timings. Hence Grave mentioned that the match timings would match to India’s local time for not losing the viewership.
“We have to discuss that with sponsors and broadcast partners, but realistically when you're playing India in the Caribbean you have to play either very late at night or very early in the day. If you're playing India, the passion of the India fans, they'll turn up whether you play at 11am or 9pm at night,” he added.
Not only India, but also other major cricketing nations New Zealand (2020), South Africa (2020), Pakistan (2021) are due to play in United States as per FTP schedule for these teams. India will come back to USA again in 2022. England cricket team schedule to tour West Indies in 2019, hence Grave discussed the scenario of taking the game out of Caribbean region.
“England fans love coming to the Caribbean. Even though we have a big England tour of three Test matches, five ODIs and three T20Is, that would be a big decision to take matches out of the region, whereas the traveling India fan is [coming from the USA] and it's a growing market so it's less of a risk to our region to have the England games in the Caribbean and the India matches [in Florida].”
As per Jonny Grave, it is very difficult to open the doors for a new series or increasing games outside the Future Tour Programs when he was asked whether a tri-series could be arranged in USA involving India and Pakistan. West Indies are due to host Pakistan in United States as both nations’ cricket boards agreed to play T20Is series in Florida after Windies team’s tour to Pakistan in 2018.
It will be an interesting decision to see how people will get attracted to cricket when top countries play in un-popular cricketing regions like USA.