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Thursday, August 25, 2016

India to play West Indies in T20 at Lauderhill, Florida, USA

A casual search led to a photo of Team India members Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar visiting  the home of Miami Heat (three time champions of National Basketball Association) in U.S.A. on Thursday.   A report suggests that the trio  were hosted by the latest recruit of Miami Heat - Tyler Johnson as he gave them a walk through their locker room, team meeting room, gymnasium and recuperation centre at the American Airlines Arena.

Recall that in Apr 2016, on a Sunday -  much hyped World T20 finals 2016 – England once pushed to corner could muster and set up a target of 155.  Ordinary mortals talked about Chris Gayle and the new found hero Lendl Simmons.   After  17 WI were 118/6 – 38 required off 18 and it was only wishful thinking of any miracle happening ..  Marlon was still there and had been joined by a player who had been recently bought by DDR.  It boiled to 19 off the last – near impossible.   Ben Stokes to bowl it, a young player gaining a reputation as a reliable “death” bowler.  He was  faced  by Carlos Brathwaite, a tall muscular Barbadian, with long levers and a keen eye. It was six over backward square leg; over long-on; over long-off and one over wide long – on. 

History was made – the man, Allrounder Carlos Brathwaite, who has played only eight T20Is, has been appointed the new West Indies T20 captain for the two matches against India.  Darren Sammy, who led them to two World T20 titles, has cruelly been sacked and also left out of the 13-man squad.  India, which just won a series against West Indies in the Caribbean in Test cricket, the purest form of the game, is ranked second behind New Zealand in T20, the shortened format. West Indies is currently No. 3 despite being the reigning T20 world champion.  However, they have 3-2 against India in T20 Internationals.

Interestingly, the match is not played in any of the Caribbean grounds ! – the venue is at
Lauderhill,  a city in Broward County, Florida, United States. Florida,  (Spanish for "land of flowers") is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States,  bordered by Gulf of Mexico,  Alabama and Georgia, Atlantic Ocean, and  Straits of Florida and Cuba. Florida is the 22nd most extensive, the 3rd most populous, and the 8th most densely populated of the United States. Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida, and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States.  Since the first European contact was made in 1513 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León – who named it La Florida ([la floˈɾiða] "land of flowers") upon landing there in the Easter season, Pascua Florida – Florida was a challenge for the European colonial powers before it gained statehood in the United States in 1845. It was a principal location of the Seminole Wars against the Native Americans, and racial segregation after the American Civil War.

The 1st T20 between India and West Indies will be played at Lauderhill on 27th Aug and the 2nd on the next day.

The ground has seen some Cricket already.   Caribbean Premier League's maiden foray into playing on US soil was a chance for the sport to be revived at the Central Broward Regional Park (CBRP) in Lauderhill to combat the burgeoning presence of soccer at the facility. In some ways, the CPL accomplished this because, India agreed to play two Twenty20 Internationals against West Indies shortly after the league's conclusion. CPL officials have repeatedly said they are committed to coming back again.  However,  CPL has declined  to provide official attendance figures for the games in Florida. 

So how much of crowds come, might probably influence the Caribbean cricket further – it however is not going to be the first ever T20 at Lauderhill.  Way back in May 2010, New Zealand played 1st ever T20  at Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground, Lauderhill and won by 28 runs.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th Aug 2016.

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