New Zealand confirm historic US T20 series
The New Zealand Cricket Board has confirmed they will play an historic three game Twenty20 International series against Sri Lanka in the United States in May.
The three game series, the to be played by full International Cricket Council (ICC) members in America will be played at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium in Lauderhill, Florida starting with a day night game on Thursday May 20th 2010.
The two teams will then go head to head during two afternoon games on Saturday, May 22nd and Sunday May 23rd at the 20,000 capacity stadium, the only ICC approved cricket facility in North America.
With an estimated 15 million cricket fans in the United States the three game series marks the beginning of USA Cricketís attempts to established a larger fans base in North America.
The three game series is part of a strategic partnership between New Zealand Cricket and USA Cricket to promote the sport in the region.
"We believe that in order to grow the game of cricket in the USA - we need to have the best teams in the world play in our country," USA Cricket CEO, Donald Lockerbie.
Despite Football, basketball and baseball traditionally being the biggest sports in the United Sates Lockerbie believes Twenty20 cricket will prove a hit with the American public.
"We want to demonstrate to the American public just how exciting the T20 format is. Cricket is already popular here but has lacked major media coverage. This inaugural series is the first step to reverse this situation," He said.
Itís a view shared by USA Cricket President Gladstone Dainty who believes the three game series will be the first steps in creating a significant interest in the sport in America.
"The historic event will provide great exposure for cricket with some of the world's top players will be on show here," Dainty said.
"USA Cricket has worked hard to bring this event about and we are very excited about the potential impact of this series for the growth and development of cricket in the United States".
The three game series takeís place just under a week after the Twenty20 World Cup finishes in the Caribbean and with the Kiwis and Sri Lankans amongst the favorites to win the tournament the games in Lauderhill could be a repeat of the World Cup final.
Justin Vaughan, New Zealand Cricket CEO was excited with the role New Zealand could play in promoting cricket in the United States with these annual seriesí.
"We have the experience and capacity to help develop the game of cricket in the USA. We are looking at ways of helping USA Cricket grow the game both professionally and at the grassroots, Vaughan said.
"This T20 series is the first of many initiatives between our two cricket boards and we envisage the Black Caps playing in the USA on an annual basis."
The three game series in May wonít be the first time that the United Sates has made cricketing history; back in 1844 the US played Canada in the first ever international cricket match which Canada won by 23 runs at the St George's Cricket Club in Bloomingdale Park New York.