Windies players “at home” in America

Fort Lauderdale, Florida – Richie Richardson believes cricket in the United States could be in for “something special” this weekend when his West Indies face New Zealand to bowl off the Digicel Series. The former West Indies captain, now Team Manager, is expecting to see a lot of “familiar faces” in the crowd when the West Indies embark on their American journey.

The home side is feeling “quite at home” among West Indian fans in Florida as they prepare to face the Black Caps in back-to-back Twenty20 matches on Saturday and Sunday at the Central Broward Regional Park. The Windies arrived in the United States late on Monday from chilly London and had their first full training session on a hot Wednesday morning at the match venue.

Several West Indians who live in South Florida were on hand to see the team go through their paces under Head Coach Ottis Gibson. After the training session, Richardson said the team was relaxed and ready for this historic weekend.

“It is great to see the game coming to America. We are delighted to be here and as a team we are looking forward to the matches this weekend. In our camp everyone is geared up and excited. We have been very impressed with the facility - the practice pitches have been good, the outfield is in immaculate condition and the players are quite comfortable,” the former West Indies captain said.

“This is an ‘open’ stadium and that is good for the game as the crowd will be able to move around freely and enjoy the matches at the weekend. We are hearing that the tickets are going fast so we hope for a lot of runs and some good cricket as we try to boost the game in this part of the world.”

Richardson, a West Indies hero, played 86 Test matches and 224 One-Day Internationals in an outstanding career which spanned 1983 to 1996. He joined the West Indies as Team Manager in January 2011.

He noted that the players have interacted well with the fans and have felt the warmth and appreciated the well-wishes.

“There are a lot of West Indians here and they are backing us to do well. They have made their homes here in the United States and you can tell they have West Indies in their hearts. As a team we really appreciate the kind words and we really want to win for them this weekend,” Richardson said.

“People might not know it, but cricket is pretty big over here and this is a wonderful opportunity to win over more fans to West Indies cricket. This could be an added dimension to the game and could start something new.”

The West Indies will have another training session on Thursday morning.

West Indies:
Darren Sammy (captain), Samuel Badree, Dwayne Bravo, Johnson Charles, Fidel Edwards, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith
New Zealand: Ross Taylor (captain), Martin Guptill, Doug Bracewell, Dean Brownlie, Andrew Ellis, Daniel Flynn, Ronnie Hira, Tom Latham, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Rob Nicol, Jacob Oram, Tim Southee, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson

New Zealand to West Indies
Match schedule (All times local)
Digicel Twenty20 Series
30: 1st Digicel Twenty20 – Central Broward Regional Park, United States – 3 p.m.
1: 2nd Digicel Twenty20 – Central Broward Regional Park – 2 p.m.
Digicel One-day International Series
5: 1st Digicel ODI – Sabina Park, Jamaica – 9:30 a.m.
7: 2nd Digicel ODI – Sabina Park – 9:30 a.m.
11: 3rd Digicel ODI – Warner Park, St. Kitts – 9:30 a.m.
14: 4th Digicel ODI – Warner Park – 9:30 a.m.
16: 5th Digicel ODI – Warner Park – 9:30 a.m.
Tour match
20-22: West Indies-A vs New Zealand – Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, Antigua – 10 a.m.
Digicel Test Series
25-29: 1st Digicel Test – Vivian Richards Cricket Ground – 10 a.m.
2-6: 2nd Digicel Test – Sabina Park – 10 a.m.

Wed, 06/27/2012 - 14:13