Hosts West Indies and India start their three-match T20 International series today (Saturday) at an offshore venue in Florida, Miami. Irrespective of the Caribbeans home team status, Virat Kohli-led India will feel more at home as a packed house is guaranteed at the Lauderhill, Florida.
Cricket fans of Indian origin from across the USA are congregating at the South-Eastern US State, which itself houses over one lakh Asians.
The 20,000-capacity Central Broward Regional Stadium in Lauderhill, Florida, will be a sea of blue with the Team India supporters all set to outnumber the “home team” fans.
Hotel rooms around the stadium are all sold out and Florida-bound flights from other major cities in the USA are almost full as expatriate Indian cricket fans, starved of LIVE quality cricket action, plan to fly in from different parts of the country. Those who woke up late are disappointed.
“We last week got a corporate hospitality offer to watch the two T20 Internationals in Florida. Our group of four friends was excited to watch the Indian cricket team live over the weekend in Florida. Unfortunately, we had to drop the plan as there were no hotels available in Florida and flights from Massachusetts are on a very high premium,” says Vivek Sharma, an Indian-origin businessman from Boston.
Official international cricket matches in the USA can only be played in Florida, Miami, as the Central Broward Regional Park remains United States’ only International Cricket Council-certified stadium.
The venue will also host the second T20I between the two teams tomorrow (Sunday).
This is the second occasion that West Indies will be hosting India at Lauderhill, Florida, for the T20 International Games. On their 2016 tour of the West Indies, the “hosts” had won their first game against India in Florida by a mere one run on August 27, 2016, with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni getting out off the last ball. Rain did not allow any result in the second game the next day.
The series will also have a strong presence of Indian brands for being the main sponsors. The list includes title sponsors MyTeam11, co-powered by sponsors Indian detergent brand Fena and automobile brand Fena, along with Hero Honda MotoCorp, Dalmia Cement and Shikar Pan masala.
India on the month-long tour of the West Indies will play three T20 Internationals, three One-Day Internationals and start their ICC World Test Championship campaign with the two-match series.