The BLACKCAPS realise the importance of putting on a spectacle for the American crowd in this weekend’s two Twenty20 matches, starting Saturday 30 June (Sunday 1 July NZ time).
With the tour of the West Indies beginning at Central Broward Regional Park in Florida, both teams will get the chance to showcase the sport in the USA and Nathan McCullum and the rest of the players are eager to do their part to give cricket as much exposure as possible.
“It’s a pretty big responsibility for us and the West Indies to put on a spectacle. We’re keen to do that and promote the game of cricket,” said McCullum.
“Getting locals along to the stadium and putting on a show for them can hopefully produce a little bit more interest and spread the word around the country and then it can take off from there.”
With a reported 15,000 tickets already sold across the two days, the matches promise to have an exciting atmosphere and be a positive introduction to those who are new to the game.
“I believe the grandstands have nearly sold out so there’s a lot of interest,” said BLACKCAPS Assistant Coach, Trent Woodhill.
“There’s a lot of expat West Indian’s, also expats from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India who have been showing their face at training, so there’s definitely a market here for cricket and we want to help it grow.”
It will be the second time ICC full-member nations compete in the USA after New Zealand and Sri Lanka played a landmark series in 2010. Since then significant investment has been made into improving the quality of the pitch, including the creation of a training block.
“The training wickets have been really good,” said Woodhill. “The bounce has been consistent and the quicks have been able to get the ball up a little bit which is a lot better than it was couple of years ago.
“The wicket looks good and that helps for putting on a show. When the conditions are good the players feel comfortable so I’m positive it will be a good for spectators.
After such a long time off many of the players are simply looking forward to getting back into the action.
“Everyone’s chomping at the bit to get out there,” said McCullum.
“Hopefully the enthusiasm will carry through and be consistent for the whole tour. It’s exciting and everyone’s looking forward to playing.”