Fort Lauderdale (US): Impressed by the facilities at Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, the only ICC certified ODI standard stadium here, Indian coach Anil Kumble says the two T20 Internationals against West Indies is the start of a “new beginning” for cricket in the USA.
The future of cricket in the United States will in focus when India and the West Indies meet in the two matches, starting tomorrow.
Kumble said, “It’s a wonderful initiative and we are really looking forward to our matches here, it’s going to be a sell out. We know US, the expats and the huge Indian diaspora who want quality cricket to come to the US.
“We have played in the past in the West Indies and a lot of Indians come over from the US to watch us. So this is a great opportunity for all of them and I’m sure this is the start of a new beginning in the United States and I’m sure there will be a lot more of the Indian team in the US going forward.”
Kumble has been pleasantly surprised by the facilities here.
“I certainly didn’t expect the facilities to be as good as what it is in the United States,” Kumble said yesterday.
“I certainly felt that it could be a makeshift. I had heard about Florida and this ground, but very impressed with the facilities that we have seen today. It’s the first time that I’m seeing this ground and the wickets are good, ideal probably for a T20, and the practice facilities have been good, the outfield looks fantastic. So all in all, really impressed with the facilities here.”
This will be the first time India will be playing international matches in the USA.
The two-match series is going to be the first of what will develop into an annual event in the USA as part of ICC’s efforts to reach out to new markets and audiences.
The former India captain Kumble is happy with the success in the preceeding Test series and the team at his disposal.
“Of course the start (of coaching career) always makes it that much sweeter when you’ve had success and I can’t ask for a better set of players in terms of what I want from them,” he said.
“They are extremely committed, very disciplined and you tell them what you need and they are ready to put their hand up and do it.”
Kumble was excited to work alongside limited overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the first time in his capacity as coach.
“This is the first time that I’ll be working with MS, obviously we have played together over a long period of time and we had a chat yesterday and today as well. I’m really looking forward to working with him and the new set of boys like Bumrah who’s joined as well. I’ve worked with him in the IPL so it’s nice to be a part of the India dressing room again.”
Calling the shift from Tests to T20s mainly as a “mindset change”, Kumble was aware of the change they may see in their eighth-ranked opposition.
“West Indies has always been a tough side, they are the T20 world champions. About the shift that we need to make from Test cricket to T20, the West Indies players may not have to do that because some of them are coming straight from the CPL. They are quality cricketers and have shown consistently how good they are and we had a tough match in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup as well.
“In terms of the quality that we are going to encounter, we are aware of that. It’s going to be a challenge and I think the Indian team has done really well over the last six months as a T20 side as well so that’s something that we are looking forward to.