India’s Captain Virat Kohli, head of the first of two T20Is against the West Indies in Florida, said the United States of America is an important market to open up as Cricket continues to expand its global footprint.
India will play two T20Is at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium in Florida against the West Indies, similar to their last appearance in the Caribbean in 2016.
Kohli said that international cricket is still emerging in the US, but hoped that interest in the game would interest not only the Asian diaspora but also other American communities in the sport on future visits.
“At the moment I think it’s all about getting people to watch the games,” Kohli said on the eve of the first T20I, which will take place on Saturday, August 3rd. “The more we come here and play, the more the game will be on everyone’s lips, people will talk about it.
“You see 15,000 to 20,000 people going to a place to see something, obviously it should be important. Hopefully, people will be more interested in the coming years. The local people in America, not just the Asian or West Indian community, but the entire community in general, will be more interested in the sport.
“I think T20 cricket, because of the length of the game, is something that can be understood and accepted in American culture, and it’s also quite entertaining, and I think the sport will be global in many ways and will be of great interest here . ” We hope that in the coming years we will have more tournaments and series where people just come in and start to understand the sport and just have fun like they do in any other sports event here. “
For the series itself, this game will mark the return of India after they made a heart-wrenching exit in the semi-finals of the 2019 Men’s ICC Cricket World Cup, in which they lost to runner-up New Zealand.
“The first few days after leaving the World Cup were quite difficult,” said Kohli. “Until the tournament is over, it was the worst feeling of the morning each time we woke up, then you do things throughout the day and get on with your life, we’re professionals, we’re making progress.” Each team has to continue.
A winning start for India in a low-scoring game!— ICC (@ICC) August 3, 2019
They beat the West Indies by four wickets, Ravindra Jadeja and Washington Sundar getting them over the line. pic.twitter.com/yEUR03ZdvE
“So we are fine with what happened at the World Cup yesterday, the field play and the short time we spent on the field was really good, everyone was excited and looking forward to just playing ‘just to be back on the field.’ I think that’s the best thing you can do as a team.
As for their goals once they are on the field, India is now aiming for the next major ICC event – the T20 World Championship in Australia next year, and Kohli saw this series as an opportunity for some youth, such as Rishabh Pant to profile themselves before the event, especially in the absence of seniors like MS Dhoni.
“It’s a great opportunity for someone like Rishabh Pant to really play a lot of international cricket, to showcase his credentials and really make the most of his potential at this stage,” said Kohli. “We know how much skill he has and we all want him to be a consistent performer.
“The experience of MS will always be a very crucial factor, but still some of these younger guys have a great chance ahead of them and they should just look forward to it.”