FORT LAUNDERDALE, Florida (CMC) — West Indies team manager Richie Richardson said yesterday the under-fire Caribbean side was anxious to rebound from their wretched tour of England by beating New Zealand in the two-march Twenty20 series at the weekend.
The Windies failed to beat England in a single match on a tough two-month tour which ended last Sunday, but Richardson said there was a hunger in the side to make amends.
"There's lots of sunshine so the guys are going to enjoy that. We're accustomed to the sun on our backs. I don't believe the ball is going to move around as much, so I think the guys will relish conditions here. It's a little bit humid but it's what we're accustomed to," said Richardson, a former West Indies captain.
"The guys obviously having lost in England, they're geed up and want to prove they can play cricket and certainly we believe we can beat New Zealand so we're going to be working really, really hard to beat New Zealand."
West Indies face New Zealand in the first T20 on Saturday at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium before playing the second fixture the following day at the same venue.
The matches represent the first time the Windies will play fixtures in a bi-lateral series outside the Caribbean and Richardson says the team was upbeat about the prospect of playing before the large Caribbean diaspora in the Sunshine State.
"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 their have West Indies in their hearts," said Richardson.
"As a team we really appreciate the kind words and we really want to win for them this weekend.
"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."
Constructed at a cost of US$70 million, the stadium was opened five years ago and hosted its first ever international matches when New Zealand and Sri Lanka met in a similar T20 doubleheader two years ago.
Richardson, who played in a celebrity tournament at the venue in 2008, praised the facilities and said the team was looking forward to getting on to the pitch.
"It is great to see the game coming to America. 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," he said.
"It 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 and 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."