Auckland: The West Indies and New Zealand will go head to head in two Twenty20 Internationals on June 30 and July 1 at Lauderhill - a suburb of Fort Lauderdale in Florida. The matches are under the jurisdiction of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) but the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) is also taking a close interest.
They want to ensure the conditions, facilities and logistics at Lauderhill are better than the two-match experiment with Sri Lanka in May 2010, when crowds were tepid and the pitch failed to bounce and carry. New Zealand team manager Mike Sandle, security adviser Sam Dickason and players' association boss Heath Mills have just completed a 10-day scouting mission to Lauderhill.
Heavy rollers have hardened the wicket - the consensus is the bounce has improved. A New Zealand turf consultant may still be sent to ensure the pitch and outfield remain a good advertisement for cricket.
As background to the Florida fixtures, NZC has plans for a three-week franchised Twenty20 league, similar to the IPL, by 2013. It would have six teams, with Toronto, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and Fort Lauderdale as potential hosts.