Fort Lauderdale (Florida): West Indies cricket team manager Richie Richardson said the under-fire Caribbean side was anxious to rebound from their wretched tour of England by beating New Zealand in the two-match Twenty20 series here over the weekend.
West Indies failed to beat England in a single match on a tough two-month tour, which ended Sunday, but Richardson said there was a hunger in the side to make amends.
"There`s lots of sunshine here 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 as it did in England, so I think the guys will relish conditions here. It`s a little bit humid but it`s what we`re accustomed to," Richardson, a former West Indies captain, said on Wednesday.
West Indies face New Zealand in the first T20 Saturday at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium before playing the second fixture the following day at the same venue.
West Indies will thus play a bilateral 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 they still 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 USD 70 million, the stadium was opened five years ago and hosted its first international matches when New Zealand and Sri Lanka met in a similar T20 double-header 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.