To many cricket aficionados, the June 30 and July 1 Twenty20 internationals between New Zealand and West Indies might seem a couple of tame warm-up matches before a test series.

For New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and its investment partners in Cricket Holdings America, the success of those matches will be vital stepping stones to prove a United States cricket market exists.

The matches are under the jurisdiction of the West Indies Cricket Board but NZC is taking a close interest.

They want to ensure the conditions, facilities and logistics at Lauderhill - a suburb of the Florida city Fort Lauderdale - 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.

They also headed to other tour match venues in Jamaica, Antigua and St Kitts to ensure preparations are on track.

The trio have inspected the ICC-approved Lauderhill ground which has recruited a new curator from Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica, since the original 2010 visit.

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.

That also includes the development of decent practice wickets at the facility ahead of the Black Caps' six-week tour.

The Florida region is understood to include about 700,000 people of West Indian origin and a significant Sub-continental population.

Those are the demographics NZC and the WICB are looking to tap into for gate receipts.


The advance party also met local authorities to work through security risk assessments. In May 2010, it was a complicated problem.

The US government was wary of hosting the Sri Lanka team with the country's civil war between the Tamil Tigers and the government having ended a year previously. It resulted in budget blowouts.

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.