New Zealand push to play Sri Lanka in USA

WELLINGTON, February 13, 2010 (AFP) – New Zealand is poised to lead the way into the potentially lucrative United States cricket market with confirmation Saturday that talks are underway to play Sri Lanka in Florida this year. A “strategic partnership” has been formed with USA Cricket which will be of commercial benefit to both parties, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive Justin Vaughan said.

He confirmed he was in discussions with Sri Lanka about playing a series of games between the New Zealand Blackcaps and Sri Lanka in Lauderhill in the sunshine state in May.

Vaughan stressed the games against Sri Lanka were not yet confirmed but was “optimistic” they would take place following the ICC World Twenty20 championship as New Zealand looked to attract new investment into the sport.

“It is widely accepted there is significant commercial opportunity for cricket within the USA market,” he said.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) and Pakistan are also exploring the possibility of staging games in the United States.

IPL chairman Lalit Modi held talks earlier this week with the chief executive of USA Cricket, Donald Lockerbie, to discuss taking the IPL to North America and allowing top American cric