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Cricket World Cup comes to New York, Dallas - and Lauderhill

A man holding a cricket bat stands in front of a giant cricket ball on a sidewalk.
Carline Jean
South Florida Sun Sentinel
Cricket player Aaron Jones poses for pictures in front of a 400-pound, 8-foot tall replica of the ICC T20 World Cup cricket ball during a celebration to the countdown to the start of cricket season at Las Olas Oceanside Park in Fort Lauderdale on Friday, February 23, 2024.

For the first time ever, the U.S. will host matches for the T20 Cricket World Cup this summer — and the four South Florida fixtures won’t be held in Miami or Fort Lauderdale, but rather in Lauderhill, where the community has embraced the game.

Buoyed by a large Caribbean and South Asian population, Lauderhill has become a significant international player in the sport.

In 2010, Broward County Stadium, located at Central Broward Park in the city, was awarded International Cricket Council (ICC) accreditation — the first in North America. And now the city will have its first chance to shine on an international stage.

Promotional poster for the T20 Cricket World Cup.
Promotional poster for the T20 Cricket World Cup.

Alongside Dallas and New York, the city — with a population of 75,000 — will host the U.S.-based matches of this year's edition of the biennial international tournament, in which teams representing nations from across the world play under the popular Twenty20 rules — a shortened version of cricket.

Among the teams set to play in Lauderhill are cricket powerhouse India and Team USA.

The World Cup is being shared between the US and a number of countries in and around the Caribbean, with games also being held in Barbados, Antigua, Guyana and other nations. Broward County Stadium is currently undergoing $8.4 million in renovations to prepare for the global event.

READ MORE: Sundays Are For Cricket Culture In Broward County

The sport historically associated with Lauderhill isn’t cricket, but golf.

From 1972 to 1980, the Inverrary Country Club hosted the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic, which used Gleason’s star to attract golf stars and celebrities. Today that tournament is known as the Honda Classic. The course also hosted the 1976 Tournament Players Championship, won by Jack Nicklaus. In addition the LPGA hosted tour events at the course in the early 90s.

But the Inverrary Country Club permanently shut its doors in 2020, due to a decline in popularity. As its overgrown fairways and dilapidated club house await redevelopment, cricket has become the city’s pastime.

For weekend warriors, cricket is played informally at a number of parks in Broward including Cental Broward Park, Lauderhill Sports Park, Miramar Regional Park and Tradewinds Park.

There are also formal leagues that host tournaments throughout the year including The South Florida Cricket Alliance, Gold Coast Cricket League and the South Florida Premier League, as well as Minor League Cricket — a developmental league for the newly launched Major League Cricket.

“We have about seven to 10 grounds where we are playing on a weekly basis every Sunday excluding holidays,” said Zach Sattaur, 31, who learned the game from his father and won the South Florida Premier League with BCC Ignite this month. “We are grateful we’re able to have cricket year-round… cricket is a rapidly growing sport.”

The impact of that growth can be seen at Lauderhill Sports Park, where the baseball diamond has been completely retrofitted. Cricket boundary lines bisect the foul lines, an electronic scoreboard that counts wickets and overs hangs below a traditional baseball scoreboard, and just beyond second base lies a cricket pitch.

“Oh no,” laughs Sattaur, “I’ve never seen anyone play baseball there.”

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Currently the park is hosting its 20th annual T20 Night Cricket Tournament, where locals represent their home countries every Saturday from March 9 until May 18.

The venue has hosted a number of international matches since 2010 — and the atmosphere as well as the economic impact has been significant for the city.

“It is gonna be a huge party, whenever there's a matchup they’re attracting people,” said Lorena Ledesma, a former Lauderhill Development Coordinator. “Not only locally but people are traveling from across the country at the very least and definitely from the Caribbean.”

Team USA will come to Lauderhill

The city will hope to capitalize on the attention from the World Cup this June.

The T20 Cricket World Cup matchups to be held in Lauderhill are as follows:

  • June 11 - Sri Lanka vs. Nepal
  • June 14 - USA vs Ireland
  • June 15 - Canada vs India
  • June 16- Pakistan vs Ireland

The USA qualified for the tournament as a host nation, and they are not expected to be contenders in this tournament.
While the USA match with the most international attention will be when they play tournament favorites India for the first time ever in New York, its match against Ireland in Lauderhill could be the best chance for an upset win for the home team.

That match will be particularly special for U.S. batsman Steven Taylor. Taylor grew up playing in the local leagues and tournaments in the city and now has a chance to have his homecoming match on the sport's biggest stage.

The story was originally published by Caplin News, a publication of FIU's Lee Caplin School of Journalism & Media, as part of an editorial content partnership with the WLRN newsroom.

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