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India Vs. West Indies T20 cricket series set to take place in Miami

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Ajinkya Rahane of India hits during a recent cricket match against the West Indies in St. Lucia. (RANDY BROOKS/AFP/Getty Images)

Ajinkya Rahane of India hits during a recent cricket match against the West Indies in St. Lucia. (RANDY BROOKS/AFP/Getty Images)

MIAMI (Diya TV) — One of India’s most storied cricket franchises have arrived stateside in an effort to popularize the sport on U.S. soil — the squad will square off in a match against West Indies, the current T20 champions.

The occasion marks the first time competitive international cricket has been played in the U.S., an initiative put forth by the collaborative efforts of India’s Board of Cricket Control and the West Indies Cricket Board.

India-West Indies is a world-class match-up, and local cricket aficionados are hopeful this weekend’s games are indicative that baseball’s older cousin is gaining a foothold in South Florida’s crowded sports scene.

“If you’re a cricket fan, this is what you dream of watching, especially if you are a resident of the United States. You rarely get games of this nature outside of the cricketing nations,” said Jamaican-born Mark Johnson, a long-time Broward County resident who played for the U.S. national team. “People from around the world will be tuned in just to see the guys that they see on TV day to day. We’ll be able to see them live in person.”

India, who recently emerged victorious in a set against West Indies in the Caribbean in Test cricket, the purest form of the game, are currently ranked No. 2 behind New Zealand in T20. Despite their reigning champion status, West Indies are ranked No. 3.

Unlike Test cricket matches, which can sometimes last for days at a time, T20 matches are contested in roughly three hours.

“India is like a rock a star of cricket. It’s a unique opportunity,” said Rizwan Mohammed, of Parkland, who grew up playing the game in his native India and at 49 still competes in a South Florida league. “I’ve been living in this country for 28 years and it’s the first time that I’ve had the opportunity for the rock star to come play in front of you.”

On their day off, the Indian Cricket Team decided to test their skills in a more popular American sport — basketball.

With the NBA’s Miami Heat playing host, members of the cricket team — Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar — participated in a shoot-around with Tyler Johnson and Briante Weber of the Heat.

“It was great to see these guys and learn about their game. I was impressed with the facilities here and it was a learning experience for me to see the amount of technology being used in sports science,” Kumar said.

Shikhar Dhawan (right), Ravichandran Ashwin (centre) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (left) at Miami Heats' home ground.

Shikhar Dhawan (right), Ravichandran Ashwin (centre) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (left) at Miami Heats’ home ground.

 

They were taken around the locker room, gymnasium and the recuperation center before indulging in a brief bout of play between the five of them.

Shikhar and Bhuvneshwar were chatting up with the hosts, while Ashwin seemed to have gone back to his school days of playing basketball.

“I’ve played a bit of Basketball during my school days so that got me really excited while I tried my hand again after so many years. I am thankful to both Weber and Johnson for taking time out and showing us around their home turf,” Ashwin said.

Believe it or not, there are a surplus of ex-pats from cricket-playing nations in South Florida who get the appeal. For U.S.-bred sports fans, cricket is largely an enigma with recognition limited to the game being sort of like baseball.

While soccer is widely observed as the undisputed sport of the world, cricket often ranks second or third of the lists of most nations, ahead or after basketball. Cricket itself is deeply rooted in the sports history and fabric of the U.S. as well — the sport’s very first international contest was played between the U.S. and Canada in the 1800s.

That match, in Manhattan, N.Y., in 1844, is recognized as the first sporting competition between nations in modern times by various sources, including the Smithsonian, more than 50 years before the rebirth of the Olympics. There were about 10,000 spectators with considerable wagering on the outcome. The U.S. won 165-42.

Further, evidence exists to suggest cricket was played in Colonial America as early as the 1700s. It was a popular game among the troops at Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War, there even exist accounts of George Washington himself being a cricketer.

The preference didn’t turn to baseball until after the Civil War, cricket took hold elsewhere, mainly in places with historical ties to the British Empire.

The principals of cricket are simple — score runs by batting the ball. The ball, which is pitched or bowled on a bounce, moves toward a batter at the same speed an MLB pitcher hurls. Instead of four bases there are two wickets bracketing a rectangular 22-yard-long dirt pitch at the center of an oval ground.

The 11 fielders on defense have a multitude of options to get batters out, including striking the wicket behind the batsman with a bowled ball or catching a batted ball on the fly. The batsman remains in his position until he’s retired, or dismissed, and as displayed by the match between the U.S. and Canada, runs can accumulate quickly if he or she gets on a roll.

The International Cricket Council aren’t sure what to expect by bringing the game to the U.S., however, they hope to grow the game in the States regardless. Evolution for USA Cricket faces several hurdles as the team was suspended by the ICC more than a year ago. Although allegations of wrongdoing have not been substantiated, the sanction has not been lifted.

Cricket

Modi to visit New York City, Houston in September

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Modi Houston New York

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be returning to the United States to attend a United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York. And then will take a day to visit Houston for the first time, where an event for him to connect with the diaspora is being planned.

A series of racially-charged tweets by President Trump directed at four minority female members of Congress received near universal condemnation by Democrats. Mr. Trump in the tweet said these members should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Three of the four women Trump targeted were born in the United States.

In an epic championship match, England defeated New Zealand to become the World Champions for the first time in cricket history.

And in an another amazing contest — the top two seeds and tennis legends Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer played the first-ever five set tiebreaker in a major Grand Slam. It was the longest match ever played at Wimbledon and Djokovic edged Federer in that tiebreaker to win his fifth Wimbledon championship.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Business

New Zealand eliminates India in cricket World Cup

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New Zealand wins Cricket

MANCHESTER, England (Diya TV) — After a rain delay stopped play between New Zealand and India, when play resumed, the Kiwis held on to win by 18 runs, knocking India out of the Cricket World Cup. It’s on to the championship round for New Zealand.

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided an Indian restaurant in Washington DC, detaining several employees.

Airbnb, the Silicon Valley couchsurfing startup turned hospitality behemoth, says they made a direct economic impact of around $150 million in India in 2018.

Indian Airbnb hosts collectively made almost $28 million and welcomed nearly 800,000 guests last year. 

Chennai-based speech recognition startup, Uniphore Software Systems, raised $38 million as part of its Series C round. They’ve received funding from California venture capital firm March Capital Partners and former Cisco CEO John Chambers. 

And Indo-Australian Priya Serrao was crowned Miss Universe Australia 2019.

The 26-year-old policy advisor from the state of Victoria said she will use her new platform to promote multiculturalism. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Basketball

Indian American family of four killed at home in Iowa

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Iowa Family killed

DES MOINES (Diya TV) — Investigators in Des Moines, Iowa say the Sunkara family, an Indian American family of four, were found dead in their home over the weekend. All four had gunshot wounds. There is no suspect in custody.

The 5th International Day of Yoga (IDY) was celebrated around the world this weekend. Thousands flocked to the Washington Monument in Washington DC, where yoga enthusiasts of all ages took part in the event, including representatives from the White House, US Department of State and the Ambassadors of Nepal, Mauritius and Myanmar.

The alums of the Indian Institutes of Technology gathered in Silicon Valley for their annual conference, featuring talks by Microsoft Chairman John Thompson and Bhavish Aggarwal, the CEO of Ola Cabs.

India is now 7-0 against Pakistan in Cricket World Cup games, after winning by 89 runs in a match interrupted by rain.

And we spoke to Toronto Raptors Superfan Nav Bhatia after his team won their first NBA title. Nav told our Ravi Kapur exclusively he will part of the championship parade and even received a ring from the owner.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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