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Brian Lara, Garfield Sobers among West Indies cricket legends set to visit South Florida

West Indies legend Brian Lara is one of many cricket stars who will participate in a banquet and exhibition match Jan. 24-25, 2015 in South Florida.
West Indies legend Brian Lara is one of many cricket stars who will participate in a banquet and exhibition match Jan. 24-25, 2015 in South Florida. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

An unprecedented gathering of West Indies cricket luminaries will take place in South Florida next week, featuring an exhibition match and charity banquet.

Former West Indies cricket star Lawrence Rowe – a South Florida resident for 30 years – is one of the organizers of the event, which will feature legends such as Brian Lara, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Wes Hall, Lance Gibbs, Andy Roberts, Gordon Greenidge, Alvin Kallicharran, Deryck Murray and Colin Croft.

The event kicks off with a “Dinner with the Legends” banquet Saturday (Jan. 24) in Margate that includes a performance by calypso legend Mighty Sparrow. The following day, a 30-over match will be played at Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill pitting a Legends team vs. a Cavaliers XI squad comprised of U.S.-based players. The match begins at 3 p.m.

Lara, who retired in 2007 as the all-time leading run-scorer in West Indies cricket history, will captain the Legends team. Other former West Indies players expected to participate in the event include Collis King, Faoud Bacchus, Nixon McClean, Wavell Hinds, Mervyn Dillon and Daren Ganga.

Some of the elder legends such as Sobers, 78, Hall, 77, and Gibbs, 80, will attend the banquet and match and will be available for photos and autographs.

“This is a perfect opportunity for people who followed West Indies cricket but never got a chance to meet some of these legends,” Rowe said. “It's very hard to assemble all these players in the same place. We don’t know how long a lot of these guys will be around.”

Central Broward Regional Park, located at State Road 7 (441) and Sunrise Boulevard, has the only cricket field in the United States that has been sanctioned by the International Cricket Council – the sport’s world governing body. Several matches have been held at the park since it opened in 2007, including two 20/20 matches between West Indies and New Zealand (June 30-July 1, 2012).

Tickets for the banquet are $150 per plate. For the match, prices are $15 for the grounds and $25 for the stands. Children 10 years old and under will be admitted free. Tickets are available via Eventbrite.com and at several locations in Miami-Dade and Broward (see list below).

Some proceeds from the weekend will be geared toward assisting former West Indies cricket players who are struggling physically or financially.

The West Indies cricket team dominated the sport internationally during the late 1970s and 1980s. Sobers, who retired in 1974 and was knighted the following year, is widely considered the best all-around player in the sport’s history. Lara gained international acclaim in the 1990s and 2000s for his prolific run-scoring, including a record 400 runs (not out) in a Test match against England in 2004.

West Indies Cricket Legends weekend

▪ When: Jan. 24-25, 2015.

▪ Where: Banquet 7 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 24) at South Florida Conference Center, 6101 NW 31 St., Margate; exhibition match 3 p.m. Sunday (Jan. 25) at Central Broward Regional Park, 3700 NW 11th Place, Lauderhill.

▪ Admission: $150 for banquet; exhibition match $15 (grounds) and $25 (stands).

▪ Tickets: Available via Eventbrite.com and at these locations – Miami-Dade: Blackberries Hair Salon, 736 NE 167 St., Miami, (305) 300-2876; Pot Jamaican Restaurant, 168 NE 167 St., Miami, (786) 234-4370. Broward: Joy’s Roti Delight, 1235 NW 40th Ave, Lauderhill, (954) 587-7684; Lucky City Restaurant, 5574 W. Sample Road, Margate, (954) 972-1880; Ram D Coconut Man, 711 State Road 7, Margate, (954) 935-5670; Donna’s Restaurant (two locations), 5434 N. University Drive, Lauderhill, (954) 578-6970 and 9017 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines, (954) 437-8070; Carl’s Seafood, 2934 N. State Road 7, Lauderdale Lakes, (954) 676-5700.

Information: Call 561-598-1229.