Final stadium preparations ahead of the T20 World Cup cricket...

Final stadium preparations ahead of the T20 World Cup cricket tournament at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow on Friday. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The pitch is in place. The wickets are in the ground and the creases fully marked. 

It's time to play … cricket.

For the first time in the sport's history, cricket's T20 World Cup — the second-most viewed team competition on the planet, behind soccer's World Cup — has come to East Meadow's Eisenhower Park. The 12-day international tournament begins with Saturday’s warm-up match between India and Bangladesh. 

As organizers scramble to put the finishing pieces of the event in place, law enforcement has beefed up patrols around the venue and closed multiple roads around the park.

“We have been planning for this for a very long time,” Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said Friday in Uniondale. “We've had two to three meetings a week. We've had so many issues we had to address and I think we've done it. All of our people are ready … We've left no stone unturned.”

On Friday, construction crews were putting the finishing touches on the exterior of the temporary 34,000-seat stadium, installing black drapery on the rear of the scaffolding. T20 World Cup banners and logos surround the stadium and are scattered throughout the park, from the entrances to restrooms.

Meanwhile, players from across the globe began practicing at Cantiague Park in Hicksville on Friday, along with other county facilities, Blakeman said.

In a statement, Brett Jones, chief executive of T20 USA, said Saturday's warm-up match — the only such contest in the United States open to the public — is designed to test the operations of the venue and “identify areas that need to evolve ahead of Monday’s opening match. We’re excited about the opportunity to welcome people into the venue for the first time and look forward to making any changes necessary to ensure a great experience by our fans and guests throughout the tournament.”

Inside the stadium, law enforcement joined with tournament officials Friday as they went through “tabletop exercises” in advance of the arrival of fans, Blakeman said. The meetings, he said, covered everything from parking and food deliveries to the triage center and security concerns.

Safety and security concerns were elevated this week when a threatening image, purportedly released by a group that supports the Islamic State terrorist group, made reference to the “Nassau Stadium” and the date June 9 — the date of the highly anticipated match between India and Pakistan.

Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said this week that 100 additional officers will patrol the county during the event, making the tournament “the largest security” operation in the county's history.

Eisenhower Park, which will host eight matches between Saturday and June 12, will be largely closed during the T20 World Cup, with the exception of one of its three golf courses and The Lannin restaurant.

Road closures, which include parts of Merrick Avenue and Charles Lindbergh Boulevard, are planned on match days, and law enforcement is advising anyone without a ticket to avoid the area.

Parking is available at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, with overflow parking at Nassau Community College. Shuttle service will run to Eisenhower Park's Aquatic Center.

Some Long Islanders who live near the park said they're excited for the event and taking the closures in stride.

“It's great. I'm all for it,” said Tom Hetherington of Salisbury. “… If everyone's having fun, that's what it's all about.”

Tom Gill of East Meadow said he'll miss his weekly Sunday bike ride to the park's Veterans Memorial but “otherwise it doesn't bother me. It's a great sport.”

With John Asbury

The pitch is in place. The wickets are in the ground and the creases fully marked. 

It's time to play … cricket.

For the first time in the sport's history, cricket's T20 World Cup — the second-most viewed team competition on the planet, behind soccer's World Cup — has come to East Meadow's Eisenhower Park. The 12-day international tournament begins with Saturday’s warm-up match between India and Bangladesh. 

As organizers scramble to put the finishing pieces of the event in place, law enforcement has beefed up patrols around the venue and closed multiple roads around the park.

“We have been planning for this for a very long time,” Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said Friday in Uniondale. “We've had two to three meetings a week. We've had so many issues we had to address and I think we've done it. All of our people are ready … We've left no stone unturned.”

On Friday, construction crews were putting the finishing touches on the exterior of the temporary 34,000-seat stadium, installing black drapery on the rear of the scaffolding. T20 World Cup banners and logos surround the stadium and are scattered throughout the park, from the entrances to restrooms.

Meanwhile, players from across the globe began practicing at Cantiague Park in Hicksville on Friday, along with other county facilities, Blakeman said.

In a statement, Brett Jones, chief executive of T20 USA, said Saturday's warm-up match — the only such contest in the United States open to the public — is designed to test the operations of the venue and “identify areas that need to evolve ahead of Monday’s opening match. We’re excited about the opportunity to welcome people into the venue for the first time and look forward to making any changes necessary to ensure a great experience by our fans and guests throughout the tournament.”

Inside the stadium, law enforcement joined with tournament officials Friday as they went through “tabletop exercises” in advance of the arrival of fans, Blakeman said. The meetings, he said, covered everything from parking and food deliveries to the triage center and security concerns.

Safety and security concerns were elevated this week when a threatening image, purportedly released by a group that supports the Islamic State terrorist group, made reference to the “Nassau Stadium” and the date June 9 — the date of the highly anticipated match between India and Pakistan.

Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said this week that 100 additional officers will patrol the county during the event, making the tournament “the largest security” operation in the county's history.

Eisenhower Park, which will host eight matches between Saturday and June 12, will be largely closed during the T20 World Cup, with the exception of one of its three golf courses and The Lannin restaurant.

Road closures, which include parts of Merrick Avenue and Charles Lindbergh Boulevard, are planned on match days, and law enforcement is advising anyone without a ticket to avoid the area.

Parking is available at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, with overflow parking at Nassau Community College. Shuttle service will run to Eisenhower Park's Aquatic Center.

Some Long Islanders who live near the park said they're excited for the event and taking the closures in stride.

“It's great. I'm all for it,” said Tom Hetherington of Salisbury. “… If everyone's having fun, that's what it's all about.”

Tom Gill of East Meadow said he'll miss his weekly Sunday bike ride to the park's Veterans Memorial but “otherwise it doesn't bother me. It's a great sport.”

With John Asbury

T20 World Cup schedule 
(all matches begin at 10:30 a.m.)

  • Saturday: Warm-up, India vs. Bangladesh
  • Monday: Sri Lanka vs. South Africa
  • Wednesday: India vs. Ireland
  • Friday: Canada vs. Ireland
  • June 8: Netherlands vs. South Africa
  • June 9: India vs. Pakistan
  • June 10: South Africa vs. Bangladesh
  • June 11: Pakistan vs. Canada
  • June 12: United States vs. India
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