Several cricketing icons, including master blaster Sachin Tendulkar and Australian spin wizard Shane Warne will play three Twenty20 matches in the United States in November in a an effort to popularise the game there.
More than two dozen of the world’s most famous cricket players will play matches at three big-league baseball stadiums -- at Citi Field in New York on November 7, Minute Maid Park in Houston on November 11, and Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium on November 14, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. “We want to leave an impression behind. That’s what we are here for -- to entertain people, to leave great memories behind and get them excited about some quality cricket,” Tendulkar was quoted as saying by the daily.
Other participating players include Pakistan’s Wasim Akram, West Indies’ Brian Lara, South Africa’s Jacques Kallis, England’s Michael Vaughan and Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene.
Brian Bedol, a sports television executive and investor in the event, called the ‘Cricket All-Star Series’, likened it to Pele’s arrival in the US in the 1970s, or “if you had LeBron (James) and Michael Jordan doing a tour of Europe for the first time.
“They’re past their prime but for the old timers it’ll be fun to watch them,” Kumar Balakrishnan, an officer in the Staten Island Cricket Club was quoted as saying.
The event has been organised by Leverage Agency, the sports and entertainment firm. “You’re not sitting there for a day or two. It’s going to be a fast-paced event with a lot of runs,” said Leverage Agency’s CEO Ben Sturner.
Three baseball stadiums are being converted into a cricket stadium for the purpose. With the help of a pitch specialist from New Zealand, the elements of the pitch are being crafted in Indianapolis and will be trucked to the stadiums, the report said.
Warne said all these games would be highly competitive. “To make history in America playing these cricket games -- myself and Sachin walking out and tossing the coin in New York at Citi Field will be a pretty epic moment,” he said.