In his native India and beyond Tendulkar is the Michael Jordan, the Pele, the Wayne Gretzky of his sport, which just happens to be widely considered the second most popular in the globe. Since the 42-year-old retired from competitive cricket in 2013, he’s been on a mission to further expand the game’s imprint around the world. His next target: the United States.
Global cricket icons Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne headlined a star-studded lineup of renowned cricket players from around the world in the inaugural “Cricket All-Stars,” a three-game series in New York City, Houston and Los Angeles. The historic tour marks the first time these legends have played in the U.S., and also renews the famous rivalry between “Master Blaster” Tendulkar and “King of Spin” Warne.
More than 25,000 fans, mostly expats, flocked to New York’s Citi Field to witness a cricketing spectacle on a chilly Saturday afternoon. In an entertaining game that lasted a little over three hours, Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar’s Blasters took on Australian balling legend Shane Warne’s Warriors. Though their average age was above 35, the legends did not disappoint. From Waseem Akram’s inswing, Akhtar’s pace and Murali’s doosra to Sachin’s straight drive, Ponting’s flick, Sehwag’s sixes, Warne’s googly and Johnty Rhodes’ fielding antics, the game had it all. It was a feast for an average cricket follower in America who is deprived of watching live, quality cricket.
Spin wizard Shane Warne had a great day as he took three wickets and his Warriors easily overcame the challenge of scoring 140 runs in 20 overs. The Warriors scored 141 in 17.2 overs, thanks to former Australian captain Ricky Ponting’s 48 not out. He hit three sixes and fours in his 38 ball innings for the Warriors.
For the Blasters, Indian batsman Virender Sehwag top scored with 55 runs in 22 balls. He hit six sixes and three fours.
Warne was thrilled to play in front of thousands of his fans who had packed a baseball stadium in New York. “It was a pretty amazing day,” he said.
“The whole idea of Cricket All Stars is to get as many people from different countries to enjoy it, to globalize cricket,” Tendulkar said. The Indian batting legend felt that the atmosphere was as electrifying as the Mets baseball game he’d witnessed a few days ago.
The “Cricket All-Stars” kicked off on November 7 at Citi Field in New York City with a special opening ceremony prior to the match as well as other functions and galas. The second match will be on November 11 at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The final match in the series will be on November 14 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, followed by a special trophy presentation to the winning team.
The format is T20, a much shorter and boisterous form of cricket with the games taking around three hours instead of multiple days. Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar and Australian spinner Shane Warne captain a hand-picked team. “Sachin’s Blasters” and “Warne’s Warriors” will feature some of the best players to ever play cricket hailing from eight different countries including Ricky Ponting (Australia), Brian Lara (West Indies), Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka), Wasim Akram (Pakistan), Jonty Rhodes (South Africa) and Michael Vaughan (England), among others.
“Americans are so passionate about sports, and I think there’s a huge potential for cricket to take off,” said Sachin Tendulkar. “This is also the first time that international cricket will be played in these beautiful baseball stadiums in New York City, Houston and Los Angeles, which will be a lot of fun. We’re also planning some other events and festivities in each city so we can reach as many fans as possible. It would be great someday to see cricket bats right alongside the baseball bats, basketballs and soccer balls in America.”
“We’ve signed all the top players you’d ever want to see,” said Shane Warne. “I’m excited for cricket fans in the United States to be able to see these amazing players for the first time, and I also think that the T20 format will appeal to new audiences who have never seen or played cricket before. I’m really looking forward to the matches in November, and helping to grow the sport of cricket in America.”
“Cricket All-Stars” is being produced by NYC-based Leverage Agency, a full-service sports and entertainment marketing company. Leverage will also handle the marketing and promotion for the event. Sponsors for “Cricket All-Stars” include MasterCard, State Farm® and Uber.
“It’s been a dream of mine to help bring the best of cricket to America,” said Ben Sturner, CEO of Leverage Agency. “Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world and we couldn’t ask for better partners than Sachin and Shane on this exciting venture.”
World renowned cricketers, Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne will headline Cricket All-Stars inaugural match in the same field in what is billed as the first historic display of cricketing legends from around the world on American soil.