In an effort to popularise cricket in the US, several cricket icons including master-blaster Sachin Tendulkar and spin wizard Shane Warne will play T20 matches in the US next month.
More than two dozen of the world’s most popular cricket players will play matches at three big-league baseball stadiums at Citi Field on November 7, Minute Maid Park in Houston on November 11, and Los Angeles’s Dodger Stadium on November 14, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.
“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.
Others 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 is being organised by Leverage Agency, a 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 Ben Sturner, its CEO.
Three baseball stadiums are being converted into a cricket stadium for the purpose. With the help of a pitch curator 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.