Cricket is making itself known in New York City ahead of the historic Cricket All Stars clash at Citi Field this weekend.
Shane Warne, Sachin Tendulkar, Matthew Hayden and Wasim Akram were at the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street to ring the bell to open Friday trading before their legendary teammates were put through their paces at a training session in Queens.
The quartet are among a host of stars in the Big Apple for the first of three Twenty20 matches across the United States this month.
The matches in New York, Houston and Los Angeles are aimed at attracting a new legion of fans to the game and a crowd of around 35,000 people is expected for the opening match.
A drop-in pitch has been laid at Citi Field, the home ground of the New York Mets baseball team, and the likes of Curtly Ambrose, Glenn McGrath and Shoaib Akhtar rolled their arms over on Friday in preparation for the clash on Sunday morning (AEDT).
Warne, who will captain ‘Warne’s Warriors’ against the ‘Sachin’s Blasters’ side led by Tendulkar, said the concept was aimed at capitalising on a growing market in the United States.
The US was the second-largest viewing audience for the World Cup earlier this year, boosted by the large number of Americans with roots in the subcontinent.
Warne says the matches are a chance for expats living in America to watch their idols close-up and also a opportunity for Americans to enjoy a rare taste of live cricket.
“It’s about globalising the game of cricket,” Warne told CNN.
“There are a lot of people here in America who have never had the opportunity to see their heroes and idols live, mainly expats. But also I think there are a lot of Americans here that will enjoy the Twenty20 version of the game.”
The second game in the series will be in Texas on November 11 at the home of the Houston Astros, Minute Maid Park, and the third on November 14 in Los Angeles at Dodgers Stadium.
Warne’s Warriors: Shane Warne, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Michael Vaughan, Jonty Rhodes, Jacques Kallis, Andrew Symonds, Kumar Sangakkara, Saqlain Mushtaq, Daniel Vettori, Courtney Walsh, Wasim Akram, Allan Donald and Ajit Agarkar.
Tendulkar’s Blasters: Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman, Brian Lara, Saurav Ganguly, Mahela Jayawardene, Carl Hooper, Moin Khan, Muttiah Murlitharan, Graeme Swann, Curtly Ambrose, Shaun Pollock, Lance Klusener, Shoaib Akhtar and Glenn McGrath.
Complete All-star T20 series
Sachin’s Blasters vs Warne’s Warriors 1st T20 schedule
Date – 7 November
Time – 1pm ET (11:30pm IST, 7pm BST, 4am AEST)
Venue – Citi Field in New York
Sachin’s Blasters vs Warne’s Warriors 2nd T20 schedule
Date – 11 November
Time – 9pm ET (7:30amIST and 3am BST (12 November), 12pm AEST
Venue – Minute Maid Park in Houston
Sachin’s Blasters vs Warne’s Warriors 3rd T20 schedule
Date – 14 November
Time – 9:30pm ET (8am IST and 3:30 am BST (15 November), 12:30 pm AEST
Venue – Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles