Former Australian leg spinner Shane Warne has confirmed the reports of booking three of the United States’ most famous Baseball Stadiums as venues for a series of exhibition T20 matches which will feature retired international players.
Warne’s concept with Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar is being dubbed as the “Harlem Globetrotters” of Cricket, is gathering steam and is close to becoming a reality. Las Vegas is also interested to host one of the matches.
“At this stage we’ve booked three stadiums, (Chicago’s) Wrigley Field, (New York’s) Yankee Stadium and (Los Angeles’) Dodger Stadium,” Warne told News Ltd. “We’re going to have Bollywood theme nights and it’s all shaping up pretty well.”
“We’re looking at ourselves as a Formula One team.
“Myself and Sachin had an idea – why not take cricket to America and be the Harlem Globetrotters, go around and do free exhibitions at schools, help grow the game of Cricket (in a country where there are already) 45 teams in LA?” Warne said.
These three Baseball grounds have hosted other sporting events as well, including American Football, Soccer and Ice Hockey. All have a capacity of more than 40,000 spectators. Apart from USA – Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong and UAE are also in the probables list to host the matches.
Warne and Sachin’s conception is different from the Masters Champions League launched earlier this month, and to be played next February would see Cricket legends play in three T20s in November.
Warne said that 28 players have already signed up for this, including Glenn McGrath, Rahul Dravid, Adam Gilchrist, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Brian Lara and Wasim Akram. He further said that the organisers were in talks with the USA Cricket Association for their involvement and support.
“We’ve signed around 28 players who have all said, ‘If you and Sachin are doing it, we’d like to do it as well’.” Warne said.
“We’ve got all the players you’d want to see from the past 20 years. Part of the All-Stars idea is we go around and the people who haven’t had the opportunity to see these guys play over the years because they’re based in the States can come.
“We want to go there live, promote the game of cricket for children, put on some events and have some fun playing cricket.”
“We’ve met with the ICC who are very happy to be on board with us so we just want them to be official partners with us. We’re speaking with the American Cricket Association to make sure they can help us as well.”