The exhibition T20 series headed by Shane Warne & Sachin Tendulkar to be held in the US will be played in November, ESPNCricinfo reports. The venues for the three matches have also been confirmed with New York, Houston and Los Angeles edging out two of the early proposals, Chicago and the Yankee stadium.
Warne & Tendulkar – two of the most iconic names to have played the game of cricket – had proposed the formation of a T20 league featuring retired international cricketers, with 15 exhibition matches to be played across a three-and-a-half year period. Initial reports had suggested that the first three matches were to be held in September, but it has now been confirmed that the matches will take place in November.
The matches will take place on November 7 at New York’s Citi Field, November 11 at Houston’s Minute Maid Park and November 14 at Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium. The first two games are slated to be played in the daytime while the final game at Dodger Stadium is scheduled to be played under the lights at the 56,000 capacity facility.
“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,” Warne told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. Warne had said in June that Chicago’s Wrigley Field would also be a venue during the tour, but those plans were scrapped while an earlier proposal to play at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx had also been ditched in favor of Citi Field located in the New York City borough of Queens.
“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. “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 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 and added that seeing some of the greats of the game back on the pitch would be a truly ‘epic’ moment. “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.
According to a list obtained by ESPNcricinfo, nine other players were also tentatively included to take part: Anil Kumble, Andy Flower, Sanath Jayasuriya, Shahid Afridi, Waqar Younis, Andrew Flintoff, Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee and Michael Hussey. However, Younis will be coaching Pakistan against England in the UAE throughout November while Mahela Jayawardene, one of the players included in the main list of 26, is also in the UAE in a consultant role with England but is understood to be leaving after the first Test ends on October 17.
This is the first attempt at a revenue-generating cricket foray in the USA since a pair of Twenty20 matches were played between West Indies and New Zealand in June 2012 at the Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida. The 15,000 capacity facility is the only ICC ODI-certified cricket specific stadium in the USA, but will not be used for any of the T20 exhibition matches.